The weather is getting warmer, and everything outside is coming alive again. That means it's time to clean, repair, and refresh your home. Spring is the perfect time to perform some basic maintenance to keep your home looking and working great.
1. Clean the gutters and downspouts. All through winter, your gutters and spouts have been clogged with leftover leaves and debris from the end of fall. It's not the easiest job, but it's one that could potentially save you thousands in repair costs. Gutters carry rainwater away from your roof, exterior walls, windows, and foundation. It's always a good idea to have a friend, spouse, or neighbor around when you clean your gutters to hold your ladder steady.
2. Power wash your exterior. Refresh your siding, porch, and patio. It’s inexpensive to rent a power washer for the day. Home Depot rents them for just $27. You just need a water hookup. The power washer hooks up to it just like your hose does, and they’re a lot of fun to use.
3. While you're up on the roof, check for missing shingles. These will need replaced to protect your home from leaks or poor energy efficiency. Check your skylights, if you have them, for any sign of damage that could need repairing.
4. Check for branches near the roof or windows. Depending on the height and size of the branch, you may need to hire professional help with this problem. Branches that hang over the top of your home could potentially be dangerous during a bad storm. As a rule, branches should be at least 10 feet from your home. When planting new trees, keep them 20 feet or more away so they have room to grow safely.
5. Wash your exterior windows, repair or replace damaged screens, and reapply weather stripping. The harsh cold weather in winter can wreak all sorts of havoc on your windows. Replace any screens that may have ripped or come apart. If the screens are intact, you can clean them and make them look brand new again.
6. Spray outside for pests. When the weather starts getting warmer, more and more creepy crawlies will find their way into your home. You can deter them with pesticide sprays which should be sprayed around the foundation of your home. Be careful with these as they are poisonous to pets and children. Make sure the spray dries before letting those guys outside to play.
7. Clean outside air conditioning unit. This appliance probably hasn't been used in months and is likely covered in debris. Before it gets too hot outside, make sure to clean the unit so that it runs efficiently. Remove large pieces of debris with your hands. Then, use a vacuum to collect the dust and dirt as best you can. Gently rinse it with water.
8. Change interior filters for air conditioner. You should replace your filters for your air conditioner and furnace every few months (more if you have pets). It helps keep these systems operate efficiently. It's not an easy task to remember, so spring is the perfect time to add it to your to-do list.
9. Spray inside for pests. You've already sprayed outside, so now it's time to double down and spray inside as well. Insects are determined little guys. Again, these sprays are poisonous, so it's best to stay out of the house while it dries and the air clears.
10. Replace batteries in all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. While you should test your alarms regularly, it's good to replace the batteries in the spring. Remember, you should have both alarms on every level of your home, inside each bedroom, near stairways, and within 10 feet of a cooking appliance. Don't put them near windows or doors as the possible draft from outside air could interfere.
11. Check fire extinguishers are full. Look at the pressure gauge on your fire extinguishers. If the needle points to the green area, you're in the clear. Make sure to keep fire extinguishers on every level of the home, in rooms with fireplaces, and the kitchen.
12. Clean out the dryer exhaust vent. This requires a few extra tools, and can be done by a professional if you'd like. Otherwise, safely disconnect your dryer to access the vent behind it. Connect the cleaning tool (it looks like an extra long toilet bowl cleaner) to your power drill so you can spin your way all the way down the vent.
13. Clean out the medicine cabinet. Medicine cabinets and bathroom closets get cluttered quickly. It's easy to forget about old and rarely used medicine. Discard expired medicine and make a shopping list for any meds you threw our or are missing. You should check the status of your first aid kit at this time, too. Remember to replace anything you've used over the past year.
14. Shampoo your carpeting and rugs. Giving your carpets a good scrubbing a couple times a year will keep high traffic areas from getting ragged and rundown as quickly. Plus, it'll help keep down on the allergens in your home, particularly if you have pets.
Along with completing this necessary maintenance for your home, spring is also a great time for doing a deep clean of your home. It's a lot of work, but you, and your home, will feel so much better afterwards.