Spring offers a welcome respite each year from the harsh Chicago area winters. Before you begin spending all of your free hours outside enjoying the warm-up, though, carve out some time to perform simple spring maintenance tasks. You’ll not only help your home recover from the stress of cold weather, but you’ll also ensure it survives the rainy spring intact.
Start your springtime maintenance routine with an inspection of your home’s exterior. Take a look at your roof; loose, missing or buckled shingles or loose nails mean it’s time for repair or replacement work. Also check your chimney, skylights and other elements for signs of damage. Next, examine your gutters and downspouts. Ensure they’re free of debris and tightly connected. Make repairs to exterior walls if you find evidence of rot, excessive wear or water damage and replace chipped paint and missing sections of siding, and then clean the walls with a hose or power washer. Scan your home’s foundation, and call in a specialist if you find signs of damage.
If you have a deck or patio, be on the lookout for rot, missing pieces and loose railings as you give it a thorough cleaning, and consider resealing the surface if it looks worn. Ensure your driveway and sidewalks are safe, too; scout out and repair cracks and uneven sections. Also fill low spots in your yard to prevent flooding and rid the lawn of leaves and branches to encourage grass growth. Check that your lawn care tools are in good shape and use them to trim overgrown plants and trees, and make sure your outdoor faucets, sprinklers and hoses survived the winter freeze. Finally, gear up for those summer parties: hose down your outdoor furniture and free your grill of clogs and buildup.
Give the inside of your home a little TLC each spring as well. Get ready for springtime rainstorms by confirming your home is watertight: fill cracks in your basement walls and test your sump pump. Ensure your plumbing won’t pose a flooding risk, either. Check hoses and connections on your washing machine, water heater and faucets for leaks. Then prepare for the summer heat by servicing your air conditioning unit. To keep cool air indoors, inspect the seals and weather stripping around all doors and windows and replace them if you find leaks. And don’t forget to replace storm windows with screens to let in the spring breeze.
Also conduct a home safety and efficiency inspection each spring. Examine every light switch and outlet for signs of scorching, loose connections and fraying, and make sure each power source works properly. Vacuum your dryer’s lint trap and exhaust duct to prevent fires, and change your smoke detector batteries—just in case. Prevent damage from moisture by cleaning your bathroom exhaust fan and verifying that it’s working properly, and keep your refrigerator and freezer running smoothly with a quick vacuum of the coils.
Spring is nature’s annual fresh start, and a spring cleaning session can give your home the same benefit. Start with a thorough dusting: go room by room, and remove buildup from all surfaces, including window frames, ceiling fans, chair rails, cabinets and shelving, working from top to bottom. Then remove the dust and dirt from your carpets with a vacuum and shampoo. Shake out upholstered cushions and use a vacuum attachment tool to get crumbs out of couch crevices. Remove and clean drapery and blinds and give your windows and screens a good washing. Clean your walls (especially in the kitchen, where grease collects) with a mild detergent and apply a coat of wax to floors and furniture. Then say a final goodbye to winter and pack away cold weather bedding and clothing.
If you need some help crossing certain items off your spring home maintenance checklist—or you simply want to spend more time enjoying the warmer weather than preparing for it—don’t be afraid to hire a professional to help you get your home ready for spring.