All right already! Enough rain, eh? I know! I know! We’re supposed to be happy we aren’t withering in a drought anymore, but I’m glad we’re getting a reprieve.
The drenching rains started me daydreaming about warmer weather with vacation plans, summer clothes, and more outdoor pursuits. You too? Well, before we go out and play, let’s take a look at the top 5 tips to prep your home for summer. These types of spring maintenance activities may take some time, but they will save you a bunch of money if you do them annually versus waiting until you sell!
1. Moss and mold removal – In Sacramento, you’re likely to see this on roofs where the sun doesn’t shine much (or at all). Trees that hang over rooflines, a north facing roof, or simply roof angles with more shade than sun can cause moss and mold to grow unfettered. Do you realize that moss can lift shingles as it grows and allow water to enter beneath? Welcome dry rot and leaking! Did you also know that copper and zinc are toxic to mold?!
Moss and mold needs attention and it needs to be removed. For buildup, start by scrubbing off with a brush. Do NOT pressure wash your roof or you will damage the shingles. Then, use a solution of 50 percent water and 50 percent bleach OR a non-caustic alternative you can get at Home Depot such as Wet and Forget to get rid of the color and to kill the algae that’s left. Be sure to either wet your foundation plantings first or cover plants to protect them if using bleach.
According to an article on This Old House, to keep the algae from coming back, insert a 6-inch wide strip of zinc or copper under the row of shingles closest to the roof peak with an inch or two exposed to the weather. When it rains, the water will wash over the metal and the molecules from the metal will supposedly kill the algae. (note: I haven’t tried this but it looks promising!). The algae is a very common problem around town.
2. Roof shingles and gutters – Since we’re talking about roofs, inspecting the shingles after the storms we’ve had is a very good idea. If you aren’t up there scrubbing moss, you can safely check for missing, misaligned, or cracked shingles with a pair of binoculars. Wayward shingles can cause leaks. Check flashings (metal pieces) around chimneys and ducting for rust. Inspect the caulk around pipes or skylights to be sure there’s still a watertight seal.
Even if you cleaned your gutters before winter, it’s likely there is more debris that found its way into your gutters and downspouts after all those storms. Blockage can cause the water to backup and cause dry rot which if left untreated, will cost you money later on down the line. You can always hire out for this type of work or get a sturdy ladder, a trowel, and a bucket to clean out debris and then use a hose to flush the downspouts. The dry rot that starts forming on the fascia of the roof can be very expensive if not fixed immediately. Dry rot may move under roof shingles and can quickly become a costly expense!
Definition: Dry rot is wood decay caused by certain species of fungi that digest parts of the wood which give the wood strength and stiffness. It was previously used to describe any decay of cured wood in ships and buildings by a fungus which resulted in a darkly colored deteriorated and cracked condition.
3. Reseal exposed wood – Wood decks, fencing, railings, trellises, pergolas, and other outdoor structures will last longer if they’re stained or resealed every year or two. Think about the undersides of decks too. If you do everything to maintain the topside, but can’t treat the bottom, know that there’s a high likelihood that the underside will begin to get dry rot. If the deck abuts a house, the dry rot has a chance to start growing on the main structure of your home as well.
While you can’t paint outside until the wood has dried out with warmer weather, you’ll probably want to troll around for spots that will need your attention when weather permits. Correct dry rot which is common on wood shingles, fascia, the bottoms of exterior door and garage trim and then seal the wood and fix by painting over to seal from further damage. This type of activity is usually not expensive if taken care of on an annual basis. If you’re not familiar with what’s involved you can Google for information or hire a handyman to make fixes that may involve less than an hour or two. This is a common malady cited to be fixed by government backed loans such as FHA and VA (very common loan types) so you’ll want to stay on top of repairing as trouble occurs rather than waiting several years and finding that you have a very large bill.
4. Clean Dryer Vents – Did you know that over 15,000 fires are caused each year by the dryer vents being clogged according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission? I had a friend whose house burned to the ground while she was at work! Thanks to the fact that the lint had built up in her dryer vent. New house! But at what expense?
Glen Mayfield, a dryer vent technician, said the first sign that you might have a clog is when your dryer stops drying your clothes in one cycle. “The dryer is designed to exhaust the heat and the moisture while it’s drying. If that heat and moisture cannot escape the dryer, then the dryer continues to try to cycle on by working harder with the heat building up which can lead to a dryer vent fire.” Mayfield said it’s a bigger problem in new homes, where the dryer is placed in the center of the home rather than up against an outside wall. “As a result, the vent can run quite a long distance. We see 15, 20, 25 foot vents all the time. The longer the vent, the harder it is for the dryer to get the lint out. Those homes with longer vents are more susceptible to fire.” Hire a professional to clean the vent.
5. Lubricate your torsion spring for your garage doors – Say what? That large spring above (or near) the garage door is a torsion spring and it requires some lubrication to keep it working properly. Liberally apply a garage door lubricant. Protect the garage wall behind with cardboard and wipe off excess so it doesn’t drip on your car. More details can be found on this website. I’ll be honest. I’ve never done this, but I will this weekend!
What’s your favorite Spring Maintenance? If you need vetted service providers, let me know. And if you know anyone who wants to chat about buying or selling with a top producing agent who does whatever it takes to get the job done, contact me!