Spring home maintenance is probably one of the more enjoyable times of year to work around your house. If you live up north, you're excited to finally get outdoors after a long winter. If you live in the south, you know that the heat will arrive soon so you want to finish up outdoor chores best done during cooler spring weather.
When money and/or time is tight, it's easy to put home maintenance at the bottom of your priority list. That might seem smart today but it's not. Like visiting your doctor every year for an annual physical, finding and resolving problems early will save you money. Here's one simple example of delayed maintenance increasing the scope and cost of repairs … for a rotted window sill.
Spring Home Maintenance Priorities
So what are the top spring home maintenance issues for most homeowners? First it's to find water issues which can have serious, and often hidden, damage when ignored.
- Have you and your home lived through any winter storms that potentially damaged your home's exterior? Water damage is the most serious problem and drafts can increase your heating/cooling costs.
- Did your home loose any exterior materials over the winter? Most common are missing roofing shingles, aluminum coil stock covering trim around the roof or pieces of siding material that are missing or loose.
- Did you have icicles hanging from your roof, a good indicator of ice dams? You'll want to check your attic to see if you had any water leaks. Black streaks on framing or soggy insulation are good indicators.
- Have you found any water in your basement? or a damp slab in houses with no basement? Spring is the ideal time for landscaping to move ground water away from your home, if you find water pooling around the foundation.
Exterior Spring Home Maintenance
The checklist starts at the roof and works it's way down to the ground. Focus on wood which is susceptible to wood rot and holes/gaps that might allow water to get behind your home's siding. You'll want to check to see if wood is “spongy or soft to the touch” indicating repairs/replacement is needed.
- Roof – check for missing or loose materials. Check around the chimney, skylights and vents for leaks. Look along the eaves for evidence of ice dams.
- Check fascia (vertical) and soffits (horizontal) around your roof's edge. Make sure they're tight as they play a role in keeping water from entering your home.
- Gutters – clean once a year and twice a year if your home has significant tree coverage. Many houses have different needs on each side of the house, so clean as needed.
- Siding & paint – check for cracks, gaps and peeling paint. Repair/replace caulking if you find any gaps. Wood trim often needs more frequent painting as it's there to protect the wood, not just to make your house pretty.
- Doors & windows – repair screens, install/swap screens for storm doors/windows. Replace weather stripping as needed.
- Window sills and kick boards below exterior doors are the most vulnerable wood rot features, so check them carefully.
- Mailboxes, fencing, mailboxes, etc – repair damage done during snow removal or winter storms.
- Deck – clean, repair and stain. Stain wears better than paint and it's easier to maintain because it doesn’t peel.
- Grill – clean outdoor grill, lawn mower and other tools used outdoors. Check to insure they're working properly before they're needed.
- Exterior faucets – turn water on and check faucets for leaks. Be prepared to shut water off quickly as burst pipes are often buried inside house walls.
- Foundation plantings (shrubs) surrounding the house need trimming to make sure the wood behind them can dry out.
Interior Spring Home Maintenance Projects
Sure you can do indoor home maintenance throughout the year but will you? Once you get this list done, you can enjoy the summer without any guilty feelings. Your most important role is to insure things get done so call your local handyman if you aren't able to do these chores yourself.
- Attic – check your insulation for moisture and replace as needed. Be sure to find where the water is coming from and fix that too. You might need more ventilation to get rid of moisture and sometimes it's as simple as rearranging boxes to allow air to circulate.
- Bathrooms – check caulking around tubs, showers, sinks and toilets, replacing as needed. Check grout too and repair to prevent water damage or mold.
- A/Cs – install window A/Cs so you’re ready for the warm weather. Get your HVAC system tuned (duct work too) to insure it's operating efficiently. Change filters too.
- Safety – check batteries for smoke and carbon dioxide detectors. Spring is a fun time to hold a family fire drill.
- Ceiling fans – clean (lots of dust on top) and check to insure fans are operating properly. Yes, you can use fans year round to save on your energy bill.
- Appliances – clean refrigerator coils (older refrigerators only), your stove exhaust hood and dryer vents.
- Basement – check walls and floor for dampness. If you find any humidity, find out where it's coming and make repairs. Test your sump pump to insure it’s functioning properly before spring rain.
- Hot Water Heater – once a year, drain and clean out deposits on the bottom. Check the anode rod (here's a video on how to do this) and replace to avoid a mess.
- Dehumidifiers – clean periodically and make sure they’re working properly.
With the warm weather, we encourage you to work hard and also take time to enjoy the fresh air and the flowers in bloom. Make sure your days aren't only about work. Take time to relax outdoors with friends and family, as you’ll never get to relive today!