Spring is just weeks away, and for many, that means the time for a traditional "spring cleaning" is getting closer. It's a time-honored tradition that makes sense. After all, who doesn't want to start packing away extra blankets, taking up heavy rugs, clean out the dust that's built up over a season of closed and sealed windows and doors, and let a little fresh air work its magic at renewing our homes' interiors?
Yet, for homeowners, spring is about more than spring cleaning. There are a myriad of chores that need to be tackled as the season of growth and renewal arrives. There's plenty to tackle outdoors, as well, and we don't mean just the yard!
Winter can take its toll on a roof, and spring is the perfect time to have it inspected -- or inspect it yourself -- for damaged shingles and curled or cracked flashing.
You probably cleaned the gutters last fall to make sure that they weren't full of leaves and other debris that might prevent them from doing the job of catching and draining melting snow and ice and routing it through downspouts and away from your foundation. As spring begins, it's time to do that again, since all manner of debris is likely to have accumulated their during the course of the winter. At the same time, check downspouts for damage, and make sure they're positioned to direct water away from the foundation.
The first warm spring day is a good time to get outside and start the task of washing the winter grime off of the exterior of your home's windows. You'd be surprised at how much dirt builds up over the course of a just a few months. Of course, if your home has more than one story or has high or tall windows, you might want to consider hiring a window-cleaning or handyman service to do the job for you rather than risk toting around and climbing an extension ladder. (Make sure that whomever you hire is fully insured!)
Test and Change Smoke Alarm Batteries
The start of each new season is your cue to change the batteries in all of your home's smoke and carbon dioxide batteries so that you're sure they're always ready to do their job.
Fill Low Spots With Compacted Soil
Spring rains can cause foundation flooding, which can lead to damage, so it's a good idea to fill any low spots around the yard and near the foundation with compacted soil in very early spring -- before the heavy rains start. (Even if they're not near the foundation, letting them fill with water can make them a breeding ground for mosquitoes once they make their appearance as the weather warms up.)
If you've stored any firewood near the house for a wood stove or a cheery winter fire in the fireplace, now's the time to move it at least a few feet away from the foundation (and at least 18 inches off the ground) to ward off the risk of attracting insects that can damage your home.
Check Outside Faucets and Hoses
Hopefully, you turned off the water supply to outside faucets last fall to protect them from freezing. Turn it back on and open up each faucet to test it. If you can stop the flow of water with your thumb, there's a chance that the inside of the pipe is damaged. If that's the case, have it replaced.
Take your hose(s) out of storage and check them for dry rot or rodent damage so they're ready for watering your spring flower beds.
Service Your Air Conditioning Unit
Spring is the time to have a qualified HVAC professional inspect, clean and service your home's central air conditioning unit so it's ready for the summer cooling season.
Clean and Service Your Outdoor Power Equipment
A lawnmower that's clean, with a sharp blade and fresh oil will be ready for use when the grass needs its first mowing of the season. While you're at it, you can stow the snow blower and snow shovels away until it's time to take them out again near the end of next fall.
It may seem like a long list of chores, but your home is your biggest investment, and taking care of seasonal chores helps ensure that it holds its value year after year!