The snow has finally melted (yay!), but what remains are a slew of chores that you must take care of immediately to prevent minor damage from turning into major repairs. Here are some indoor and outdoor essentials to add to your to-do list.
Freshen Up Your Carpet
All the sand and salt that’s used to prevent slipping on ice winds up on our shoes and is tracked all over your floors. Cleaning up this debris during the spring extends the life of a carpet and it also helps rid the home of allergens.
“Carpets act like a filter and like all filters, you need to clean dirt out of them, especially after a long winter. If you’re someone who suffers from allergies, a good clean floor can help,” said Johnny Bifulco, owner of To the Rescue Carpet Cleaning in Huntington. “Getting the dirt out of your carpet can eliminate allergies and freshen up its look.”
You can try to rid your floors of winter debris yourself, or for deeper cleaning, call a professional carpet cleaner. “To release the soils that vacuuming cannot remove, using a detergent and water is the best method to clean your carpets,” said David Swidler, general manager of Long Island Carpet Cleaning, Inc., in Brooklyn. “Steam extraction cleaning uses hot water and detergent to release the soils and other particulate adhered to the fibers. Through this cleaning method, you will prolong the life of your carpet, have better looking flooring and have a home that is much more attractive.”
The roof protects your home, so it’s important to make sure it’s in good condition. Barbara Reuter, co-owner of Nassau Roofers, Inc. in Bellmore, advises home owners to check for clues of a troubled roof once the snow melts. She said: “During the winter, ice, water and animals can damage the roof. You need to look for signs.”
If you suspect an animal has made your attic its new home this winter, you may be right. “Usually animals are noisy and you can hear them moving around. Squirrels, raccoons, birds, stray cats and other animals seek warmth in cold weather, and an attic is a common place for them to go,” said Reuter. “Home owners can look for entry points, too. If they believe an animal is in their attic, they can call a professional roofer who will work with a trapper.”
Trimming trees can prevent future animal entries and can also extend the lifespan of your roof. “It’s good to trim the trees because it cuts back on animal entry points and branches scraping the roof. Trimming trees is being proactive and it also helps prevent algae growth, damage and wood rot,” Reuter added.
April showers bring May flowers, but having a properly working gutter can prevent roof leaks and mold. “Ice dams can really cause damage…when days are warm and nights are freezing during the winter, ice can build up in the gutters, which prevents water from draining properly. They should be cleaned from debris that may have built up during the fall and winter.”
A properly functioning sprinkler system is important for maintaining your lawn and garden. Most homeowners need a professional to start up their sprinkler system to ensure that it’s running correctly.
“People try to fix and maintain their sprinkler system all of the time, and if they don’t know what they are doing, they can break it or make a problem worse,” said Jimmy Kyser, owner of Jimmy’s Lawn Sprinklers in Merrick.
Sprinkler heads can break from heavy snow, pipes can burst over the winter if all the water wasn’t removed and timers can stop working. Kyser recommends having an irrigation specialist check the system during the spring. “The sprinkler system should be properly serviced and cleaned, so it functions properly,” he said. “An expert can check all the electronics and make sure the sprinklers are operating correctly and not watering the house or street.”
Terminate the Termites
Once it starts getting warmer outside, termites can invade your property. To stop termites, take these preventative steps. Lynn Frank, an entomologist with Suburban Exterminating in Plainview, said: “Homeowners should reduce the amount of wood and wood-based products, such as paper around the house, and should clean up wood debris and leaf litter, move firewood away from the house or raise it above the ground and use redwood and cedar mulch or stone in flower beds.”
Catching the termites before they become a problem is key, and Frank said identifying what they look like is important. “Every homeowner needs to know how to identify a termite. A termite swarm is a sign that the colony is expanding. After a few days of rain, a warm afternoon is the ideal time to spot thousands of swarmers. Termite swarmers are winged ants. A regular ant has bent antennae and a narrow waist. A termite has straight antennae and no waist. Workers feed the entire colony with some kind of chewed wood.”
Secure Your Deck
Your deck is your spring and summertime living room, so making sure it’s safe is an important part of maintaining your yard. Power washing, painting and preserving your deck can prevent slips and splinters. Michael Demartino, owner of Michael’s Handy Man Services in Mineola, explained: “During the winter, not only do you have moss growing due to the dampness, you have dirt and salt scraping the wood. Power washing can get rid of the slipperiness and painting and waterproofing can help prevent splinters and deterioration.”
Demartino recommends investigating the surface of a deck before walking on it to prevent injury. “Make sure there are no cracks, broken pieces of wood, termites or nails sticking up,” he said. “If you are unsure how to maintain your deck, call a professional. A quick fix may not actually fix the problem.”
Prep Your Lawn Mower
Before you use your mower this season, it’s important to make sure it’s in tip-top shape. Chris Sideris, co-owner of Competition Mower Repairs, Inc. in Mineola, believes that it’s crucial to maintain and inspect it before it’s used. “There are many things that need to be checked on a mower to make sure it is going to run properly after not functioning for months,” he said.
Sharpening the blades helps the mower cut grass and it also makes the process quicker. “Dull blades tend to shred the grass as opposed to cutting it. It also wastes fuel and requires more physical labor,” said Sideris. “If you’re using a mulching mower it’s extremely important to have the blades sharpened. It’s not going to mulch with a dull blade.”
Regular maintenance also prolongs the life of a mower. “A good mower can last six to 10 years if it is serviced. The oil needs to be changed often and the fuel line needs to be checked for cracks or buildup,” said Sideris. “People often forget to change the oil because the mower doesn’t light up and tell them like a car does, but it is just as important.”
Cross these items off your to-do list now, so you have time to enjoy the beautiful weather.