Get ready for spring

tips for getting your house ready for spring.

It is still early enough in the season to choose how you will spend spring:

a) Sweating the details. Standing in front of your house and looking at your gutters, which now appear to be stuffed with meat loaf; to the splintered tree branch that now forms a squirrel bridge to your neighbor’s cable wiring; right down to the bare lawn spots that didn’t magically fill themselves in during the winter solstice. This usually results in saying something unpleasant and going back inside for another month.

or:

b) Getting started now and by doing so admitting you know yourself, you know you don’t want to do it, you can’t understand how or why anyone would want to do it, but that doesn’t change the fact is has to be done.

In the air
A primary rule of doing stuff you can’t stand: Do the worst first and do it smart. For example, don’t clean the flowerbeds and then the gutters unless you really enjoy doing things twice. Start at the top and work your way down.

After cleaning the gutters, but while you’re still scooting down the side of the house, check for and reconnect any loose downspout extensions. Resist duct-taping everything – this is the mark of an amateur and a universally understood symbol for small children to stand in front of your house and laugh.

Make a note of all the parts you may need and get them all at once, while the ladder’s still up and you’re still not in the mood. Otherwise you’ll have get the ladder back out later and do it anyway, when you’ll be twice as not in the mood.

But before you get off that ladder, check the window screens. Your windows may be new enough to have the screens built in, which makes things convenient but doesn’t keep the screens from tearing. This is the slow season for screen repair and many Royal Oak homes depend on screens rather than air conditioning to stay cool.

Last, prune any dead branches. Stay away from branches that are resting on power wires. Call Detroit Edison and let them handle it.

On the ground
Once back on terra firma, get a good crabgrass killer (pre-emergent) and put it everywhere except the bare spots of the lawn you just raked. If you do this, you’ll have one of those great lawns everyone else will marvel at, not realizing how easy it is to acquire. As for the bare spots, those just require seed at the moment.

In the garage
You can avoid a real expensive error by draining the gas tanks of snow blowers now and adding stabilizers to any gas you’ll be storing over the summer. Gas turns to a varnish if you don’t drain or add a stabilizer to it. Varnish doesn’t act as a fuel, but it does form a real nasty gunk that will cost you at least $40 an hour plus parts to have scoured from the engine.

Inside your home
Change the filters in your window air conditioners and the big one, your furnace filter, particularly if you have central air-conditioning. There are lots of new filters out that remove allergens from the air, such as dust or mold. Ask about the right type of filter for your equipment. And speaking of, the last thing to do is turn off the furnace humidifier for the season, drain it and remove the media pad.

What you’ve done here is a lot of preventive maintenance that can be accomplished inexpensively with some good instructions.