It’s time to brush off our garden tools, get out the wheelbarrow, and begin spring cleaning. There’s no shortage of tasks to complete before the summer heat kicks in, from prepping your garden beds to unclogging your gutters. To help you prioritize your pre-summer “must-dos,” we’ve developed a list of worthwhile springtime home maintenance projects.
Spring Home Maintenance Checklist
Below is a to-do list of the most important tasks every homeowner should complete before summertime. The projects on this list all fall within the vein of preventative and essential household maintenance. By taking care of them each year, you can save more time, money, and headaches down the line.
Tackling early-season chores can be daunting, as there’s no shortage of important to-dos – but breaking them down into bite-size tasks makes them more manageable. Even better, many of these projects are doable in about 15 minutes.
We also added two additional lists with other spring chores that, while not immediate priorities, should be tackled if time and budget allow.
1. Get Your Air Conditioning Unit a Cleaning and Tune-up
To help prevent your air conditioner from breaking down on you amidst the summer heat, we recommend scheduling a professional inspection. An HVAC contractor will give your system a thorough checkup, looking for any damage, replacing refrigerant, and even cleaning it. It’s also not a bad idea to trim any shrubs around the unit and replace your home’s AC filter while you’re at it.
2. Inspect, Clean, and Repair Your Gutter and Downspout System
The end of spring and fall are the perfect times to clear out your gutters. Just before summer starts, take some time to give your gutters a thorough cleaning, removing grime buildup and debris from the system. Once that’s done, you should take a look at the condition of your gutters and downspouts, repairing any cracks or broken sections. This is also a great time to install quality gutter guards to reduce gutter maintenance in the future.
3. Give Your Windows a Touch-up
Early spring is an ideal time to give your windows some TLC. Make sure to check three key areas: the track, screen, and weatherstripping.
Your window’s tracks should be oiled with a silicone lubricant and inspected for damage.
Clean your screens with soap and water. If damaged, you can patch your screens or purchase new ones (in the form of rolls) at a home improvement store.
Check the weatherstripping for weaknesses and replace it once every few years.
4. Check for Damaged Shingles and Flashing
Shingles and flashing are the outermost layers of protection for any roof. Damaged or missing shingles can lead to water damage, pest infestations (like termites), and many other problems. You should always check your roof, remove any tree limbs or debris, and repair any lost shingles or damaged flashing.
5. Inspect Siding and Repair if Needed
Your siding will eventually wear down over time, be it vinyl, cement, brick, or metal sheet. You should give your siding a look over to catch any potential problems before they become an expensive repair bill. If you spot any cracks, loose sections, mold, mildew, or water stains, repair them, or call a professional for a replacement.
6. Check Your Dryer Vent
While you’re outside inspecting your home’s siding, pay special attention to your dryer vent. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, over 2,900 fires occur yearly from lint-clogged dryer vents, causing $35 million in damages and an average of five deaths and 100 injuries. As such, it pays to take a few minutes and de-clog it if needed.
7. Set Fans Counterclockwise to Keep Cool and Save on Energy
A little-known fact about ceiling fans is that the blades’ direction can make a room warmer or cooler. In the winter, running the blades clockwise will push the warmer, higher air up and out, circulating it to the rest of the room. In the summer, switching the blades counterclockwise will have the opposite effect, pushing air straight down and creating a noticeable breeze.
8. Lubricate All Exterior Hinges, Gates, Garage Door Tracks, and Locks
You can save yourself future frustration by taking an afternoon to clean and lubricate all your outside doors and garage doors. Use lithium-based grease or silicone-based lubricant for hinges or garage doors and a dry lubricant spray or graphite powder for stuck locks.
9. Inspect Your Foundation, Sealing Cracks, Chips, and Gaps
Insects and other critters can get inside your home through cracks as small as a quarter of an inch wide. Even worse, water can freeze in foundation cracks during the winter, widening them and causing ever-increasing damage. To prevent this, we recommend doing a foundation check and using polyurethane foam or other waterproof caulk to fill all cracks, chips, and gaps.
10. Prepare Your Flower Beds and Plants
As the winter months subside, your flower beds will spring to life. Unfortunately, this can mean dealing with early-season weeds, grasses, and other issues. Before the temperatures become intense, we recommend some pre-planting prep to make flower beds easier to manage later in the season. Get your flower bed ready for planting by:
- Clearing out dead leaves, plants, and other tree limbs collected over the winter
- Removing any early sprouting weeds and grasses
- Removing any old mulch
- Adding a small layer of compost
- Adding a layer of fresh mulch
More Spring Chores (If Time and Budget Allow)
- Use a pressure washer to clean decks, fences, siding, walkways, and driveways.
- Inspect the attic for pests and damage.
- Schedule a water heater inspection.
- Check all outside faucets for leaks and garden hoses for dry rot.
- De-winterize the sprinkler system.
- Improve lawn landscaping by aerating and fertilizing.
- Reseed all bare spots on the lawn.
- Sharpen or replace garden tools, check the wheelbarrow, and replace lawn mower blades.
- Check batteries in carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors.
A Little Something Extra
- Flip or rotate mattresses.
- Paint the mailbox and inspect the mailbox post.
- Paint the front door, install door sweeps, and replace door screens.
- Take all indoor plants outside and clean them.
- If your home has a sump pump, test it by pouring a bucket of water to activate it.
Getting your home’s exterior ready for the spring and summer can feel like a daunting task. But, it becomes much easier to handle when broken down into manageable, bite-size projects. By tackling each of the tips on this checklist, you’ll go into the season with a sense of accomplishment and save yourself major headaches later.
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