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A homeowner's spring-cleaning checklist

Spring is definitely in the air and it's time to get outside and enjoy. But it's also a great time to do a little spring-cleaning - to make sure you don't have some unexpected problems around the house leading to a homeowner's claim that you could have easily prevented. Here's our checklist of suggestions ...

- Chimney maintenance – Set up an appointment to get your chimney cleaned out when heating season is over.

- Trim and remove dead tree limbs – Dead trees can attract pests and are more likely to fall, so help prevent any damage by trimming.

- Examine your windows and doors – Look at the seams and the caulking. Fix or replace as necessary. Check all locks to make sure they work properly and that you have the right keys for them. Don’t forget to look at your garage door.

- Sweep out your garage – Clear any debris that has accumulated over the fall and winter

- De-clutter – Get rid of anything you don’t need any more and organize what’s left. If you haven’t used it in a few years, donate it to charity.

- Check the water heater and water holding tank – Make sure there are no corrosion or cracks and repair as needed.

- Get your lawn mower ready for summer – Have the oil changed and the blade sharpened if necessary.

- Change the air filters in your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) to help maintain healthy air quality and keep your energy costs down.

- Change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors – (hopefully, you did this already when Daylight Savings Time began.

- Clean your dryer lint hose – At a minimum, pull the hose off the back of the dryer and use a vacuum cleaner to get the lint that snuck past the lint trap. This is one of the leading causes of house fires and is easily preventable.

- Clean gutters and down spouts – Make sure you don’t get a large buildup of debris so that water can flow through gutters and down spouts easily.

- Check your roof and siding – Snow and ice can be especially harsh on roofs and sidings. Besides the obvious, look for holes critters might have created to escape the cold.

- Have your roof inspected – If in doubt from the previous item, this is worth it. - Find and fix any tripping hazards –dead branches, new holes in the yard, broken bricks, flagstones, or cracked sidewalks and driveways that settled during the winter.

- If you have a deck, check for nails or screws that raised up and boards that might have warped.

The time you spend doing these tasks could save you big time in the future!