Spring is here so it's time to get outside and enjoy the longer, warmer days. While it might not be warm enough to sit and read a book, it's the perfect time to tackle some of your home maintenance chores. Realizing that doesn't sound like fun and it certainly isn't sexy, it's important to understand that ongoing and consistent home maintenance will save you … time and money! To help, we've created this spring home maintenance checklist.
What are the benefits of preventive home maintenance? Here's an example. If you monitor your hot water heater and replace it proactively, you avoid cleaning up after it floods your basement (that's never fun, which I can tell you from personal experience).
- Save money with lower utility bills.
- Reduce the number and cost of home repairs.
- Extend the life of key home features, saving you replacement costs.
- Protect your home's value, helping you to build home equity.
This spring home maintenance checklist is one in a series of seasonal checklists to help you maintain your home on a regular basis. The format is different than most lists, giving you flexibility in when and how you complete the list.
- You can start with a thorough inspection of your home to identify tasks to be done. Then you can decide how many you'll do and those you'll want to hire a handyman to complete.
- Another approach is to tackle one home feature at a time. You can put these projects, like pressure washing and sealing your deck, on your calendar. Once you've scheduled tasks you're comfortable doing … of have time for, you can schedule contractors for the other tasks.
- Home Maintenance Starts with Keeping Your Family Safe
- Spring Home Maintenance & Your Home's Exterior
- Prevent Water Damage with Spring Home Maintenance
- Saving Energy, Money & the Environment
Home Maintenance Starts with Keeping Your Family Safe
Your biggest safety concern while tackling spring maintenance chores is personal safety. Always turn the power off before working on systems like your air conditioner. Check all your power tools and make sure they're working properly, with safety attachments in place. Unplug power tools when not in use and don't leave ladders up where children might climb them for fun.
Spring Home Maintenance & Your Home's Exterior
Your home is much bigger than the space inside your walls. The land your home sits on includes features you'll want to maintain through the years. From your mailbox (snowplows tend to knock these over) to the steps leading to your front door, you need to make sure visitors and Amazon delivery drivers can reach your front door safely.
Landscaping maintenance is normal from trees, shrubs and mulch to mowing the lawn. You also want to prepare outdoor living spaces for family time, entertaining and the four footed members of your family.
Maintaining Safe Access to Your House
|Done?||Task||Spring Home Maintenance: Walkways and Stairs|
|Inspect||Check outside walkways, stairs (steps & railings), porches and decks. Make sure everything is secure.|
|Maintain||Tighten loose boards and replace any that are warped or rotted enough to cause a safety hazard.|
|Update||If more than minor repairs needed, consider replacing with composite materials that need less maintenance.|
|Done?||Task||Spring Home Maintenance: Exterior Lighting and Doorbells|
|Inspect||Check exterior lights, garage doors, gates, etc. to make sure all access paths to your home are in good, working order.|
|Maintain||Repair any problems found with walkways, handrails, locks and more.|
|Update||If any accidents occurred over the winter, identify where you might add more lighting or other accessibility items like handrails.|
Prepare Outdoor Living Spaces for Fun
|Done?||Task||Spring Home Maintenance: Decks and Porches|
|Inspect||Check decks, stair rails, steps and other outdoor wood for rotted wood, nail pops, warping or splintering.|
|Maintain||Repair damaged wood as needed. Clean, stain and/or seal (Seal a Deck to Protect the Wood) decks annually to extend its life.|
|Update||When extensive repairs needed, consider using a composite material like Azek.|
|Done?||Task||Spring Home Maintenance: Pressure Washing Needed?|
|Inspect||Check your vinyl sided home, decks and porches to see how clean they look. Inspect for mold (green or black) growing that needs to be removed.|
|Maintain||You can pressure wash your vinyl sided home but not wood as it will streak where the paint isn't adhering well and you'll be stuck having to paint or stain the wood.|
|Update||Replace exterior wood trim to reduce ongoing maintenance work or wrap with aluminum.|
|Done?||Task||Spring Home Maintenance: Landscaping and Curb Appeal|
|Inspect||Inspect front, side and back yards to identify how much cleanup is required. Check all wood structures from your mailbox post to fencing and sheds, to identify what needs painting or replacing due to wood rot (read: 8 Wood Rot Repairs Your Home Might Need).|
|Maintain||There are so many things to do, depending on your yard:|
– Gather and dispose of tree limbs that fell down over the winter.
– Trim trees and shrubs to get rid of dying branches that could come down in a storm. Hire a tree removal service for dying trees that could damage your house.
– Replace dead shrubs and mulch around them to reduce watering.
– Paint exterior wood to protect it from water damage.
– Replace rotted wood as soon as possible, as it will get worse over time.
– Re-grade land around house to prevent water from pooling.
|Update||Now is the time to decide on improvements to your home's landscaping (scan articles for more great ideas):|
– Add more trees/bushes to the front for curb appeal?
– Replace wood rot with a composite material that won't rot?
– Enhance plants and/or irrigation to reduce water usage?
|Done?||Task||Spring Home Maintenance: Water Valves & Irrigation|
|Inspect||Inspect hose bibs, pipes, shut-off valves, etc. Turn on outside water valves and irrigation systems carefully in case they froze and burst over the winter.|
|Maintain||Fix any leaks found and replace gaskets that are old and likely to crack soon.|
|Update||Make sure all outside plumbing can be shut off inside in case of a leak. Listening to a burst pipe buried in your wall is horrible. Yes, I've had handyman customers on the phone and had to walk them through shutting off all water to the house.|
|Done?||Task||Spring Home Maintenance: Outdoor Furniture & More|
|Inspect||Determine what needs to be cleaned up for spring/summer.|
|Maintain||Clean windows and outdoor yard furniture. Pickup debris around downspouts and vents, clean garbage cans.|
|Update||Purchase storage for organizing outdoor clutter – sports equipment, gardening and more.|
Prevent Water Damage with Spring Home Maintenance
Winter weather can be harsh on roofs, siding, caulking, etc., so carefully inspect your home for any sign of leaks or damage that may have happened over the winter. Fixing problems quickly can help you avoid a home's #1 enemy: water damage. You can also prepare for those inevitable “April showers” by making sure your gutters drain away from your home's foundation.
Maintaining Your Roof to Keep Your House Dry
|Done?||Task||Spring Home Maintenance: Roof and Attic|
|Inspect||Check for leaks, loose shingles (check attic first for signs of roof leaks) outside and from the attic.|
|Maintain||Replace damaged or missing shingles. Clean and/or repair roof vents and replace damaged (wet) insulation.|
|Update||Replace roof. If you have ice dams, review Solutions to Prevent Ice Dams.|
Note: If you had ice dams determine why as properly ventilated and insulated attics should not have ice dams.
|Done?||Task||Spring Home Maintenance: Chimney & Vent Pipes|
|Inspect||Check your chimney along with the vent pipes, chimney cap and flashing around these openings.|
|Maintain||Replace worn materials that have (or will soon) fail, i.e. caulking gets dried out and cracks.|
|Update||Add chimney cap to reduce water getting inside and causing damage.|
Maintaining the Sides of Your House
|Done?||Task||Spring Home Maintenance: Gutters & Downspouts|
|Inspect||Check gutters & downspouts to make sure they're draining properly and away from the house.|
|Maintain||Clean gutters and adjust/repair loose parts when you're cleaning them.|
|Update||Add covers to your gutters to reduce how often you need to clean them – low maintenance, never no maintenance.|
|Done?||Task||Spring Home Maintenance: Siding, Trim & Exterior Paint|
|Inspect||Inspect wood (trim, windows, door kick plates) for peeling paint and gaps where water can seep in. Look for saw dust that indicates carpenter ants or termites might be living in your home.|
|Maintain||Paint wood trim more often than entire house. Caulk gaps between siding & trim. Repair or replace water damaged wood. Paint the side of your house with the most exposure to the elements (sun, wind, water).|
|Update||Re-paint the entire house when it needs it, not a year or 2 later as you'll have more wood damage to repair. Upgrade trim to non-wood product like Azek.|
|Done?||Task||Spring Home Maintenance: Windows and Doors|
|Inspect||Check doors and windows to make sure glass is intact and they're operating correctly & weather tight (no leaks).|
|Maintain||Fix any leaks found and replace gaskets that are old and likely to crack soon.|
|Update||Make sure all outside plumbing can be shut off inside in case of a leak. Listening to a burst pipe buried in your wall doesn't feel good and I've had handyman customers with this problem.|
Saving Energy, Money & the Environment
As winter ends and we move outdoors, it's time to prepare for warm weather. Our spring home maintenance checklist focuses on being comfortable, indoors & outside. Want to stay cool? Screen doors/windows, air conditioners and don't forget that a ceiling fan by circulating air counterclockwise.
Ventilation that Keeps You Comfortable
|Done?||Task||Spring Home Maintenance: Door & Window Screens and/or Storms|
|Inspect||Inspect storm doors and windows for any needed repairs before putting them away. Identify screen doors/windows for repair.|
|Maintain||Swap out storm windows and doors for screens, fixing any torn screens. Clean and store storm windows and doors.|
|Update||Replace missing window screens for ventilation. Consider adding storm doors for added sunlight and energy saving in winter.|
|Done?||Task||Spring Home Maintenance: Ceiling Fans|
|Inspect||Make sure ceiling fans are running smoothly & quietly so you want to use them.|
|Maintain||Change direction of your fan (watch How to Change Direction of Ceiling Fan) – you want the fan to counter clockwise to pull warm air up and away from you.|
|Update||Add ceiling fans to rooms where you spend lots of time, to cut down on air conditioning costs.|
Reduce Electric Bills for HVAC & Hot Water Heaters
|Done?||Task||Spring Maintenance: Whole House HVAC and A/C Systems|
|Inspect||Vacuum baseboard heaters and schedule yearly check-ups for furnace and other systems.|
|Maintain||Service portable space heaters before putting away for the season. Empty fuel, clean and store in a safe place.|
|Update||Upgrade to a more efficient heating system; add furnace humidifier if you don't have one already.|
|Done?||Task||Spring Maintenance: Portable A/Cs and Humidifiers/De-Humidifiers|
|Inspect||Install window A/C units and/or remove covers from wall units. Once installed, check to see that they're operating properly.|
|Maintain||Schedule annual maintenance for central air conditioning systems. Clean humidifiers/de-humidifiers and A/C filters.|
|Update||Add wall A/C units and/or central air conditioning to insure your home is comfortable.|
|Done?||Task||Spring Maintenance: Hot Water Heaters|
|Inspect||Set temperature to 120 F or lower to conserve energy. Check temperature pressure relief valve. Ask heating (HVAC) pro to check critical components when tuning up your heating system.|
|Maintain||Drain once a year to remove minerals and sediment from the bottom of the tank or as recommended by manufacturer.|
|Update||Upgrade to a more energy efficient water heater and get the right size (# gallons) for your family.|
Want more information to put together your spring home maintenance checklist? We've got lots of articles about what your house needs and how to add proactive home management to your family's lifestyle.