The best way to manage repair bills is to avoid them in the first place. There’s no better time for home maintenance than during spring cleaning.  We know it might be a little premature to be talking about exterior home maintenance with the snow on the ground, but now is a great time to start making your lists and plans for when the weather warms up.

Check the Deck Few things decay wood better than prolonged exposure to water. As you’re cleaning your deck, look for weakened boards and signs of damage. Air Conditioner Always disconnect power and clear debris from condensers and vents with your vacuum cleaner or a leaf blower. Take care not to bend any exposed cooling fins. When pollen and small debris are concerns, wrap the condenser coil with fiberglass mesh. Remember to change the furnace filter. Cracks in the Foundation Small fissures may be result from house settling, but mark them and check back after a few months. If they haven’t worsened, fill them in with epoxy. If they have, call a structural engineer. Also be sure to clear leaves from the foundation, make sure the ground slopes away from the home and check for signs of termites. Garage Door Operation A balanced door should lift easily on manual mode and stay open at 3 feet. If it doesn’t, the overhead spring needs adjustment. Check the photoelectric sensory system by holding a 2X4 in the door’s path to make sure it stops. Then set that 2X4 on the ground with the wide side down and set reversal force on the opener to low. The door should come right back up when it hits the wood. Gutters Clean out gutters, downspouts and leader pipes. The leaders should go at least 5 feet away from the home. While cleaning, check for rust and separated joints. Roof Water stains or leaks in the attic, interior ceilings and on the siding under roof eaves could be because of ice dams. Watch for missing or cracked tiles.  Early spring is a good time to schedule a professional roof inspection and get repairs made before the spring rains hit. Trees Check your trees by looking for broken branches, bulging roots or sunburned bark. In the case of heavy snow fall, check for bent branches and make sure they spring back when leaves have grown. Pavement Avoid weeds by sealing cracks in driveways. If the cracks are too big, professionals can resurface pavement. For dry set paths, brush sand into the joints.

Regular home maintenance is the best way to keep repair bills down and property value up.