Did winter take a toll on your home? Use this spring home maintenance checklist to find out. Take a look at all of the cracks, crevices and mechanics of your house—tidying, tinkering, and incorporating the help of a pro as you go.
✓ Exterior Inspection
Windows and doors
Check the perimeter of windows and doors to ensure caulking is still in place. Recaulk as needed.
Remove and store storm windows and doors. Wash and reinstall window screens, ensuring there are no gaps around the screen, allowing insects to enter.
Wash and inspect windowsills for softening or rotting wood. Paint as needed after caulking.
To ensure the automatic reversal is working on your garage-door opener, place a roll of paper towels where the door meets the ground. When the door hits the towels, it should reverse. If it doesn’t, consult your owner’s manual or have it checked by a pro.
Visually inspect garage-door hardware; tighten or replace loose or missing bolts or hinges. Clean and lubricate the hardware.
Roof and façade
Using a pair of binoculars, inspect your roof for any visible damage, such as shingles that may be starting to curl or mortar on the chimney masonry that may be coming apart. Also, be sure to check flashings for evidence of water leakage. Fix as needed.
Clean algae or moss from the roof’s surface.
Inspect exterior vents for openings to prevent rodent intrusion.
Take a walk around your home to look for loose or cracked siding, cracked brick, peeling paint, loose trim, signs of decay or insect damage. Repair as needed.
Prune shrubs and trees a minimum of 12 inches from exterior walls and full clearance from the roof to avoid insect infestation.
If you have solar panels, schedule a cleaning. Dirt can impair the solar cells’ ability to receive the full benefit of the sun, reducing power generation by up to 40 percent.
Patios, porches and decks
Clean the patio, porch and deck to remove excess debris.
Paint or water-seal all exterior wood, including decks, overhangs and railings.
Inspect all railings for rot or loose bolts. Fix as needed.
The freeze-and-thaw cycle may have changed the slope of concrete slabs. Ensure that your sidewalks, patio, driveways, etc., are sloping away from the house to avoid water damage. If needed, slabs can be repaired or rebuilt by a professional.
Fill or patch any cracks or chipping sections of concrete.
Take a soil test to determine your lawn’s nutrient needs. A soil test can be done through your local Cooperative Extension office.
Based on the results from the soil test, apply limestone to all grass types except Centipede to ensure proper pH.
Purchase fertilizer for Zoysia, Bermuda, and Centipede grasses based on the results from the soil test.
Wait to spread fertilizer until your entire lawn is green for the spring.
Stop fertilizing Fescue lawns for the summer after April 1.
It’s too late to prevent spring weeds now. Use a post-emergent herbicide to target weeds already sprouting up or burn some calories by pulling them by hand.
Tune up your lawn mower. Sharpen blades, inspect the spark plug, and check the oil.
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Check irrigation pipes for leaks and damage that could have occurred during the freeze-and-thaw cycle.
Check all exterior outlets and faucets for cracks and leaks. Repair as needed.
Inspect for ice damage: gutters that have pulled away from the home, separation of the seams, etc. Fix or replace as needed.
Install yellow lights in outdoor fixtures. Yellow lights attract fewer flying insects and spiders.
Inspect and replace any broken or malfunctioning exterior lighting, and reset your lighting timers to coincide with the longer spring days.
Check all fencing and retaining walls for shifting or damage and repair as needed.
Clean filters on ponds, water-filtration, and water-storage systems.
Remove piles of wood, stone or other debris from around the house to avoid rodent, insect, termite or spider infestation.
✓ Interior maintenance
Replace your furnace air filter with a high-performance filter. Change filters every three months or more if needed.
Have your heating and cooling ducts inspected for damage or mold and dust deposits.
Remove debris from the condensate tray under the coils in your air conditioner (near the mechanical blower).
Test your attic and roof fans to make sure that power is getting to the thermostat and the fan is functioning properly.
Plumbing and water-heating systems
Install a backflow valve in the floor drain of your basement if you live in an area where sewers sometimes back up into homes. This device will prevent future backups.
Inspect for slow leaks in your home by taking a reading on your water meter before bedtime. The next morning, without using any water overnight, take another reading. If the reading has changed, you have a leak that should be repaired.
Check the temperature setting on the water heater. It should be set no higher than 125 degrees to prevent scalding and reduce energy use.
Perform a general inspection of your septic system: Check for any leaks, and consider using a yeast-based additive to maintain the “health” of the system.
Kitchen, bathrooms and laundry room
Check all faucets and toilets for drips or leaks and make any needed repairs. To check toilets for hidden leaks, add six drops of food coloring to the toilet tank. If the toilet is leaking, color will appear in the bowl within 30 minutes.
Clean mineral deposits from showerheads by unscrewing the devices and soaking them in vinegar overnight, then gently scrubbing them with an old toothbrush.
Check washing machine, dishwasher and icemaker supply hoses for bulges or leaks. Replace hoses showing signs of weakness or those older than 10 years. Change rubber washing machine lines to steel lines for safety.
Inspect tile walls and replace any missing caulk or grout.
If your faucets have aerators, remove and clean them.
Check the filter on your range hood. Clean or replace as needed.
—This information was compiled by the My Home Improvement staff and Super-Sod.