End of Winter Maintenance Tips

With the hope of warmer days ahead and maybe Winter on it's way out, I have gathered together some great end of winter maintenace tips we should all think about, before spring cleaning takes ahold:

Furnance Maintenace:
Shares some great tips for end of winter furnace maintenance:
Check the thermostat! If you have an electric thermostat it is a good idea to get in the habit of checking the battery every spring. A weak battery will lead to temperature fluctuation and inconsistent heating. Swapping the batteries can go a long way to making sure your thermostat is always fully functional and accurately controlling your home’s temperature.

Check the ducts! We’ve mentioned the importance of clean and efficient air ducts before, but it bears repeating! An air duct clogged with debris can put strain on your system, and lead to poor quality air in your home. Spring is also a good time to check to make sure no cracks or leaky seams have popped up over the long winter. 

Car Maintenance

Shares some great tips for checking on all the winter wear and tear on our cars to make sure we are ready to go when warmer weather is upon us:
1. Check out the wipers – Even an occasional snow or sleet can cause blades to crack or break apart.  So look them over carefully for signs of damage.  You can clean them yourself with a rag and some water mixed with white vinegar.  Look for loose screws as well.  If the wipers have seen their better days, we’ll be glad to change them out for you.

2. Don’t forget the battery – Just a few cold mornings can be all it takes to wear your battery out prematurely.  Plus, cold and moisture can form corrosion on the cables that should be removed.  And unless you have a sealed battery, the water levels may need to be topped off.  These are all things you can do yourself, or we’ll be happy to handle them for you.  We can also check your battery’s charge, to make sure it’s still in top shape.  If it’s not, we’ll be happy to install a new one that will give you years of great service.

3. Tires – Here in San Antonio, few of us ever use snow tires.  However, the decreased visibility of short winter days can cause us to hit more potholes or do other things that affect tire performance.  Giving the tread a visual inspection and checking the air pressure once a month are good habits to get into.  If you see anything that causes you concern, such as dips or uneven wear, give us a call.

4. Belts and hoses – Imagine this: you’re 300 miles from home on your annual vacation.  Suddenly you hear a sound from under the hood, and your vehicle either stops running or overheats.  When you look at the engine, you see that the alternator belt has snapped or a radiator hose has burst.  Don’t let this happen to you.  Give all your belts and hoses a careful, regular look-see, or have us examine them and replace any that are worn.

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Yard Maintenance

Getting your sidewalks, driveway, lawn and garden ready for spring will take just a few steps:
Using rock salt, ice melt, and other liquid or solid products to deice the sidewalk or the street may be important in the winter to keep you from falling or sliding around on the roads. But some of the products can potentially cause damage to your greenery. When the snow starts to melt, make sure that you clear off the deicing materials off your lawn, shrubs and trees to potentially protect against any winter yard damage.  Apply gypsum to the areas of the lawn where road salt or salt from the driveway or sidewalks may have made contact.
You many have put burlap around your trees or shrubs to protect them from the worst of the winter. If so, now is a great time to remove the burlap. However, winter storms may have done damage to the shrubs or trees in your yard. Make sure that you clean up your yard by pruning any branches damaged by the winter, so that new growth can take its place.
One of the pitfalls from winter is that many things may blow onto your lawn that do not need to be there. Once the snow melts, you may see that litter has made it onto your lawn. Obviously, you need to clean it up.  Other things you will need to remove include things like leaves, pine cones, fallen tree branches, and dog waste that may have ended up on your lawn.
Cut back the dead leaves and branches on your perennials to ensure future growth. In addition, if you have some annuals that you did not remove in the fall, now would be a good time to do so. Many of this plant material could end up in your composting bin.

Home Maintenance

Taking note of your winter utility bills, and more are a few things they suggest we do at end of winer:
Test Your Smoke Alarms
This is a task that should be done regularly anyway, but this time do it a bit differently.  By pressing the test button on the detector itself, you are not giving a smoke detector a true test – only the batteries.  To test your smoke alarm properly, you should strike one or two matches, blow them out, place them underneath the smoke detector and wait for it to sound.  Check the batteries also, and replace them once or twice a year to ensure readiness.  According to statistics, smoke detectors are present in 58 percent of fatal fires, but the detectors were only working in 37 percent of those fires.
Review Your Electric Bill
Thankfully, there are only a few more weeks until spring begins.  But before you gravitate toward all of your spring plans, take some time to review the season at hand.  Winter generally produces the most expensive bills in much of the country, so it pays to analyze those costs and try to spot patterns, spikes and correlations.  Bills from many locales contain graphs or other information that displays your monthly usage over the last year.
Now is the optimal time to plan and develop strategies for lowering your usage and cost next winter.  A large number of efficiency projects are best done during the warmer months, so be thinking about your budget and what needs replacing or upgrading in your home.  Maybe you are ready to install higher quality windows orsiding.  Perhaps you’ve been considering a new heating system altogether.  Or maybe you have been interested in a solar water heater.  Whatever the case, now is a great time to be planning for it.
Make a Home Inventory
Being stuck inside creates a perfect lead-in for this project.  There is no better time than winter to take stock of your homes layout, features, furniture and valuable belongings.  Take photographs and/or videos to supplement your written/typed data.  Be sure to keep your inventory data in a protected place that could survive a catastrophe.  The data can be invaluable for substantiating any insurance claims in the aftermath of a loss.

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