Along with spring cleaning, here is a good checklist to follow to help better prepare your home for the warmer months ahead.
Spring and Summer Home Maintenance Guide
Check the roof of your home
Inspect the roof and chimney. Look for shingles that are missing, brittle, curled, or damaged. For safety, wait for dependably dry weather before walking on a roofing surface, or stand on the ground and examine the roof through binoculars.
Check your chimney to see if it has sustained any damage to bricks, boards, and flashing. If you use your fireplace regularly, you need to have it cleaned or “swept” every two years by a chimney sweep certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. Chimney sweeping prevents flue fires and creosote buildup that might cause dangerous carbon monoxide to enter the home.
Assuming you applied anti-moss treatments in the fall, spring is a good time to touch up the job. Remove any remaining moss with a garden hose and a whisk broom. Whatever you do, don’t use a pressure washer; it’s much too powerful and can damage the shingles and force water underneath them, where moisture can rot sheathing and roof joists.
Checking and repairing your roof is not for everyone and may be something you feel more comfortable leaving to a professional.
Trim Shrubs and Growth
Spring is the best time to trim back shrubs and bushes that are close to the house. For trees, only do light pruning at this time of year, trimming back selectively at the branch tips (you’ll want to remove large branches and do major pruning only in the fall).
Be sure to keep vines off the house---use a trellis instead. Vines can do costly damage to the exterior surface of your house by holding in moisture that causes rot, introducing insects, or even rooting into the mortar between bricks.
Your gutters need cleaning spring and fall. Check for areas where the gutters may have pulled away from the house, and for bent or twisted spots that allow water to puddle.
HVAC Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning
Schedule your biannual HVAC check. In preparation for the cooling season, ask your HVAC professional about the maintenance checklist they use; it should include checking thermostats and controls, checking the refrigerant level, tightening connections, lubricating any moving parts, checking the condensate drain, and cleaning the coils and blower.
While it probably won’t hurt anything, is not necessary. Please be wary of contractors who want to coat the inside of the ducts with antimicrobial agents, as research has not proven the effectiveness of this method and any chemicals used in your ducts will likely become airborne. Make sure your air filters are changed, and inspect and vacuum out all your floor registers.
Flush your water heater once a year. Sediment builds up in your water heater over time, particularly if you have hard water. This can compromise the heater’s efficiency and shorten its lifespan.
Flush your water heater by attaching a garden or heater hose to the valve at the bottom of the tank (if you have a gas heater, be sure to turn the burner to the “pilot” setting first). Run the hose to the floor drain or outside the house and open the valve. Keep the water running through the heater until it runs clear.
Check your GFCIs
A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protects you from fatal electrical shocks by shutting off the power whenever a disturbance in current is detected. It is the electrical outlets with two buttons in the middle (“test” and “reset”) that should be present anywhere water and electricity can mix: kitchens, bathrooms, basements, garages, and the exterior of the house.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends monthly testing, Test each GFCI by plugging a small appliance (say, a radio) into the receptacle. Press the test button, which should click and shut off the radio. The reset button should pop out; when you press reset, the radio should come back on.
If the radio doesn’t shut off when you press the test button, the reset button doesn't pop out, or pressing reset does not restore power to the radio, either the GFCI itself has failed and should be replaced, or the outlet is wired incorrectly and should be repaired. Call an experienced electrician to complete the repair.