Spring is a time of growth and renewal. Gone are the frigid temperatures and deep snow that kept us cocooned in our homes during the harsh winter months, hibernating bears bingeing on Cheetos and Netflix. We awaken and welcome the rejuvenating sun on our faces. Flowers bloom, trees show their most vibrant greens, and everything is alive and humming. Life begins anew.
While we wax philosophic about the wonders of spring, there’s a truth that few are willing to admit.
Spring kinda sucks.
Bugs emerge from everywhere, allergens attack when you even think of going outside, and when it rains, the sky opens up and lets loose a deluge of water that finds its way through every crack and crevice in your home.
Fortunately, when springtime problems arise, there are a few steps you can take to lessen their damage.
Bugs come out of their winter homes frenzied like they’ve got to make up for lost time or something. Ants will make a beeline to your home at the first hint of spring. Before they make it in and set up shop by a water source such as the pipes under your sink or dishwasher, spray an unbroken line of ant killer/repellent around the perimeter of your house on its foundation. Ants will be deterred from crossing the line and entering. Reseal windows and doors and inspect the exterior of your house for any unusual holes that could indicate that bugs have bored their way in and plug them with sealer. Repair any leaky pipes and inspect window screens for any holes.
Insects are active in your lawn during the spring as well so it’s a good time to treat it with fertilizer that contains insecticides or natural repellents. For pesky mosquitos, be sure to wear long sleeves or repellent, and planting plants in your garden or yard that they don’t like such as marigolds, lavender, basil, geraniums, and citronella grass will help keep them away naturally.
Water created the Grand Canyon―imagine what it can do to your home! Melting snow and strong spring rains can cause the soil to erode around your home and yard, causing problems with plants in your garden or expose roots of trees, opening them up to disease and destruction. If you experience erosion near your home, it can cause damage such as cracking to your foundation which can be an expensive fix. A fresh application of mulch can help prevent erosion near your trees and plants, as will crushed rock around your foundation but it’s important to find out the cause of the erosion. Gutters that are damaged and leaking or are clogged with debris from winter storms that cause them to overflow can cause damage to your foundation, siding, windows, doors, and your lawn. Have your gutters cleaned each spring and have them checked for any leaks.
Spring thaw may reveal cracks in pipes that occurred during the winter months. The determined roots of trees can grow right through underground water or sewer pipes creating obvious damage. Trees have many benefits to your home such as cutting winds and keeping cooling costs down so having no trees is not recommended but there are some trees that are bigger culprits to pipe damage. Willow, magnolia, poplar, birch, citrus, and oak have been banned by some homeowners associations because of the damage they can do. Some shrubs that should be avoided are boxwoods, hollies, and ivies.
Squirrels wake up and become active and may be looking to move into your home. Make sure any holes are sealed and trim branches that hang near your house. If you have bird feeders, try a so-called “squirrel-proof” one but acrobatic squirrels often figure them out. Woodchucks, possums, and skunks look for places to have babies, such as under your deck so you may want to put lattice along the open areas. Repellents are also available to keep them away.
Winter can be tough on your lawn. Dead patches, puddling, grubs and other insects, moles, and fungal diseases pop up in the spring. Start each spring with a thorough raking to remove most of the thatch that accumulated in the fall and winter months. If you see grubs, treat them with a grub-control product. Once the grubs are gone, moles will probably pack their little mole bags and move elsewhere in search of a food source. Treat dead spots with lawn patch. Puddling may be a symptom of overflowing or leaking gutters so have them cleaned and checked for winter damage, and make sure that downspouts are draining far enough from the house. If the puddling isn’t near your house, you may need to put in a French drain or consider regrading the area.
For people who are allergic to pollen and other allergens, spring is particularly harsh. To help with allergies, keep windows closed, dust ceiling fans, change air filters, wash your walls, wash sheets and comforters, and take your shoes off whenever you enter the house.
Leaks in your foundation could allow the strong spring rains to flood your basement. Be sure to start with the cause, which is often leaking or overflowing gutters or leaking pipes. It could also be that your downspouts don’t drain far enough from your house or that your property slopes toward your house. Fixing these may keep flooding from occurring in the future. When flooding occurs, remember that your basement has electricity running through it so it’s best to call a professional to deal with the problem. If your basement is not cleaned properly and remains damp, your flooded basement problem could become a mold problem.
Many of these springtime problems have one thing in common: your gutters. Being on a regular maintenance program that includes inspection, cleaning, and repairs in early spring can prevent many of these issues from rearing their ugly heads each year. The professionals at Gutterpros can have your gutters cleaned and ready for those spring showers and if you don’t have gutters yet, there’s no better time to have them installed. Call Gutterpros today at (314)656-7195 and talk to us about gutters. Spring and all of its baggage will be gone before you know it, and you’ll finally be able to enjoy summer. And sunburns.