As the winter season draws to a close, it’s time to gear up for spring! At AAA, we’re excited to offer you a plethora of helpful tips and resources to ensure your home is in top shape for the new season. From essential advice on inspecting your home post-winter to handy guides for spring cleaning and pet safety, we’ve got you covered. Additionally, learn the warning signs your roof may be giving that may need attention. Looking to add a touch of green to your space? Check out our expert tips on planting a herb garden and more.

Content provided by AAA’s Insurance Partner: Foremost Insurance

Inspecting Your Home After Winter

Very soon the ice and snow will slowly start to thaw out and melt. Spring is often the favorite time of the year for new homeowners, as they start to observe new things on their homes that they need to inspect, and projects they want to tackle in the summer. When purchasing a home in the winter with snow piled up on the exterior, it’s difficult to see everything as much as you would probably like to. With a clear view, it’s time to start a spring maintenance checklist and inspect for any damage sustained during winter.

  • Examine your roof. Inspect your shingles to see if any blew away or were damaged during winter. Shingles that are loose, cracked or buckled need to be replaced. If you come across any of these issues, call a professional to assess the damage.
  • Check the gutters. Grab your gloves and clean out all of the leaves and debris in your gutters and downspouts. Then, inspect your gutters and make sure they aren’t sagging. Make sure the downspouts are facing away from the foundation for proper draining.
  • Inspect your driveway and other areas with concrete. Look over your driveway and sidewalks for any sign of cracks or movement. If you see any, you can fill them in with a concrete crack filler or silicone caulk.
  • Check the outside faucets and hoses. Turn on the water to make sure it’s still running properly and place your thumb over the opening. If this stops the water flow, the water pressure may be too low and one of your pipes may be damaged. Call a professional for further assistance.
  • Inspect windows and doors. Check for bent or broken hinges, and any cracks or holes. Depending on how serious the damage is, you can either replace or repair your door. If you have a screen door, you can usually buy a repair kit to fix any holes or tears so bugs can’t sneak through. If your windows look good, take the opportunity to wipe down the interior of the window sills if there is any dirt or mold present.
  • Inspect your deck and fences. If you have a wooden fence, repair or replace any loose slats or rotted sections. For your deck, look for any signs of water stains or discoloration. Remove any loose or rusty nails, and make sure the railings and stairs are secure.
  • Run your in-ground sprinkling system. Turn your sprinklers on to make sure they are working properly. Also look for any leaks or broken sprinkler heads, and readjust them if needed.
  • Inspect your AC unit. Clean up any leaves or branches around the cooling unit, and change the filters. If you want a professional cleaning or a tune-up, you can call a qualified heating and cooling contractor.

Spring Cleaning Checklist

Nothing gets spring off to a good start like a thorough spring cleaning. After these major chores are done, you’ll just have to do the smaller ones on a weekly basis for upkeep.

Here Are The Big Jobs To Tackle:

  • Wash windows
  • Vacuum window screens
  • Wash draperies, blinds and shades
  • Wash floors
  • Vacuum and clean carpets
  • Move furniture and appliances to clean and vacuum beneath them
  • Dust all knick-knacks and books
  • Clean light fixtures and lampshades
  • Dust cobwebs out of corners on the floor and ceiling
  • Wash all bedding, including mattress pads and bed skirts

  • Clean your oven
  • Clean and organize your closets
  • Store winter clothes away, replace with your spring and summer clothes
  • Give items you no longer want to a local charity
  • Sort and clean the cupboards and drawers in your kitchen and bathrooms
  • Organize your media collections
  • Sort through any leftover piles of mail and file important papers
  • Donate books you no longer want to a local library
  • See if a nearby hospital or nursing home would like your magazines

Spring Safety For Pets

The joy of spring and the fun it brings is near! That means it’s almost time for you to get outside with your furry friends to enjoy the sun. However, your pets may not be as cautious as you are, and if you’re not careful, you may find your pet in a potentially dangerous situation.

Before you take your pets outside this season, be sure to complete this important safety checklist our team put together.

  • Clean out yard debris.
    Yard debris can include broken sticks, hedge trimmings, vegetative waste, grass clippings, animal waste, and more. Removing these items from your yard can help ensure a safe space for your pet while playing outside.
  • Use pet-friendly cleaning products.
    Many cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that are toxic to pets. You can create a safer space for your pets by checking the labels of cleaning products before making a purchase. Most likely, cleaning products that are pet-friendly will be labeled as safe for animals. Purchasing these types of products can help keep your pet safe when you begin your spring cleaning. Plant based offerings are great options, along with those that include distilled white vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda and water.
  • Prevent fleas and ticks.
    When it comes to fleas and ticks, your best bet is to combine as many methods as possible to reduce the risk of them getting on your pet. One option is to purchase shampoos that are specifically designed to protect against fleas and ticks. If you have carpet, regular vacuuming and cleaning can also help. After your pet is outside, do a thorough check of their skin to make sure they are free of any pests. One of the most effective methods is a prescription medication from your veterinarian. Be sure to reach out to your local vet if you have questions on other flea and tick preventatives.
  • Watch out for poisonous plants and berries.
    If you have the option of completely removing poisonous plants and berries around your home, it is best to do so. Some things to watch out for are lilies, poison ivy, tulips, daffodils, and oleander. Ingestion of any of these plants may cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, liver failure, or worse. If removal is not an option, do your best to remain aware of where these poisonous plants are and steer clear of them. If you can’t tell if a plant or berry is poisonous by looking at it, keep your pet away.
  • Avoid newly fertilized grass.
    Fertilizers can contain toxic chemicals that can cause bowel obstruction and inflammation of the pancreas. This can lead to drooling, nausea, vomiting or difficulty breathing. The scent these fertilizers emit can tempt your furry friends. Keep them away from newly fertilized grass for at least 24 hours.
  • Look out for faux grass and/or other holiday basket scraps.
    Many families look forward to springtime because of the annual tradition of egg hunts and candy baskets. Kids search for plastic eggs filled with candy and other prizes, and they also carry candy baskets that often contain faux grass. Naturally, many people leave scraps behind, and our pets’ powerful noses are quick to sniff out the leftovers. Remember that chocolate can cause your pets to experience nausea and vomiting, and faux grass can cause various digestive issues. Keep a close eye out for these scraps during your outdoor activities.

Things happen. And when they do, you can rest easy knowing AAA Pet Insurance has you covered.

6 Warning Signs Your Roof May Need Replaced

You may overlook your roof, but it’s one of the most important structures of your home – and the most vulnerable. It protects you from the elements like rain, snow and sun, but it won’t last forever!

It’s important to check your roof a couple times a year to make sure incremental damages don’t become serious problems. Healthy roofs can help prevent storm and hail damage, and consistent repairs could potentially save you money in the long run. Keep reading to learn what signs to look out for to help determine if your roof needs repairs, or replacement.

How Long Do They Last?

According to many sources, like Good Housekeeping magazine, shingle roofs should last between 15-30 years (if you have a different type of roof, such as metal or clay tile, you may have to follow different rules). If your home is new or the roof was recently replaced, you should be in the clear. However, it doesn’t hurt to do a checkup after getting hit with severe weather like a hailstorm, ice and snow or crazy rain.

What Are Signs Of Roof Damage?

Depending on the type of roof your home has, the signs of damage may vary. Asphalt shingle roofs are said to be especially susceptible to wind damage; they can be a cost-effective option, but they’re lightweight and may require more frequent maintenance. You’ll want to be aware of loose or missing shingles, or moss or algae growing on the roof. Other roof types, such as metal or concrete tile, can offer greater protection due to their durability, meaning the roof can withstand higher winds and stronger weather before risking damage. For these roofs, you will want to watch out for cracks, clogged gutters and signs of water damage from leaks.

Regardless of your roof type, frequent inspections can help prevent long-term damage, catching leaks, cracks and rot early in the process. Some professionals recommend checking your roof twice a year – once in the spring, and once in the fall – to help ensure your roof is ready to withstand more severe weather during winter and summer storm seasons.

Loose or missing shingles

Wind and hail can cause serious damage to your roof, especially if you have a shingle roof. By regularly checking the shingle tabs on your roof, you can potentially catch minor damages before it causes a larger issue – like leaks, ceiling damage, or flooding.

Cracked or curling shingles

As roofs age, heat and moisture can cause shingles to crack or splinter. You may be able to see this from the ground. The shingle can curl up at the edges, preventing efficient sealing from rain, snow and debris. Durable shingle roof materials, such as slate or concrete, are less susceptible to warping, and could be a good investment if your area experiences large volumes or rain or high temperatures. Metal roofs don’t have shingles, but it’s still important to check for cracks or curling edges to help ensure a proper seal from the elements.

Shingles covered in moss or algae

Built to withstand the elements, roofs provide a barrier between your home and the world around you. But they are still susceptible to damage from vegetation and debris, such as moss and algae. These small plants prefer dark and humid environment, and the ridges of a roof provide an inviting home. As the plants grow beneath your roof shingles, they can cause gaps in the sealing structure, leading to water damage or broken/missing shingles. It could help to consult a roof professional if you have vegetation growth on your roof to see if there are options to prevent further damage.

Holes or water damage in attic

You may love to see the sun shining, but not through the roof. If you have an attic space in your home, it can be helpful to check the roof from inside. If you notice sun shining through the roof, you may want to check outside to see if there is damage to the shingles in the area or a crack in the roofing material. Signs of water, molding or rotting in your attic may also be a sign that there is a problem with the roof. A roof specialist can help determine where the damage originated.

Extensive leaking

Leaks and unexpected water damage are one of the most tell-tale signs of issues with your roof. All types of roof damage have the possibility of breaking the roof’s seal, creating an opportunity for water and snow to get through and collect in your home. Ceilings may become discolored or stained, begin to warp, or show signs of rot and molding. If you notice any of these signs, it’s helpful to contact a specialist as soon as possible, as damage has already begun to occur.
Do a quick check at least twice a year to see if maintenance is needed. If you notice problems like missing shingles or signs of water damage, it would make sense to call a roofing specialist to make the repairs as soon as possible – it could save you a bundle by prolonging the life of your roof and stopping costly leaks in their tracks.

Plant Your Own Spring Herb Garden

Flavorful herbs are an attractive, tasty and aromatic addition to your container garden. Perfect for salads, soups and other dishes, there’s no substitute for homegrown herbs. Plant a single herb in one pot, mix several types in the same pot, or combine with vegetables.

Herb basics

Most herbs thrive in the sun, although a few such as basil and mint tolerate partial shade. Check your sun loving herbs every day to make sure they’re not dried out. Water in the morning before the temperature rises, using a nozzle with a fine spray to help keep soil from splashing out of the pot. Fertilize herbs with a half-strength liquid solution once a month through spring and summer.

Growing together

It’s easy and convenient to grow herbs and vegetables together in the same pot. Just be sure to match plants with similar growing conditions and seasons. For example, annual herbs like cilantro, dill or parsley get along well with beets, carrots and radishes. Avoid overcrowding and place herbs in front for easy picking.

Delicious choices

You can start most herbs from seed, but for quicker results buy young herb transplants in 2-inch nursery pots or cell-packs. Let your appetite be your guide when choosing herbs. Fresh parsley, basil, thyme, and oregano are basic in Italian dishes, while cilantro is a must for Mexican cooking. Other cooking herbs like chives, dill, marjoram, mint, sage, tarragon, or rosemary will enhance almost any dish you prepare.


Although container gardening eliminates many problems with pests, they can still be a problem. Get rid of most insects by simply spraying with a mild soap solution. If you prefer to keep your herb garden organic, just grind up one clove of garlic, add to one cup of water, strain and spray on plants. Don’t use pesticides on your tender herbs.


It’s amazing how fast your garden of seasonings go from pot to table. Snip off tender herb sprigs as you need them, but never trim off more than a third of the foliage at a time. Frequent snipping and pinching stimulates dense, quick growth. Annual herbs like basil and dill should be cut back several times during the growing season. Rosemary, thyme and other woody perennial herbs should not be picked during hot weather, while leafy evergreens such as oregano and sage can be harvested year-around.