It may not seem like it, but spring is right around the corner. And with every new season comes an opportunity to check in with your most important investment – your home – to ensure its ready to meet the challenges of sheltering you and yours in the season ahead. Welcome to Supplementally Speaking’s new series of seasonal home maintenance tips and advice.
Today, our focus is set on spring. That fresh air is coming, so get ready to throw up the windows and let it in. While you’re imagining yourself enjoying it, take a moment to check out our quick list of items to check, clean or maintain to keep your happy home in top shape:
Major systems in your home have been working overtime to keep you comfortable all winter long. It’s time for some quick maintenance so they’re ready when weather calls!
- Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC): Now that temps are milder, schedule professional maintenance of your HVAC systems. This annual checkup can prevent up to 75 percent of “no heat” service calls technicians report each winter, as well as save energy and prolong the life of your HVAC system.1
- Sump pump: Before spring rains arrive is the best time to check that your sump pump is running and draining properly.2 Consider installing a battery back-up system for power outage peace of mind.
- Chimneys: Your home most likely has more than one chimney; venting systems as well as fireplaces need checkups. The Chimney Safety Institute of America and the National Fire Protection Association recommend annual, professional inspection and as-needed maintenance for all your home’s ventilation systems.3
- Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: Spring is a great time to change detector batteries; many experts recommend mentally connecting this maintenance with springing forward for daylight savings time.4 When you change your clocks, change your batteries!
You have your inside work underway. Now it’s time to take a look at how the outside of your home fared Old Man Winter.
- Inspection: Get out and walk around. Look for loose pavement or stones, keeping an eye out for tripping hazards. How do the façade and foundation look? Any loose or missing pieces? If you see problems, take note and call a professional to repair, if needed.5
- Gutters: Clogged gutters cause big problems for homeowners in terms of leaks or stress on certain areas of your home when rainwater can’t flow away. Twice-a-year cleaning is recommended.6 You might consider tackling this yourself, but if you do, use care on your ladder. Nearly 20,000 people were treated for ladder-related injuries in 2016, so caution is a must.7
- Clean and paint: Keep the surface of your home clean with a garden hose and siding brush to remove dirt and cobwebs. No power washers needed; they can be tough on home surfaces.8
- Deck and patio: It’s time for a good sweep, spray and inspection of these areas, too. Take note of cracked wood or stone, missing pieces or wayward nails. Repair as needed.
Finally, it’s time to work the land.
- Spring cleanup: Regardless of your climate, the land around your home has likely experienced some neglect during winter months. It’s time to rake leaves, clean out dead or fallen branches and cover flower beds with a protective layer of mulch.9
- Trees: Consider welcoming the trained eye of a certified arborist to make sure trees are healthy and disease-free. This annual checkup helps them provide beauty, privacy and protection throughout the year.10
- Lawn: Now’s the time to seed, fill bare patches in the lawn and start normal weekly yardwork. Just before you begin lawnmower use, take it for an annual tune up to keep it running well throughout the growing season. Lawn fertilizer should be applied later in the season, once shrubs, like lilacs, are in bloom.11
1 Moor, Tom. “How Often Should You Have a Furnace Inspection?” Angie's List, Angie's List, 25 Aug. 2015.
2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11 Kaysen, Ronda. “The Annual Home Maintenance Checklist.” The New York Times, The New York Times.
3 “About Your Chimney & Venting System.” Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).
6 Moor, Tom. “Why Is Gutter Cleaning So Important?” Angie's List, 12 Sept. 2013.
7 “Ladder Safety One Rung at a Time.” National Safety Council.