Spring home maintenance checklist
Last updated: March 2023
Spring can be a great time to clear out clutter and start fresh. But, while you’re organizing closets and cleaning inside, don’t forget to tackle some basic home maintenance. Just like a car, some parts of your home need regular maintenance to keep it in good working condition for years to come, especially after a the winter. This checklist may help make it easier to tackle prepping your home for spring.
1. Roof, gutters and siding
Rough winter weather can leave behind damage to your home's roof or gutters and downspouts. Below are a few steps to consider taking after the ice, snow and frigid temperatures have moved on.
Clean gutters and downspouts:
Clear any debris out of your gutters that may have accumulated and ensure all the downspouts are directed away from your home. You should check for potential clogs by waiting for a rainy day or using a hose to fill the gutters and see if water exits the downspouts. If the gutters overflow, or water does not exit the spouts, you may have a clog. Smaller clogs may diminish after flushing the downspout with a hose, but tougher ones may require the use of other tools (such as a plumber's snake), says BobVila. Taking these precautions may help you avoid water backing up towards your home and causing damage when the spring rain arrives, says the Insurance Information Institute (III).
Check gutters for damage
Inspect your gutter system for damage, such as holes or cracks, that may have been caused by freezing and thawing of ice.
Check for roof damage
Visually check the condition of your roof by looking for any damaged or missing shingles, says the III. It may also be a good idea to check your attic for any signs of leaks or moisture. If anything looks suspicious, you'll want to have a professional inspect it. They should be able to check for shingles that are curling or clawing, which could mean they’re more susceptible to leaks, says Bob Vila.
If repairs are needed, it may be a good idea to contact your insurer to see if your homeowner's policy might help cover it.
Check for rotten or damaged siding
Take a walk around your house and look for any siding damage from the winter. Be sure to repair any pieces of siding that are extremely weathered or cracking. If you have painted wood siding, peeling or loose paint should be scraped off, sanded and repainted. If your home is made of brick or stucco, look for any crumbling or deteriorated mortar. If you find a problem, contact a professional for help with repairing or replacing the damaged materials.
Tip: Remember to use caution when working on your gutters or roof, especially if you'll be on a ladder. If you are not comfortable inspecting and cleaning these parts of your home, contact a professional for help.
2. Air conditioner
Gear up for warmer weather with an air conditioner tune-up. Depending on where you live, you may not need to run your AC until summer hits — but it might be a good idea to get ahead by cleaning the unit and making any necessary repairs before then. Here are a few steps you should take, according to Angie's List.
Inspect the unit's panels
Your air conditioner is surrounded by panels to enclose and protect its electrical system. Inspect these panels to ensure they're still secured properly and haven't sustained damage from winter weather.
Clear away debris
Remove leaves, twigs and other vegetation that may be on or around the air conditioning unit. You will also want to check the interior of the unit for any lawn debris that may have made its way inside. If not removed, debris may limit the efficiency of your AC and restrict air flow, says the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES).
Change the air filter
Your air conditioner’s air filter may have gathered debris and dust during the winter months. The National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) recommends you replace the filters in your air conditioner every spring. A new filter can help optimize the efficiency of the unit before you turn it on for the first time.
Tip: Although you may be able to perform some maintenance yourself, it may be a good idea to schedule a professional tune-up. They will be able to check your unit for any other potential problems and can help you with any needed repairs.
3. Windows and doors
Add or check weatherstripping
Weatherstripping windows and doors on your home is an easy and effective way to help save money on your energy bill, says the Department of Energy (DOE). Weatherstripping is a material you can apply that helps ensure there's a good seal around openings in your home. During the harsh winter months, it can help keep the warm air inside the house, and the cold drafts out. In the spring and summer, weatherstripping works the opposite way, helping to keep the cool air inside and the warm air out.
If you didn't install weatherstripping before the winter, you may want to take this opportunity to seal your windows and doors before you have to turn on the air conditioner. In the summer, if the cool air is contained inside, then the AC will not have to work as hard, and that may help you save money on your energy bill. The same can be true of your furnace when winter rolls back around.
The DOE recommends that you apply weatherstripping to clean, dry surfaces in temperatures above 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Replace damaged screens
if you don't have an air conditioner, or if you simply like to keep the windows open in the spring and summer, it's a good idea to make sure your screens are in good shape — you don't want to let flies or other insects in with the fresh air. winter storms and wind can damage window and door screens, so it may be a good idea to assess any damage and replace what needs to be fixed.
Trim trees and shrubs
Pruning or trimming plants around your home every year promotes plant health, improves appearance and can help protect people, says the University of Minnesota Extension. This will also help keep your home's siding from getting scratched or damaged. It usually a good idea to make sure landscaping is trimmed away from doors, windows and the home's outdoor air conditioning unit, if you have one.
Prepare your lawnmower
If you use your own lawn mower, spring is a great time to get it ready for use. You’ll want to check your specific owner’s manual for the proper maintenance schedule and procedure. Every year, you’ll typically want to check/change the oil (unless it’s electric), get fresh fuel, sharpen the blades and change or clean the filters, according to Consumer Reports.
5. Other annual checks
Test and clean ceiling fans
An efficient ceiling fan in each room can allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4 degrees Fahrenheit without reducing your comfort level, according to the DOE. Ceiling fans can be a good way to air out the house and generate a cross-breeze. So, make sure your fans are clean and ready to start cooling you off this spring and summer.
Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
It’s recommended that you check all of your smoke and CO2 detectors every year, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). If your alarms have "long life," or nonreplaceable batteries, they can be effective up to 10 years on the same battery. But if you have any other type of batteries in your alarms, you’ll want to replace them every year.
Drain your water heater
The water in your water heater needs to be flushed from time to time to remove sediment that can build up and reduce the unit's efficiency. How often you need to drain the system depends on the water quality in your area, says Angi. While most manufacturers recommend flushing a water heater once a year, Angi states that you may need to do it more frequently if you have hard water.
To drain a water heater, the only tool you'll typically need is a garden hose, says HGTV. Generally, you'll need to shut off the water heater's power and water supplies, and then attach a hose to the unit and let the water drain. Here are more detailed directions on getting this job done.
Check your deck
If you have a deck and it’s showing some age, most professionals recommend restraining every three to five years, according to Forbes. You should also ensure there aren't any deteriorating or loose boards.
Inspect the foundation
By setting aside time to get your home ready for spring, you can ensure that several potential issues following the winter season have been remedied — giving you more time to enjoy the new season ahead.