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spring maintenance

Spring Maintenance

Over the next couple of months work on completing this checklist for spring maintenance. Routinely checking your property for needed repairs will help prevent it from deteriorating and from possibly a more significant issue down the road.

Hot Water Heater

After consulting your hot water tank owner’s manual, carefully test the temperature and pressure relief valve to ensure it is not stuck. Caution: This test may release hot water that can cause burns. Wear gloves, and use a bucket to catch water as it comes out. Be sure the valve returns to its original position.

Wash machine

Empty wash machine drain pump. Check water hoses and filters.

Fireplace/ Wood Stove and Chimney

Have the fireplace or wood stove and chimney cleaned and serviced as needed.

Chimney: Clean and check for deteriorating bricks and mortar. Check for leaks. Check for birds, nests, squirrels, and insects.

Attic

If you have an attic fan:

  • Remove leaves and debris from louvers and louver pivots.
  • Clean fan blades.
  • Lubricate motor and pulley bearings–check owner’s manual
  • Examine the drive belt and replace it if sides are glazed smooth and slippery.
  • Check belt tension (should deflect 1/2 of an inch when pressed in the middle). Replace the belt if necessary.

Examine attic for evidence of any leaks. Check insulation and remove or add if necessary. Is there evidence of birds, squirrels, raccoons, etc? Check for proper ventilation.

Air conditioning

Switch on power to air conditioning and check system. Service every two or three years.

Check dehumidifier and drain — clean if necessary-wash and change filter.

Furnace

General furnace inspection: Look for rust, scaling on the heat exchanger, and proper flame color.

Shut down, drain and clean furnace humidifier, and close the furnace humidifier damper on units with central air conditioning.

Turn OFF gas furnace, then check exhaust vent and air shutter openings for dirt and dust. Clean the burner of lint and dirt and vacuum air passages to burner or hire a professional.

Inspect the heating system’s fan belt for frayed or worn spots, and check tension (should give about 3/4 of an inch). Keep a spare belt on hand.

Water Well and Septic tank

Have well water tested for quality. It is recommended that you test for bacteria every six months.

Check septic tanks and drain field for any flooding or damage.

Get the tank pumped seasonally

Shower

Inspect shower door for proper fit. Adjust if necessary. Inspect caulking around shower enclosure and re-caulk if necessary.

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

Check smoke, carbon monoxide, and security alarms, and replace batteries.

Windows and doors

Check weather stripping on windows and doors for damage and tightness of fit. Repair.

Clean windows, screens and hardware, and replace storm windows with screens.

Check latches and pivots on storm windows for loose connections or signs of wear. Replace loose or worn parts. Make sure the “weep hole” at the bottom of the metal windows is clear.

Repair window glazing.

Check window frames for cracks and repair. Repaint as needed. Pay attention to the sills.

Clean awnings. Repair cloth or repaint metal as needed.

Outside faucets and sprinklers

Open valve to outside hose connection after all danger of frost has passed.

Check and repair hoses.

After the last frost date, turn on and set the outdoor sprinkler system.

Check sprinkler heads and replace damaged heads.

Foundation walls

Check inside and outside foundation walls and piers for termite tubes and damaged wood.

Examine the foundation walls for cracks, leaks or signs of moisture, and repair as required.
. Examine inside of foundation walls for dampness or water stain, which indicates seepage or a leak.

Use flexible caulking wherever driveway or sidewalks meet the house.

House siding

Inspect bricks or blocks for cracked mortar or loose joints.

Check for and seal off any holes in exterior cladding that could be an entry point for small pests, such as bats and squirrels.

Inspect siding for damage or rot. Wash if soiled. Repair or replace.

Repair any damaged stucco, foundation or bricks.

Walls (inside and out)

Check painted surfaces for paint failure, water damage, or mildew (inside and outside).

Examine all trim for tightness of fit, damage, and decay.

Look for cracks where ceilings and walls join.

Check caulking around windows and doors (inside and outside).

Inspect condition of caulking where two different materials meet, where wood siding joins the foundation’s wall, at inside corners, and where window trim and door trim join the siding.

Check for and treat mildew.

Roof

Inspect the roof for damaged or loose shingles or blisters.
. Examine flashing around chimneys, vent stacks, and roof edges.
. Check vents and louvers for free air movement. Clean screen.
. Check antenna guy wires and support straps.

Sump pump

Ensure the sump pump is operating properly before the spring thaw sets in. Ensure the discharge pipe is connected and allows water to drain away from the foundation.

Electricity

Inspect the condition of the wiring in exposed areas such as the attic and basement.

Exercise circuit breaker.

Leaf removal

Clean out any debris or leaves that have filled or blocked doorways, window wells, and storm drains.

Trim back trees and bushes that are touching the house.

Clear all drainage ditches and culverts of debris.

Deck and steps

Re-level any exterior steps or decks that moved as a result of frost or settling.

Deck: Scrub mildewed areas and treat for water stains, mildew, and fungus.

Sidewalks and driveways

Inspect repair sidewalks and stepping stones

Inspect and repair damage to the driveway.

Gutters

Check eavestroughs and downspouts for loose joints and secure attachment to your home, remove debris from gutters (Use wire snake for elbows), and aim downspouts away from the house.

Spot paint wore areas on gutters and downspouts. Repair or caulk holes. Replace any sections that have holes or excessive rust.

Outside wooden structures

Repair and paint fences as necessary — allow wood fences to dry adequately before tackling this task.

Repaint trellises as necessary.

Clean and treat wooden planters and window boxes.

Outdoor play equipment

Check and repair children’s play equipment such as swing sets and trampolines.

Replace sand in the sandbox if animals have used it.

Check and repair outside games such as volleyball and basketball nets.

Outdoor furniture and grill

Clean lawn furniture. Paint or condition wood or metal furniture.

Scour rust off metal furniture with a metal brush.

Wash or replace lawn furniture cushions.

Wash grill grates and rinse off outside. Repair any rust or damage.

Clean or replace the patio umbrella.

Check and repair the hot tub.

Lawn and garden equipment

Do spring maintenance on the lawnmower –refer to the mower’s manual.

Inspect, clean and repair garden and lawn tools

Wildlife

Check and repair feeders. Paint as necessary.

Check and repair birdbaths and birdhouses.

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Routinely checking your property for needed repairs will help prevent it from deteriorating and from possibly a more significant issue down the road.

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