6 End-of-Winter Home Maintenance Tips

by Peter Goldberg

Snow can fall well into May in Western New York, but if you’re sick of winter, statistics tell us it’s almost over. The snow coming off of Lake Erie typically tapers off in early April, but you don’t have to wait until the big spring thaw to take care of your home. Here are six end-of-winter home maintenance tips for New York State.

1. Wash Away the Salt

As soon as the snow starts falling, the New York State Thruway Authority and cities and counties begin aggressively salting the roads. That’s good news when you’re driving, but it’s bad news for your lawn and yard. It’s even worse in the early spring when your grass begins to emerge from dormancy, only to have the salty runoff from the road slow its growth. 

You can help your lawn and plants by making sure you don’t shovel snow onto your yard. One excellent winter lawn care tip is to put up a physical barrier, like a snow fence or even plastic, so spray from salt trucks doesn’t end up on your property. When the soil thaws, you can wash some of the salt away. Certain kinds of soil can also help your lawn overcome the effects of road salt.

2. Check Your Walls

The end of winter is the perfect time to give the outside of your home the once-over. Brutal winters can damage exterior paint and vinyl siding, which leaves your home vulnerable to mold and other problems. If you spot cracks or peeling in your vinyl siding, you may be looking at a costly fix. But, it could cost you even more if it is not repaired. If your home is painted, and you see chips or peeling in your paint, make sure you check the temperature before attempting to repaint or touch up.

3. Check Your Roof

While you are outside, climb up on a ladder and take a peek at your roof. You may not have noticed any problems from inside the house, but the ice and snow may have damaged your shingles. If not fixed right away, it can lead to leaks or more roof damage. Some roof repairs are easily done in the winter, as long as it is not too cold for the roofing adhesive.

4. Clean Up Your Gutters

You probably cleaned your gutters in the fall, but on a warm late winter day, you should get back up there and make sure any late-season leaves and branches haven’t gotten stuck in your gutters. Look for ice dams and icicles to find the worst debris. If your gutters get too icy, they can rip away from the house – and that’s an expensive fix.

5. Change Air Filters and Batteries

You hear this one every time the clock springs forward or falls back: change the batteries in your smoke detectors. That’s a home maintenance tip that could save your life. It’s also an excellent time to change your home’s air filters. Air filters get dirty and clogged with all the dust and pet hair in the air all winter long. Replacing them will help you and your family breathe easier.

6. Prepare Flower Beds

The big thing here is clearing your flower beds or your vegetable garden of any dead leaves or stray branches that may have accumulated. You won’t want to plant any tender young seedlings in the ground until the threat of frost is over, but you can start them in containers in your home. When they’re ready to plant, the weather should be warm enough to help them thrive. The end of winter is also a great time to sharpen the blades on your lawn mower and change the oil. You should also clean and sort out your gardening shed or garage so all your gardening tools are ready to go.  

Everyone gets antsy at the end of a long Western New York winter, but these end-of-winter home maintenance tips should put you one step ahead so you’re not overwhelmed in the spring.

About the Author

Peter Goldberg is a gardening and landscaping writer, and outdoor extraordinaire. He likes to fire up the grill to cook for family and friends, as well as using his organically grown garden produce to create mouth-watering meals.