The ultimate spring cleaning checklist
Once the trees begin to bud and temperatures begin to rise, it’s time to start thinking about preparing your home for spring.
Proper maintenance is essential to looking after your property so you can protect what is likely your largest investment. General upkeep is one of the most important things you can do as a homeowner. It helps maintain the value of your home, identifies any issues before they become expensive problems, improves the appearance of your home and protects it against weather, insects and wildlife.
The good news is many of the tasks don’t take long and when maintenance is done on a regular basis it ends up taking less of your time. They all don’t have to be done in one day either. To make things easier, here’s a list of some of the most important things to ensure you can enjoy the warmer months ahead.
ON THE INSIDE
1) Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors - Replace the batteries. It only take minutes and could save your life!
2) Change the air conditioner filter - While you might not need to use it yet, you will. Better to ensure your AC is in working order now. Check all the connections and have it serviced if necessary.
3) Inspect the attic - Look for leaks and at the condition of your insulation. You’ll want to make sure there are no signs of mould, mice or other wildlife that have made your house their home.
4) Inspect the basement - Look carefully for cracks in cement walls or signs of water damage. Check basement windows for any signs of mould, leaks or pests. If you find mould deal with it immediately – it’s a health hazard. If it’s in a large area, call in the professionals. Other things to check include washing machine hoses, the dryer exhaust (vacuum the lint) and if the sump pump is functioning properly.
5) Drain or flush the water heater - Normally every six months should suffice, but flushing your hot water heater could be necessary as often as every few months depending on the mineral content of your water supply.
6) Inspect sink, shower, and bath caulking - Deterioration invites the development of mould. Remove and recaulk if necessary.
7) Reduce clutter - Spring is a great time to eliminate things that may have built up over the winter. Box up and donate unwanted items.
ON THE OUTSIDE
There’s lots to do on the outside in spring but remember it doesn’t all have to get done in one day. One thing is for sure, the fresh air will feel good!
1) Check the roof – Look for missing, loose or damaged shingles and leaks. Damage to your roof can cause problems in other areas. Consult a professional if you need repairs.
2) Remove leaves/debris from gutters and downspouts – Patch any holes with exterior grade caulking. Blockage can cause water damage to your home. Check that downspouts are directing water away from the foundation.
3) Inspect the foundation – Check for cracks and inspect exterior walls, siding and brick for damage. Consult a professional if you identify problems.
4) Repair or replace caulking and weather stripping – Check around windows, doors, and mechanicals. Cold weather can cause cracks or harden the caulk. Make necessary repairs. This simple task can help you save on your heating and cooling bills.
5) Clean window and door screens – Replace any that are broken and damaged. Wash windows.
6) Inspect the chimney for damage or blockages – Consult a professional for repairs.
7) Look for damage to sidewalks and driveways – The freeze thaw cycle can cause heaving – a tripping hazard – and cracks. Repair as necessary.
IN THE YARD
Outdoor living is a lot more pleasant when these tasks are done. Whether you are barbecuing, gardening or socializing, it’s a lot more pleasant when the spring cleaning is done.
1) Prepare the beds and trees – Take a walk through the garden. Clean out leaves and debris. If branches are growing too close to the house, consult an arborist. Now is the time to trim trees.
2) Treat your lawn – Thatch, aerate, seed and feed your lawn with a product that fertilizes and inhibits weed growth.
3) Inspect fences and decks – Look for split boards and pest damage. Repair as necessary and, if required, refinish the deck.
4) Clean/sharpen tools – Change the engine oil on your lawnmower and sharpen the blade as well as your garden tools so you’re ready for the season.
5) Remove the insulation from outdoor faucets – Turn the water back on, check for leaks and check sprinkler heads.
6) Clean/inspect BBQ – While it can be a messy job, your food will taste much better! Replace propane tank if necessary.
7) Clean outdoor furniture – Get it out of storage so you can enjoy that first beautiful day!
8) Check outdoor lights/motion sensors – Replace light bulbs with energy efficient ones.
DEEP CLEANING TIPS
Spring is the season to do the deep-cleaning tasks you might not get to on a regular basis. This combats dust, mites and other allergens.
1) Move and vacuum under furniture – It’s a good idea to vacuum upholstered chairs and your mattress too!
2) Wash windows – Do it on a cloudy day and it will help avoid streaks. A solution of vinegar and a drop of dish soap will get the job done.
3) Clean patio door tracks – Scrub the tracks with an old, dry toothbrush to loosen debris, then use your vacuum hose to remove it. Finish with a wet sponge.
4) Give baseboards/walls a bath – Surfaces like this get dusty too.
5) Freshen up window treatments – If you can wash the drapes, do so. If not, put them in dryer on low with a fabric softener sheet. Clean vinyl blinds with a damp cloth.
6) Clean behind and inside appliances – Show your stove and fridge some love! Take this opportunity to toss any expired condiments before the barbecue season begins.
7) Dust fans and light fixtures – Replace any burnt out bulbs with more energy efficient ones.
8) Rent a carpet cleaner – If you have wall-to-wall carpet, this is the best option. If you have small area rugs, wash them or send them to the cleaners.
Finally, it’s also a good idea to incorporate a review of your home insurance policy into your spring cleaning regimen to make sure nothing has changed, and coverage is what you require. Talk to your broker if you have questions or need to make changes.