With the days lengthening and weather warming, spring is a good time to get outdoors and tackle some larger home projects. Now that the threat of winter storms has passed, you can look for damage and make any needed repairs, as well as prep your home and garden for summer. It’s also a great time to conduct some routine home maintenance that will help you avoid big repair bills later on. Start with these 12 Spring Home Maintenance Tips!
1. Clean Gutters and Downspouts
After the last frost has passed, it’s important to have your gutters and downspouts cleaned and repaired. ‘Clogged gutters and downspouts can cause the wood trim at the eaves to rot, and that can invite all kinds of critters into your attic space,’ says Kevin Robins, InterNACHI Certified Home Inspector and owner of Dwell Inspect Idaho.
Having your gutters and downspouts cleaned early in the season can also help prevent damage from spring rains. ‘Gutters and downspouts should be clean and running free,’ Robins says. ‘If your downspouts are installed properly, water is diverted away from the house so that no water collects around your foundation.’
2. Clean and Reseal Exterior Woodwork
Wood decks, fences, railings, trellises, pergolas and other outdoor structures will last longer and stay in better condition if they’re stained or resealed every year or two. A pressure washer makes this job easier. If you don’t have one, borrow one from a neighbor or consider renting one from a home center. While you’re cleaning, be sure to inspect for damage. Take this opportunity to make any needed repairs to woodwork as well.
3. Inspect the Roof
Winter storms can take quite a toll on the roof. When spring arrives, start by making a simple visual inspection of your roof. ‘It doesn’t require a ladder, and you don’t have to get on a roof to look,’ Robins says. ‘Use binoculars or the telephoto feature on your smartphone.’ Look for missing shingles, damage or anything that simply doesn’t look right. If you notice anything that needs closer inspection or repair, call a roofer. If you delay repairing spots on your roof that need fixing, you could find yourself facing water damage inside your home the next time a storm hits.
4. Paint Exterior
Touch-up painting is easy to do and inexpensive. It is always a great idea to save hang on to extra paint just for this purpose. If you’re planning to repaint your home’s exterior for a new look this year, spring is a good time to set it up. A good paint job makes your home look nice, while providing a protective barrier from the elements.
5. Inspect Driveways and Paths
Freezing and thawing is rough on concrete, asphalt and other hardscaping materials. Take a walk around your property to look for damage to walkways, paths and driveways, and schedule repairs as needed. Asphalt can often be patched, but damaged concrete may need to be replaced entirely.
6. Check Windows and Screen Doors
Winter weather can crack and harden caulk and other weather seals. Inspect them and repair or replace as needed. You’ll reduce your air-conditioning bill and prevent water from entering your home and causing damage.
Screens are designed to let the breeze flow in and keep bugs out – In many parts of the country, you can keep your house cool (at least at night) by opening the windows which can greatly reduce energy costs. Before setting up your screens for the warm months ahead, be sure to carefully clean and check each one for holes or tears. Gently scrub on a flat surface with soapy water. You can find screen repair kits at most hardware and home improvement stores to patch small holes.
7. Check Sprinkler and Irrigation Systems
Checking your sprinklers or irrigation systems in the spring can save water – and save your plants. Robins shares these tips for checking your watering system:
- Be aware of any irrigation turn on & shut off dates specific to your neighborhood. This typically happens outside of “freezing temperature” months.
- Run the system through all the zones manually and walk the property.
- Make sure none of the heads are broken or damaged.
- Adjust any heads that are spraying the house, especially windows, as this can cause moisture problems.
- Adjust heads that are spraying the street, sidewalk or porches to avoid wasting water.
- If you don’t know how to maintain your sprinkler system, call a professional to do it. You’ll save money on your water bill and protect one of our most valuable natural resources.
8. Schedule Air-Conditioning Service
‘Home inspectors see a lot of air-conditioning systems that are just not taken care of,’ Robins says. ‘Just because it gets cool doesn’t mean it’s working efficiently.’ To get the longest life out of your cooling system and keep it running as efficiently as possible, change the filters at least once each season, and hire a licensed professional to service the equipment before the start of summer. To work efficiently, the compressor also needs good airflow. To ensure it has breathing room, prune any plant growth that could block it.
This is also a great time to replace filters in your home if you did not do it at the start of winter. A dirty filter forces your heat, ventilation and air-conditioning system to work harder, which in turn drains your wallet.
9. Change the Direction of Ceiling Fans
Now that the temperatures are starting to get warmer you will probably be turning on the ceiling fans around the house. A lot of homeowners change the direction of their ceiling fan in the winter to better circulate the warm air. Now is a good time to change the direction of the fan to help cool down your house this summer. While you’re at it you should probably dust the blades as well!
10. Clean Your Refrigerator Coils
The coils you’ll find on the bottom or back of your fridge conduct the hot air from inside the unit. If they’re coated with dust, they do the job less efficiently and cause your refrigerator to work harder; that means a higher electric bill for you. Use a vacuum cleaner hose or a brush on the coils. Also take this time to vacuum behind and under your refrigerator to keep the coils cleaner, longer.
11. Replace the Batteries in Your Smoke Detectors
Making sure all of the smoke detectors in your home are working is extremely important. Robins recommends testing each smoke alarm at least once a month to make sure that they are working properly. He also suggests that you ‘Replace the smoke alarms or replace the batteries every time change.’ ‘Once in the spring and again in the fall.’
12. A Little Love for the Laundry Room
Check the washing machine fill hose. A leaky hose under pressure can cause major damage in a short period of time, so you want to look for cracks that could become leaks. And replace the hose is necessary.
Clean the dryer vent. Known as one of the leading causes of fires, replacing or cleaning your dryer vent is a great spring maintenance tip that every homeowner should not neglect. ‘Home inspectors see this often,’ says Robins. ‘You would be surprised the amount of lint build up that can gather inside a dryer vent, not all lint gets caught in the lint trap.’ Don’t put off this home maintenance tip any longer.
How to Tackle Spring Home Maintenance
Sometimes as a homeowner, it may seem like there is always something to do around the house. By making a checklist of things to do and break it up over a few weekends to more easily get them done. Especially for any homeowner that is considering selling their home in the coming months.
Keep in mind that most home buyers are looking for a home that is turn-key ready and not a home that has a lot of differed maintenance or unexpected items that may come up during a home inspection.