The economy is bouncing back in the US, and many homeowners are playing catch up on home maintenance that got deferred for too many years. Weather emergencies like this year's snow, higher than average rainfall and suddenly it seems like everyone is a home expert, giving tips for spring home maintenance.
Each year when I write about home maintenance, I look for a new perspective to make the topic more interesting. My goal is to motivate more readers to make home maintenance a part of their routine, a challenge as we seem to be running faster and faster.
Our houses aren't changing as quickly, so my list of spring home maintenance tasks is about the same since I started blogging in 2007, to share the tips I'd been giving my handyman customers in southern NH. (Read Top 20 Spring Home Maintenance Projects)
Who's Giving Advice on Spring Home Maintenance?
For fun I explored who my competition are online, meaning who else is giving out advice on what homeowners should do to maintain their homes this spring. So what did I do? I googled “spring home maintenance” just the way you might, and here's who I found on page one.
- Home and Garden Television, had an article titled 10 Home Maintenance Tips for Spring. They provided a lot more than 10 tips, all of it good in-depth information from a home inspector who sees what happens when homeowners don't maintain their homes. (Read about a home inspection report with too many problems)
- Bob Villa (doing some carpentry above) with his Spring Home Maintenance Checklist, offered a comprehensive list of recommendations that were well organized.
- Kiplinger's had a Spring Home Maintenance Checklist but in order to see them, you have to click through 20 slides which I wasn't willing to do.
- The DIY Network who I expected to have a good checklist, disappointed with their Outdoor Spring Maintenance Tips. They only covered 3 items (gutters, grading around the foundation and testing your sump pump) but if there were 10 items on the list, a homeowner might not realize how much information they were missing.
- My Google post with Home Tips for Women‘s article, Top 20 Spring Home Maintenance Projects,came next with a simple list of exterior and interior home maintenance items, with an emphasis on reducing water damage.
- Daech & Bauer Roofing & Remodeling followed with a Google post, sharing a link to the HGTV article above. That's because their website doesn't have a blog, where they could write their own spring maintenance post.
- Next came US News, with 15 Spring Home Maintenance Tips but clicking through 17 pages isn't for me. Surprisingly, right below was a second article with the same title, 15 Spring Home Maintenance Tips, with short descriptions for each maintenance item.
- Travelers (Insurance) ended the page with What can you do to help maintain your home during spring? Their approach was very different than the others, focusing more on safety issues like smoke detectors and using the correct wattage in light bulbs. Clearly their focus is reducing insurance claims.
What's rather scary (my perspective) is how little good information is available online to help homeowners protect the biggest investment they'll probably make. Of the home maintenance checklists above, only three – HGTV view from a home inspector, Bob Villa and my Home Tips for Women articles, offer advice from a hand's on perspective. We're the experts!
Home Maintenance – What You Need to Know
Unless you're working in the construction industry, you probably don't have enough knowledge to maintain your home without some advice from a book or articles like the ones reviewed above. And many home maintenance tasks involve taking care of things you can't see like the dust that accumulates in your heating and cooling ductwork.
You can learn how to do a lot of home maintenance and repair tasks by reading and watching videos … but first you have to know what to research. Even I don't have testing sump pumps on my list, so I have to add it because I learned something form the DIY Network article.
To make spring home maintenance, really any home maintenance more challenging, is the fact that you can't see most of the problems unless you go looking for them, and know where to look or how to test wood to see if it's spongy, which indicates wood rot.
Home Tips for Women has always been about making home ownership easier to manage. This starts with understanding the basic concepts of how a house is built, how it's protected and why it's critical to maintain your home. Once you understand the concepts and terminology so you can find the right articles (they're not all written by home experts) and talk to contractors with confidence, you probably will continue to avoid taking care of your house the way it needs. (Read: What's Your Home Management Strategy)
So all this research has given me a new idea for how to present you with this year's version of a spring home maintenance checklist. You'll have to click to this article, to learn my recommendations for:
- Home maintenance every homeowner can (should) do themselves, and I'll try to keep this list to things that will take under two hours so they're easy to do in an evening.
- Home maintenance tasks for homeowners who are handy, have the tools and like working around the house. These will be projects you can complete in a day or weekend, like staining and sealing a deck.
- Home maintenance tasks you probably want to hire a handyman for, so they get done on time each and every year … but if you're determined, you can do them yourself.
- Spring home maintenance you should absolutely hire a home professional to handle.
Ready, set … off to do your spring home maintenance? I encourage you to at least put it on your calendar now and if you're proactive and want to make this job much easier, check out my workbook, Get Your Weekends Back When You Put Home Maintenance on Autopilot!