With March upon us, temperatures will soon start to rise and you need to have your home prepared for the change in season. Spring is usually the time to assess how well your maintenance work held up over the cold winter months and to see what other work needs to be done. It’s also often the first chance homeowners have to review the condition of their roofs after being covered with snow and ice throughout the winter.
Spring home maintenance checklist
There are many things you can do to prepare your home for warmer weather as spring approaches. Here is a checklist of spring home maintenance tasks:
Using binoculars, look for cracked, broken or missing shingles. Most roofers will be able to make any needed repairs.
- Pay particular attention to metal and applied flashings — the sheet metal/caulking used to waterproof around chimneys may have shriveled-up and/or peeled away from flashings, resulting in problem leaks. A sheet metal contractor can help, if a roofing contractor can’t and also check in your attic during a rain event.
- You may also find mortar and brick or stone at your chimney to be a little worse for the wear after a long winter. This usually calls for selective brick/stone repair or replacement and a little mortar repair known as “re-pointing.” If you suspect you need work, consult a qualified stone or brick mason.
- Check gutters and downspouts for loose joints and secure attachment to your home. Clear any debris and ensure water only flows away from your foundation and not inside.
Examine the foundation walls for cracks, leaks or signs of moisture and repair as required (cracks can easily let water in).
- Open valves to outside hose connections after all danger of frost has passed and re-connect garden hoses.
- Ensure any sump pump is operating properly before spring rains let all the water drain in toward the foundation and cause damage your insurance company will not appreciate.
- Re-level any exterior steps or decks that have moved as a result of frost-heave or settling.
- Clear all drainage ditches and culverts of debris.
Check for and seal-off any openings on the exterior that could be an entry-point for small pests, such as rodents, squirrels and/or insects.
- Snow-clearing and ice melt can leave your concrete driveway and pathways looking like a war zone. When it comes to repairing concrete, the good news is that it is easy and fairly inexpensive. If you simply can’t live with the look of the repaired concrete, don’t go pulling out the jackhammer just yet. Consider applying a penetrating pigmented concrete stain for uniformity.
- Undertake spring landscaping maintenance and, if necessary, fertilize young trees.
- Clean windows, screens and hardware. Check screens first and repair or replace, if needed.
- Check caulking around doors and windows for air and water leaks.
- Clean and re-paint the exterior surfaces.
- Now is the time to think about re-painting decks and fences, after repairing.
- Check movement of overhead garage doors and lubricate moving parts as needed.
- Check your water heater – consult the manual – and check the temperature relief valve to ensure it is not stuck close. CAUTION: this test may release hot water that can cause burns, so keep away from the discharge tube exit.
- Turn off the gas furnace/boiler and fireplace pilot lights, when no longer needed.
- Check smoke, carbon monoxide and security alarms and replace batteries.
- Shut down and clean/service the furnace and filter.
- Clean or replace all filters (if applicable). Have appliances serviced every year.
- Irrigation/sprinkler systems can also be re-set in preparation for spring.
If you have questions or concerns or you don’t feel comfortable with any of these spring home maintenance tasks, Glenn Duxbury and Duxbury & Associates can help. Feel free to contact Glenn for any type of home inspection consultation.