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Spring care saves later repair

We’ve all heard talk of spring cleaning. But I like to think of spring as a time to catch up on those property care and repair tasks that are good to do at least once a year … and may be a bit overdue, if you are like many property owners.

Here is my list of items to put on your spring to-do list. Most don’t take much time. But they all provide critical maintenance and attention to your property that can prevent bigger problems in the future.

Gutters and downspouts: You may have cleared them in the fall. But it’s been a long winter and all of the leaves, sticks and seeds probably hadn’t come down by the time you did your autumn cleaning. Before big spring and summer rains, check your gutters and spouts again to make sure they are clear of debris that can cause clogs and overflowing water that can seep into your building.

Sump pump hoses: Similarly, sump pump hoses that drain water from our basement sump pits to the yard or street can become full of leaves, grass clippings, sticks and other debris. Clean them out before your sump pump enters one of its busiest seasons.

Fire extinguisher: Every home and business should have at least one. Do you know where yours is? Is it buried under piles in your basement or closet? Make sure your extinguisher is accessible and that everyone in the household or office knows how to use it. Check the expiration date, too. An expired extinguisher loses its charge and isn’t much help fighting a fire. If yours is expired, recharge or replace it.

Smoke detectors and batteries: Spring is a good time to check all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they’re working and that batteries are fresh. I recommend doing this at least twice a year, often with the spring and fall changes to and from Daylight Saving Time. But anytime is good as long as you do it. If detectors are approaching 10 years old, consider replacing them, not just changing the batteries. Detectors only reliably last for about that long. New ones don’t cost much and will provide the reliable protection you need.

Door latches and locks: This is an often-overlooked maintenance item. But think how often you turn the handles and locks in your doors. They get a lot of use, and they need a regular squirt of oil or silicone lubricant to stay in good working order. Spring is an ideal time for this, after the cold and dry winter and before summer’s heat.

Air conditioner: We’ll soon be relying on our air conditioners for comfort. Before we do, change the filter and thoroughly check the system to ensure that it is working after being idle all winter. A call to a service technician is probably a good idea here, as these professionals can examine systems in more detail and have the tools and supplies to fix your system if it needs a recharge or repair.

Garage door: Test the photo sensor on your garage door to make sure that the auto-reverse safety function is working. It could be adjusted improperly, or even not working. A malfunctioning photo eye could do damage to your car or cause injuries to a person or pet.

Building exterior: Spring is a good time to inspect the exterior of your home for anything unusual that could cause problems. Look for cracks in the foundation, pest holes or markings, tree root damage and rotting or damaged wood on porches, decks and eaves.

Water heater: Check for signs of leaks and rust. You should drain at least a quarter of the tank a few times a year to remove debris that can build up inside. Connect a garden hose to the drain valve, and remember to turn off the cold-water intake valve.

Spring is here and summer won’t be far behind. Before the year advances further, take some time and conduct these routine checks at your home or business. Doing so will ensure that your building and its systems will be working and ready when you need them.

Tony Lasky

Tony Lasky is owner of Building Logic, a commercial property care and repair company based in the Twin Ports. For questions or to suggest column topics, please contact him at (218) 279-5300.