Easy Spring Maintenance Tips For Your Home
Keeping your home and its operating systems clean and in good working order will make it safer, more energy efficient and will cut utility and repair bills. What’s more, regular maintenance can prevent damage that can lead to hundreds or perhaps thousands of dollars in repair cost.
Many home maintenance projects offer a “two for one” – they improve appearance and prevent costly repairs down the road. For example, a fresh coat of paint will do wonders to improve the appearance of your home. That same coat of paint will also offer weather protection that will prevent deterioration and rot.
If you think about it, many home maintenance tasks offer multiple benefits. Changing a furnace filter will not only improve the air quality in your home; a clean filter means that the system won’t have to work quite as hard and, thus, will save money on repairs and your utility bill.
Though home maintenance is a year round task, spring and fall are two of the most important periods for performing home maintenance for obvious reasons. Fall is the best time to prepare your home for winter rains and show. Projects such as exterior caulking will prevent leaks and drafts. Repairing gutters and downspouts, roofing and drainage systems will help prevent roof leaks and flooded basements.
Spring is a great opportunity to access how well your maintenance work held up during the winter and what other maintenance work or repairs that must be made as a result of a harsh winter. What follows is our recommended list of spring home maintenance tasks that will keep your home humming for another season.
- Gutters & Downspouts: Even if you cleaned them in the fall (as you should have), a mulch can collect in the gutters, which can hasten rust and deterioration and make gutters sluggish just in time for spring showers. Use a garden hose, a gutter scoop and a nylon brush to flush the gutters and downspouts. Use a wire brush to remove rust and peeling paint. Repair leaks and seal joints with a high quality exterior grade caulk. Prime bare spots and give add a fresh coat of paint.
- Siding: No matter the type of siding, after a long winter’s wear, it can use a good cleaning. One of the best means of brightening dingy siding is with a thorough pressure washing with water. If the siding is chalked or streaked, scrub it down using a nylon truck brush along with a mild solution of powdered laundry detergent and hot water. Rinse thorough with fresh water. Check for cracks, peeling paint, missing or damaged mortar and caulking and make the needed repairs.
- Roof Leaks: Inspect the roof for loose or missing shingles that occurred during the winter. Binoculars work great for making an “on the ground” inspection. Also, don’t forget to poke your head in the attic for water stains on the underside of the roof sheathing and on the rafters. These are telltale signs of a roof leak that may yet to produce enough water to make its way to your ceiling. Remember, you don’t need to wait till it rains to check a roof for leaks. Use a garden hose at suspect areas to determine if your roof is leaking. Damaged shingle replacement, flashing repair and roofing cement or caulking will usually do the trick unless the roof simply needs replacement.
- Caulking: Caulking can take a real beating during winter. Spring is a great time to caulk around window trim and door frames, especially if you missed doing this in the fall. Do this after you have washed the exterior siding. Caulk cracks in concrete, foundations and basement walls.
- Window & Door Screens: If you have trouble getting a good view of your spring flowers through your freshly washed windows, it may mean that your window screens need cleaning or perhaps replacement. Remove window and door screens and give them a good cleaning with a solution of powdered laundry detergent and hot water. Brush the screens with a nylon brush and give the screens and frames a good rinsing with a garden hose or, better yet, with a pressure washer. Mend tears and replace deteriorating material with new fabric. Lubricate hinges on screed doors and adjust hydraulic closers to make sure that the door is closing fully to prevent bugs from making their way into your home.
- Decks & Fences: Decks, fencing and other exterior wood finishes should be cleaned and finished regularly to keep them looking good and to extend their life. Most quality exterior stains and wood finishes will last for two to three seasons – depending up climate and the severity of the elements. However, a good spring cleaning is always in order. A solution of liquid chlorine bleach, powdered laundry detergent and hot water will remove mold and mildew from almost any exterior surface. For best results on wood decks, use a commercial deck cleaning product that won’t damage the finish. If the deck cleaner doesn’t do the trick, try using a commercial deck brightener. If the finish is worn, try a light sanding along with a fresh coat of finish.
- Landscape Irrigation: April showers may bring May flowers, but after the showers are gone a good irrigation system will keep flowers blooming and turf green all summer long. Spring is a great time to clean, adjust, lubricate and tighten sprinkler heads. Most heads have an adjustment screw that will control water volume and, thus, the area covered by the sprinkler. Most modern sprinkler heads contain a filter that can be removed and clean. Replace broken filters as necessary. Clean or replace valve diaphragms to make sure that they are sealing properly. If you have an automatic timer, adjust the program to provide adequate watering time and don’t forget to replace the battery that backs up the irrigation program.
- Concrete Patios, Paths, Driveways & Carports: If your driveway or carport looks like an Indy 500 pit stop a good cleaning is in order. Clean and degrease exterior concrete surfaces with a commercial concrete cleaner/degreaser. Use cat litter to absorb as much of the grease or oil first by grinding it into the area with the soles of your shoes. Dispose of the oil-tainted cat litter as you would paint, used motor oil or other household toxic substances.
- Air Conditioner: Don’t wait until the first heat wave to have your air conditioner serviced. If you do, chances are you will be in good company and have quite a wait. Save money and beat the heat by having a heating and air conditioning specialist give your system a good going over. Change filters, clean the coil case, check the blower, check the temperature drop, check the coolant pressure, lubricate the system and make sure that all components are operating up to snuff.
- Barbecue: And last but certainly not least, make sure that the barbecue is in tip top shape for lots of serious spring and summer grilling. A good cleaning is all most barbecue grills need. Clean rust using a wire brush and rust solvent. Spot prime using a heat resistant metal paint. For gas barbecues, use compressed air to remove spider webs from burner assemblies. Clean or replace grates as necessary. Throw a couple of shrimp on the barbie and sit back and revel in how great your home looks and how much better off it is thanks to your spring home maintenance routine.