Following is a short to-do list of items that you can check during spring cleaning to help maintain your home.
Gutters and downspouts
Your roof rainwater management system helps preserve the building by preventing splashback damage to the lower walls and avoids water entry into below-ground areas. Remove any leaves and debris from gutters/leaders that have accumulated since the fall cleaning. Strainers should be used at gutter drains to prevent leaf/debris buildup in leaders. Reattach gutters/leaders that have disconnected so they’re ready for spring rains. Seal any leaks that you observed during a rain storm by caulking gutters from inside after they’re clean and dry.
Clean siding using a broomstick brush with soap and water. Rinse with a garden hose sprayer. Use of a pressure washer should be minimized or avoided, as it can drive water into walls where latent vulnerabilities exist. Painted surfaces can be touched up by filling, sanding and painting where needed.
Replace caulking where cracked or deteriorated. Remove old caulk prior to recaulking.
Window and door screens
Clean insect screens by removing and hosing down. Check for holes. Local hardware stores and glazing shops can replace torn screens inexpensively.
Inspect roof surface and flashings for damages. Even if the roof is not walking-friendly, you can see everything you need to see while standing on the ladder at the edge of the roof (while always observing the rules of ladder safety!). Renew cracked tar, if any. Check chimney for masonry cracks that could allow water entry into the chimney and repair as needed. Contact a roofer if needed repairs are outside your comfort level.
Check deck floorboards and railings for deterioration. Small areas of rot can be hollowed, filled and sanded. Larger areas should be replaced. Uncovered decks typically should be treated every 4-6 years, depending on how much exposure they get to sun and rain. Test all guards rails and hand rails for tightness and tighten any that are loose.
Prune back vegetation where needed and maintain a gap of 6 – 12 inches between all foliage and the house. Spring is a good time of year to prune overhanging trees. Hire a landscaper (who has appropriate insurance!) for branch pruning that is beyond your comfort level, or where property damage could occur from falling branches.
Lawn Irrigation Sprinklers
Sprinkler service companies can optimize your system to ensure full coverage with minimum usage of water.
Cooling season will be upon us quickly enough. Check your exterior condensing units for buildup of leaves inside and make sure that side coils are free of debris blockage. Clean them as needed. Trim back any foliage encroaching upon them, as that can affect cooling performance. Make sure that gutter-bound condensate drains pipes (from air handlers in the attic) are not blocked and can drain freely. Many HVAC companies offer a spring startup service in lieu of doing it yourself.