Feel that hint of warmth in the air? Did you notice those tulips sprouting? That can only mean one thing: spring is arriving. That also means it’s time to get your home in order. As a homeowner, maintenance tips are a dime a dozen. That’s why we’ve narrowed down the list to the essential projects you need to extend the life of your home.
Most of these are easy enough to do yourself, but always put your safety and comfort first. The cost of hiring a contractor or handyperson is minimal compared to the cost of injuring yourself.
HOMEOWNER MAINTENANCE TIPS THAT ANYONE CAN DO: THE EXTERIOR
Winter is tough on your home. Start your exterior maintenance projects by making a list of any visible exterior problems such as gutter damage, broken stairs, or cracks in the chimney. Take care of any noticeable issues as soon as you can, either by hiring someone or by taking care of it yourself. A simple maintenance issue can quickly become a major repair if left unattended.
1. Roof, chimney, and gutters
This is an easy job, but if you aren’t comfortable climbing a ladder and working on your roof, hire someone to do the job for you. Powerwash the winter grime from the roof, inspect your chimney for cracks or broken bricks, and clean out your gutters. While you’re there, check your roof for damaged shingles, reattach any sections of the gutter that have come loose, and recaulk any weathered or leaking sections of skylights.
Complete a thorough inspection of your exterior walls. Reattach loose shingles, repair any holes, and scrape and paint any exposed surfaces. It’s not a bad idea to give your home a powerwash while you’re at it—just don’t forget to close your windows first!
3. Windows and doors
Look for cracks in window seals, broken screens, loose handles or hinges, and sticky locks. Front doors, especially, get overlooked despite the fact that they get used numerous times each day.
Cracks in your home’s foundation can lead to leaks, insect infestations, and rodent troubles. Small cracks are easy enough to fix on your own with a concrete patch. Large cracks could indicate a structural problem with your home, so it’s best to consult a professional.
While you’re examining the foundation, check the drainage around your home. All that water from rain and melting snow has to go somewhere. If you have poor drainage around your home, there’s a good chance that water may end up in your basement and lead to mold problems. If water isn’t draining properly, the fix could be as simple as adding an extension to your gutter’s downspout.
Trees that are too close to your home invite squirrels and insects to come in. Keep trees trimmed and remove any dead branches before they fall and damage your home or injure someone.
HOMEOWNER MAINTENANCE TIPS THAT ANYONE CAN DO: THE INTERIOR
While you’re airing out your home, pay special attention to those hidden and out-of-the-way spots. You don’t want to let easy fixes go just because no one sees them.
While your appliances don’t directly impact the longevity of your home, they are expensive to repair or replace. Even minimal maintenance will prolong their life and lower your utility bill. Clean the coils on your refrigerator, clean or change the filter on your range hood, and clean or replace the filter on your air conditioning. It’s amazing how dirty these get.
2. Plumbing and water
Unless you’re a capable DIYer, it’s best to leave major plumbing projects to the professionals. However, minor maintenance around sinks and bathtubs can stop a problem before it begins. Check the pipes underneath your sinks to ensure there are no leaks. Inspect the caulking around your tub or shower. If it is worn or cracked, repair it as soon as you can to keep water from gathering underneath the floors.
3. Water heater
Flush your water heater to prevent a build-up of sediment and gunk. It’s not a difficult project, but it does require several steps. Bob Vila has an easy step-by-step guide on his website.
4. The attic
Head upstairs into the attic. Look around for things like bird or rodent nests, light coming through the ceiling, and any signs of dampness on the wood or insulation. Problems here most likely indicate damage on your roof or a hole along the eaves where birds or squirrels can get in.
5. Safety items
Check your fire extinguisher, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors. These aren’t maintenance items, exactly, but they do help keep you and your family safe. In truth, it’s best to check them all monthly and replace the batteries in your detectors twice each year, but it’s a potentially life-saving reminder to add them to a list of homeowner maintenance tips.