Spring is a good time for homeowners to take inventory of all their home maintenance and improvement projects. This checklist can help you get a handle on what needs to be done.

As a homeowner you can go through each item on the list, and check any that require attention. Once you've gone through the entire list, you can start your home maintenance and improvement projects by making "to do" lists for yourself, any volunteer helpers, and any professionals you plan to hire. These lists can help you make sure you are making the best practical use of each person involved.

Hint: If you can't inspect hard to reach parts of the home, try using binoculars to make the inspection from a safe place. If you still can't get a good look, consider hiring a roofer or handyman to look things over.

 

Cooling/ventilation

Central air conditioning

  • Clear brush and debris from around outside unit
  • Change the system's filters
  • Have a professional conduct a spring tune-up and cleaning
  • Have a professional clean the condenser coil
  • Consider replacing an old, inefficient unit

Window or through-wall air conditioner

  • Remove any winter covers
  • Clean unit
  • Make sure unit is mounted securely and working well

Fans

  • Remove covers and clutter from attic fan opening
  • Uncover and clean kitchen exhaust fans and filters
  • Make sure window exhaust fans are clean, mounted securely, and functioning well
  • Make sure ceiling fans are mounted securely and functioning

Attic ventilation

  • Clear all vents of debris
  • Make sure exhaust fans are oiled, secure, free of debris, and working
  • Make sure all attic vent rodent/bird barriers are in place

 

Plumbing

Outdoor faucets

  • Turn back on
  • Check for leaks
  • Check hoses for leaks
  • Check all faucets for drips

Toilets

  • Are they running continuously?
  • Check for signs of leaks around base
  • Consider installing a new water-efficient model

Leaks

  • Check under sinks for signs of moisture
  • Check ceilings in rooms below bathrooms and kitchens
  • Clean and inspect caulking around shower and tub. If cracked or peeling, or if there are signs of moisture in the room below, replace all caulking

 

Electrical

Outdoor fixtures

  • Make sure they all work
  • Check for rust and insect infestation
  • If not already ground fault protected, have an electrician upgrade either outlets or circuit with ground fault protection
  • Test all existing ground fault protection devices

Indoor outlets, switches, and fixtures

  • Check all outlets with a test lamp
  • Test all switches, replacing light bulbs where necessary

 

Appliances

Refrigerator

  • Vacuum coils under or behind refrigerator
  • Check door gasket by closing door on a dollar bill. If the dollar slips out easily, it's time to replace the gasket

Oven, stove, microwave, dishwasher

  • Thoroughly clean inside and out

Dryer

  • Switch dryer vent to exhaust air outside

Spring cleaning

  • Have chimney and fireplace cleaned and inspected
  • Clean all drapes
  • Clean all carpets and rugs
  • Clean upholstered furniture
  • Have a professional clean furnace and all air vents and ducts
  • Clean all windows and screens

Windows and doors

  • Remove old type removable wooden storm windows for any windows that homeowner wants to be able to open and close
  • Replace broken or inadequate locks and latches
  • Lubricate stiff locks
  • Oil squeaky hinges
  • Check caulking around trim and replace where necessary
  • Check putty around windows. Replace any that is loose or cracked
  • Replace broken or cracked windows
  • Repair or replace torn screens
  • Repair or loosen windows that don't open or close properly

 

Exterior walls

Brick

  • Check joints for crumbling mortar joints
  • Replace damaged bricks
  • Check chimney cap for deterioration

Paint

  • Check for peeling or cracked paint
  • Consider installing maintenance-free siding

Siding and trim

  • Caulk around windows and doors
  • Replace any rotted or soft boards
  • Reset any protruding nails
  • Repair any storm damage

 

Rainwater protection

Grading

  • Make sure ground slopes away from foundation
  • Make sure concrete patios, walks, and drives slope away from foundation

Eavestroughs and downspouts

  • Clean gutters and downspouts
  • Refasten loose gutters
  • Replace bent or rusty gutters
  • Repaint galvanized gutters, if necessary
  • Make sure gutters slope towards downspouts
  • Extend downspout openings to channel water away from foundation

Roof

  • Replace damaged flashing
  • Replace missing shingles
  • Check attic and upper rooms for signs of leaks
  • Replace roof, if necessary
  • Check for shingles buckling, bulging, or falling apart
  • Check to see if granules from the roof are accumulating at downspout openings

Window wells and stairwells

  • Make sure drains are clear
  • Make sure rim is high enough to deflect surface water
  • Install covers where necessary

Basement

  • Check for odour, mildew, discoloration, and other moisture problems
  • Test any existing sump pump

Walks, drives, and patios

  • Caulk all cracks
  • If necessary, reseal driveway
  • Replace badly broken or crumbling slabs
  • Check for crumbling mortar joints between stones or bricks
  • Check for loose railings

 

Yard and garden

Fence

  • Replace rotted posts
  • Repaint or stain, if necessary
  • Check gate hinges and latches

Grass

  • Remove excessive thatch
  • Aerate soil
  • Remove or kill weeds
  • Reseed or re-sod bare patches
  • Fertilize, if necessary
  • Make mowing and trimming arrangements
  • Edge walks and drives

Shrubs and trees

  • Trim branches too close to wires or house. (Be careful!)
  • Prune dead branches
  • Clear walkways
  • Check bark and leaves for signs of disease

Vines

  • Remove from other plants
  • Cut back from house walls
  • Trim back to designated growing areas

Termites

  • Move woodpiles away from house
  • Make sure plants and shrubs don't rub against house
  • Check for mud tunnels, hollow or softwood, and holes in wood

Safety

  • Test smoke detectors and install fresh batteries
  • Make sure house number is readable from street during day and at night
  • Make sure all railings and handholds are secure
  • Make sure all entrances and stairs are well lighted
  • Test all alarms

Other improvements to consider

Homeowners may also want to consider making some of the following improvements to their home:

  • Deck
  • Addition
  • Sunroom
  • Basement remodelling/finishing
  • Kitchen remodelling
  • Bathroom remodelling
  • Bay window
  • Skylights
  • Patio
  • Gazebo
  • Replacement windows

Adapted with permission from a pamphlet written by Home Connections, Inc., a contractor referral service located in Silver Spring, MD, serving the metropolitan Washington, DC area.

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