Once the snow and wintry weather is gone for good, it’s time to turn our attention to spring tasks around the home. Rearranging the furniture, planting primroses, airing out the house and tackling a bit of spring cleaning are all great ways to prep our homes for the upcoming year.
For new homeowners, however, prepping a house for spring involves a little more than deep cleaning. Spring is also the time for home maintenance projects to keep our homes running smoothly. If you’ve never owned a home before, this checklist of springtime repairs and home improvement tasks will get you started.
1. Have the air conditioner and furnace serviced. Heating and AC systems should be serviced at least twice a year, once in the fall and again mid-spring. HVAC technicians can make sure that your furnace and air conditioner are functioning smoothly for optimal efficiency and will catch small problems before they turn into big ones.
2. Sprinkler system start up. For homeowners with an underground sprinkler system, late spring is to the time to have the system turned back on. The guy who blew out the lines in the fall is the one to call to prime the system and get it operating again. If you’ve forgotten the name, check the yellow pages under “sprinkler services” for a technician who can do this job for you.
3. Replace the screens. As soon as the weather is warm enough for windows to be opened, the windows should be washed and the screens reinstalled.
4. Prune back shrubs and trees. For those lucky enough to have mature landscaping in the yard, early spring is an excellent time to prune shrubs and tree limbs that are dead, diseased, or touching your home. After pruning away overhanging tree limbs, I’ll also sweep the rooftop of pine needles, bark, and dropped limbs.
5. Change out the batteries on the smoke alarms. April 15 is “replace the batteries in your smoke alarm” day. Smoke alarm and CO2 alarms should have their batteries changed out once a year; tax day is an easy day to remember this important home repair task.
6. Clean out gutters and down spouts. Before those April showers hit, the rain gutters and down spouts should be cleaned to keep them functioning properly. Don’t forget to orient the splash guards so they drain away from your house instead of into the foundation.
7. Replace loose weather stripping. Spring is also a good time to replace missing or loose weather stripping around the doors and windows. If you don’t know what kind to buy, do what I do and take a small sample to the hardware store for a match.
8. Check exterior siding for winter damage. Winter storms and freezing temperatures can cause serious damage to the siding of your home. To check for damage, walk around the exterior of your home to look for holes, cracks, loose or damaged boards and call a professional if repairs are needed.
9. Check the fire extinguishers. Fire extinguishers lose their pressure even when not in use. Spring is also a good time to check the pressure gauge and have all your fire extinguishers recharged and tested to keep them working properly.
10. Clean out the fireplace and have the chimney flue swept. Wrapping up the list of spring time home maintenance tasks is to muck out the fireplace and hire a chimney sweep to clean out the flue. Fireplace flues should be cleaned out at least once a year (preferably twice a year) to keep them working safely and efficiently.