5 preps to do in April for a worry-free summer

Too soon to mention “summer” you say? Nope, because this is Manitoba and we all know that one day it can be a blizzard outside and then by the next day we’re walking around in shorts and T-shirts.

So before you can break out that rake, warm weather is going to be upon us and wouldn’t you rather spend your summer basking in the sunshine on a lawnchair rather than toiling over mundane tasks you could have gotten done while the weather was still meh?

Tackling these five simple tasks now gives you a head start on spring. That leaves you plenty of worry-free time to enjoy the warmer weather when it finally arrives.

Tell insects to bug off

Early spring warmth awakens insects, so start to protect your home now. Seal openings in eaves, decks, and other structures to keep out carpenter bees.

Nix mosquitoes by eliminating standing water or treating it with larvicide. Call a pro to destroy wasp and yellow jacket nests, unless you’re experienced enough to engage in a bee battle.

Prep tools for lawn care

Ladies and gentlemen, start your mowers. April’s the month to get this vital piece of equipment ready to roll. An unmaintained machine can cost money, slow you down, and leave your lawn vulnerable to disease. So, before you pull the starter rope:

• Replace spark plugs and the air filter.

• Change the oil and sharpen blades.

• Fill the tank with fresh gasoline.

• While you’ve got your gloves on, clean, sharpen, and repair your garden tools. When your azaleas are ready to prune, you’re not going to want to keep them waiting.

Tune up the air conditioner

With flip-flop weather comes another summer tradition: cranking up the air conditioning. Tune up your AC in April, before the mercury and service rates rise.

Ask your HVAC company if they have a twice-a-year maintenance plan. Often, you can get discounted rates if you join, and you don’t have to worry about finding someone to do it each spring and fall.

If your AC broke down last summer, now is the time to get a new one installed before the hot weather sets in and everyone else has the same idea, causing longer wait times for installation.

Now you only have to worry about which pair of Havaianas to wear.

Check the attic (and garage)

How long has it been since you looked in the attic? Yeah, us too.

April’s the time to inspect this oft-ignored space — before it gets too hot. Look for signs of animal activity (raccoons and squirrels love attics), and repair or replace damaged insulation or wiring. A tell-tale sign of an animal roosting in your rafters is damage to your soffits or siding, so get these repaired as soon as you notice any holes, before the single-family attic your problem-squirrel moved into gets converted into a condo.

Ensure stored items are still secure; tighten container lids and dust covers and replace moth repellents.

While we’re talking storage, how’s the garage? If soccer balls, bikes, and luggage have taken prime parking space, regain control with a storage system. Your car will thank you.

Clean out your eavestroughs

If you notice small trees growing out of your eavestroughs and nothing coming out of our downspouts when it rains, you know they’re long overdue for a good clean-out.

It’s a good idea to do this chore every spring and fall. Eavestroughs fill up with debris quickly if you have large trees in your yard or nearby, and keeping them free of clogs ensures your roof is protected during heavy rains while runoff is being directed away from your foundation. If ladders scare the pants off of you, hire a professional.

Clean up bird feeders

Besides spreading diseases to birds, dirty bird feeders attract rodents and hurt curb appeal. Gross.

Give your bird feeders a deep clean — not just a rinse-out.

Empty them, take them apart, and wash with a solution of one part bleach to nine parts hot water. Rinse well to remove all traces of bleach, air dry, and refill with seed.

Clean under feeders, too, because moldy or spoiled seed on the ground can make pets sick. Don’t forget the bird bath.

A pretty yard that’s a healthy haven for birds makes a good impression — one that says “this is a well-cared-for home.”

A well-cared-for home also has lasting curb appeal, so if you’re considering selling your home this spring or in the future, upkeep now will pay off later. Just ask a REALTOR®!

— Houselogic.com