Spring Home Maintenance Checklist to Maximize your Comfort, Safety, and Enjoyment
Maintaining your Ann Arbor area home using a systematic approach is the best way to protect the value as well as your safety and well-being. This checklist hits most of the items you should do as part of a comprehensive seasonal home maintenance program. Get a downloadable version of our Spring Home Maintenance Checklist.
When it comes to Home Maintenance, there are two camps – Do-it-Yourselfers and Delegators – Hire a Professional. Whichever camp you are in, don’t worry! We have Ann Arbor area contacts to help you get nearly anything done around the house.
Exterior Cleaning and Power Washing
Power wash and clean exterior siding and soffits, decks and rails and exterior light fixtures to remove dirt and mildew buildup over the winter months. Biggest bang for the buck item – your home exterior will shine and you will feel great about your home! Be careful not to over do it! Too strong of a touch can etch wood, peel paint and deteriorate siding and roofing.
Interior Cleaning, Decluttering, and Organizing
Dispose of unneeded and unused items to make your space function well for you – give away, throw out, or sell the items that you no longer need or use. If you have not used the item for more than one year, consider whether you still need it.
Make sure often-used items are available for easy access and lesser-used items are not clogging up prime spaces. Perform a deep clean of all floors and carpet, doors, sills and moldings, furniture, light fixtures. Start at the far end of the home and work your way to the doors.
Gutters, Downspouts, and Extensions
One of the most important spring maintenance tasks is cleaning out your gutters and downspouts. Throughout the fall/winter leaves, sticks, and debris build up, weighing them down and clogging them up. Compromised gutter system can lead to big problems once rainwater begins to drip down the side of your home. Fixing rotten floor joists or a wet/moldy basement is a lot more time-consuming and expensive than making sure your gutters and downspouts are functioning properly throughout the year! Keep water flowing away from your house always!
Make sure your gutters, downspouts and extensions are clean and clear and operating property and allowing water to flow far away from your foundation.
Check along the foundation to be sure there are no cracks or holes where critters can enter your home. The smallest hole can allow bugs, mice and worse to enter your home.
Check to be sure there is a positive slope away from the house allowing water to drain away from the foundation. Add topsoil along the foundation as needed. Seepage into your basement or crawl space is often the fault of poor grading which allows water to flow in along the foundation.
Check along the foundation to be sure there are no cracks or holes where critters can enter your home. The smallest hole can allow bugs, mice, and worse to enter your home.
Yard Clean-up and Landscaping
If you have bushes/trees near the side of your home, trim back vegetation and branches – these can damage your exterior paint and siding over time if left unattended. Clear away leaf litter and debris from the side of your home and in any exterior window wells. This helps keep moisture and bugs away from your home! If you really aren’t a fan of the creepy crawlers this may be the time to consider having your foundation sprayed by a professional to keep your home entirely bug-free.
Cleaning up old mulch from the year before will protect against the mildew smell, and raking up leaf litter and debris from your yard will help your grass grow even and healthy.
If you live in a community with an active management company that takes care of exterior maintenance, don’t hesitate to ask them to come out and take care of tasks or repair issues in your yard. You are paying for this – make sure these tasks are taken care of!
A great way to add value to your home is to plant additional trees and shrubs each year. Planting trees and shrubs can be expensive and require maintenance especially when new. Create a long term planting schedule and do a little bit each year. The benefits will compound over time increasing the value of your home while increasing your sense of well being and enjoyment you receive from your home. If you really want to to increase your curb appeal, visit a local garden shop such as Downtown Home and Garden and purchase lawn care tools and treatments.
Heating and Cooling System
Your HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) system deserves maintenance. This includes monthly or quarterly filter changes, cleaning, and lubricating moving parts, and thoroughly checking the operation of the system including the thermostat. A licensed heating and cooling contractor is best for this. Ann Arbor summers are hot – get your spring tune-up before companies get backlogged. We have a list of excellent HVAC contractors if you need a referral.
Inspect your roof surface, flashing, eaves, and soffits. Perform a thorough cleaning. Check flashings around all surface projections and sidewalls. Occasionally check attic space for proper ventilation and inspect for signs of moisture and mold due to inadequate ventilation or leaks – especially around gables, valleys and all roof penetrations.
If you plan to inspect your own roof, make sure another person is with you, keeping your ladder steady and watching out for you. And, if climbing a steep roof is not your cup of tea, reach out to us for a list of local contractors who can service all of your roof cleaning needs
Inspect your underground sprinkler systems for leaky valves, exposed lines, and improperly working sprinkler heads each spring. Make sure that zones are timed correctly and that sprinkler heads are adjusted to minimize wasting water.
Exterior hose connections should be shut off and drained in the winter. Turn them on and make sure that faucets are in proper working order and that no pipes burst during the winter.
Clean and lubricate window hardware, repair or replace damaged screens, replace fogged glass panels (caused by broken seals in thermal pane glass panels). Clean window sills and windows.
Doors and locks
Lubricate and adjust all doors and locks to be sure they close and latch securely and easily. Check door seals for damage and air leaks, repair or replace as needed. Consider replacing poorly operating locks with newer technology digital locking devices. Consider adding a storm door to seal out the cold in the winter and keep your house cool in the summer.
Exterior Wood Trim
Check exterior wood trim for holes, cracks, and rot. Caulk to seal or replace trim to be sure that water pests and animals are sealed out. Especially check the wood trim on your chimney, any wood that is close to the ground and along window sills. Soft or rotten wood can allow water to penetrate and cause mold inside the walls and unseen structural damage if not managed. Prime and paint as needed.
Check concrete for cracks and settling. Check for uneven steps. Seal, mud jack, repair or replace concrete to seal out water and eliminate trip hazards.
Check Power Equipment
Check your gas and battery-powered lawn equipment to make sure it is ready for summer use. Clean equipment and sharp cutting blades will make yard work easier and safer. If you have your lawn equipment services, it’s best to get work done off season to avoid long delays. Have your lawn mower serviced in February and your snow blower serviced in July!
Test GFCI’s. If you do not have these (older homes may not) consider having an electrician install GFCI receptacles in all electrical outlets within 6 ft of running water. Check exterior outlets as well. Test smoke and CO detectors monthly. Replace the backup battery at least once every year. Replace the entire smoke alarm every 10 years. Radon systems are mostly out of sight and out of mind. It’s a good idea to test for Radon every few years. Read our Guide to Radon in Michigan for more information.
If all of this work sounds daunting, we can help you find licensed professionals to assist and can offer our advice on must-dos/versus optional maintenance. As home experts and advisors, we are here for our clients throughout their homeownership journey.
Maintaining your home to maximize its value, enjoyment, and safety is important to us, so reach out anytime for a contractor reference or resources.