Too many homeowners believe spring maintenance is all about the cleaning. Sure, spring cleaning comprises a big chunk of any spring home maintenance schedule, but maintenance aimed at various structures, appliances, and systems within the home is, arguably, just as important. Nearly all homeowners love to see spotless windows for that first sunny, 70-degree day, but you can’t forget your roof and the possibility that ice dams formed over the winter.
Indeed, just as much as that first spring day should provide an excuse to go for a hike or a picnic, it should also provide a reminder that your outdoor spring maintenance is waiting. Follow this spring maintenance checklist to ensure your home is in optimal condition for the rest of the year.
1. Gutters and downspouts: Pull leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts. Reattach gutters that have pulled away from the house. Run a hose on the roof and check for proper drainage. If leaks exist, dry the area and use caulking or epoxy to seal the leak.
2. Siding: Clean siding with a pressure washer to keep mold from growing. Check all wood surfaces for weathering and paint failure. If wood is showing through, sand the immediate area and apply a primer coat before painting. If paint is peeling, scrape loose paint and sand smooth before painting.
3. Exterior caulking: Inspect caulking and replace if deteriorating. Scrape out all of the eroding caulk and re-caulk needed area.
4. Window sills, door sills, and thresholds: Fill cracks, caulk edges, repaint or replace if necessary.
5. Window and door screens: Clean screening and check for holes. If holes are bigger than a quarter, that is plenty of room for bugs to climb in. Patch holes or replace the screen. Save bad screen to patch holes next year. Tighten or repair any loose or damaged frames and repaint. Replace broken, worn, or missing hardware. Wind can ruin screens and frames if they are allowed flap and move so make sure they are securely fastened. Tighten and lubricate door hinges and closers.
6. Drain waste and vent system: Flush out system.
7. Hot water heater: Lubricate circulating pump and motor.
8. Evaporative air conditioner: Clean unit, check belt tension, and adjust if needed. Replace cracked or worn belt.
9. Heat pump: Lubricate blower motor.
10. Foundation: Check foundation walls, floors, concrete, and masonry for cracking, heaving, or deterioration. If a significant number of bricks are losing their mortar, call a foundation professional. If you can slide a nickel into a crack in your concrete floor, slab, or foundation call a professional immediately.
11. Roof: Inspect roof surface flashing, eaves, and soffits. Check flashings around all surface projections and sidewalls.
12. Deck and porches: Check all decks, patios, porches, stairs, and railings for loose members and deterioration. Open decks and wood fences need to be treated every 4-6 years, depending on how much exposure they get to sun and rain. If the stain doesn’t look like it should or water has turned some of the wood a dark grey, hire a deck professional to treat your deck and fence.
13. Landscape: This is a natural for spring home maintenance. Cut back and trim all vegetation and overgrown bushes from structures. Limbs and leaves can cut into your home’s paint and force you to have that side of the house repainted. A little trimming can save a lot of money and time.
14. Sprinklers: Check lawn sprinkler system for leaky valves, exposed lines, and improperly working sprinkler heads. If there is an area of your yard that collects too much water or doesn’t get enough, run the sprinklers to figure out the problem. If it’s not something you can fix yourself, call a professional before your lawn needs the water.