Spring heralds the time of year when people get back outdoors after winter. Whether the previous winter was mild or severe in nature, there are still some key maintenance activities that homeowners should complete during the first few weeks of spring. 

Here are some spring maintenance tips to prevent structural damage, save energy and keep your home's systems running properly: 

• Inspect your roof, chimney and siding for winter damage. Look for and replace any loose shingles, bricks or boards. This is also a good time to clean your siding with some soap and water from the garden hose. 

• Ensure gutters are free of leaves, sticks and other debris. Do it yourself by clearing the muck and then flushing the gutters with water to make sure they drain properly. If you are unable to do so, contact a professional gutter cleaner to assist. 

• Have your air-conditioning unit serviced, change your air filters and vacuum out your floor registers. Make sure to try to do this before temperatures mandate air conditioner use. 

• Make sure your child's swing set (or any such playground equipment) is still safe to use. Tighten bolts, remove any sharp edges or splinters that are sticking up, and clean off any mold growth.