Most of our Spring Home Maintenance Checklist can be performed by the homeowner except for the Pest Control Category. Spring is the time of year that wildlife is most active and this is especially true of wood-destroying insects, rodents, ticks, and other pests. Entering into service agreements with Pest Control specialists, HVAC contractors, Well contractors, Landscapers, and other professionals can make our honey-do lists much shorter! For those of us that want to save money and do it ourselves, we will have to acquire new equipment and learn new skills.
SPRING HOME MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST
Pest control treatment can sometimes contain dangerous chemicals and requires special application equipment, knowledge, personal protective equipment, and other protective measures. For these reasons, pest control is best left to a professional.
Carpenter bees are very common in our area and can cause expensive damage to siding/trim/decks/framing and other wood surfaces– they are especially active in the Spring. Spray treatment of decks and roof-framing areas once or twice a year will prevent carpenter bee damage over the long term.
Woodpeckers are federally protected and should not be shot, poisoned, or otherwise harmed. When woodpeckers are pecking at the siding/trim they are often seeking out the larvae of other wood-destroying insects. Regular treatment of carpenter bees and other wood-destroying insects can help prevent woodpecker damage over the long term.
Houses near wooded areas and/or tall grass should consider treating boundary areas for ticks Some ticks are carriers for Lyme disease and many co-infections. Lyme Disease carrying ticks are present in Western North Carolina and steps should be taken to protect yourself, your family, and your pets. If you ever see a bulls-eye rash please see a doctor right away as this could indicate a bite by a Lyme-carrying deer tick.
Openings at attics and crawl spaces should be sealed to prevent infestation. Regular prevention is needed especially near wooded areas or second homes
Termites, Old House Borers, Carpenter Ants, Powder Post Beetles, etc.
Houses with wood framing, siding, and trim should be regularly treated/evaluated by a pest control company to prevent infestation by wood-destroying insects
Service Heating and Cooling System(s):
Schedule servicing of the cooling equipment before the hotter months with a Licensed HVAC company. Regular maintenance can extend the life expectancy of the equipment and help prevent disruption of service.
Inspect Exterior Grading, Gutters, and Downspouts:
Downspouts should be properly secured and connected to the sub-surface drains or other drainage systems to prevent leaks and overflow. Gutters should be clean and it should be verified that they do not overflow or leak. Check the grading of the soil and hard surfaces to ensure they are draining away from the home in all areas. Make sure holes have not opened up in the yard during the colder months. Check for drainage paths that could be leading under buildings, landscaping, walkways, or driveways.
Maintain Vegetation Near Home:
Small trees, shrubs, vines, and weeds should be cleared around the perimeter of the home to prevent damage. An arborist should be consulted every 3-5 years to trim or remove dead/dying trees or larger branches.
Reverse Direction of Ceiling Fans (and clean):
As the weather becomes warmer switch the fan direction to counterclockwise to direct warm air upward and to keep the home more comfortable. Make sure the blades are free of dust and debris.
Visually Inspect Roof:
Visually inspect the roof from the ground for any sagging, missing shingles, or loose materials.
Check Main Water Shut-off:
Check the main water shut-off to make sure it functions properly to prevent water damage to the home in case of an emergency. Take the time to review the location and operation with all members of the home. We recommend replacing butterfly/gate valves with ball valve shut-offs as ball valve shut-offs or more reliable over the long term.
Check Doors, Windows, and Screens:
Some households use storm windows during the Winter. Storm windows should be removed and screens should be installed. Windows, doors, and screens should be maintained to prevent energy loss and pest entry. Make sure they are able to open and close correctly, are free of holes/cracks, and properly seal to the framing. Check the locking mechanisms for proper function.
Check and Clean Bathroom exhaust fans/attic fans:
Fans should be kept clean and in good working order to ensure proper operation and sanitary conditions.
Swimming Pools and Hot Tub Maintenance:
Schedule a professional service to check and service the pool and/or hot tub as well as the pump and filter equipment then add needed chemicals and water to the correct level to open the pool/hot tub after the last freeze of the year.
SEASONAL HOME MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST
Replace Water Sediment Filter:
Water sediment filters prevent silt from clogging and damaging the plumbing lines and fixtures. Commonly found in homes for well systems, these are becoming more common in homes with municipal water as they help prevent clogging/sediment in the lines when the municipal lines are being repaired/replaced. Follow the directions given with the filter installation or call a specialist for maintenance.
Clean Faucet Aerators:
Faucet aerators are the small mesh screens at the end of a faucet– they catch small particles that slip through sediment filters as well as reduce the flow coming from the faucet to prevent excessive splashing. The aerators for sinks can become clogged with sediment (well systems or municipal water) The aerators should be removed (sometimes a key is required) and cleaned as needed.
Replace HVAC/Furnace filters:
Through time, filters will clog with dust, dirt, and grime, making your system work harder and less efficiently. Dirty filters can also cause bad odors and unsanitary conditions. It is recommended to upgrade 1″ filters to 4 or 5″ media filters over the long term for better convenience, energy efficiency, and filtration.
Inspect for Plumbing Leaks:
Inspect sink cabinets and around tubs/showers/toilets for evidence of a leak. Inspect the Water Heater area for leaks and the indoor Heating/Cooling equipment for condensate leaks. A small leak can escalate into catastrophic damage if unchecked. Contact a plumber for repairs as needed.
Test GFCI outlets and breakers:
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets help prevent electrical hazards near plumbing fixtures or other sources of water by cutting power in the event of a ground fault. To test the outlet just press the test button in the middle of the outlet. If the test does not reset, contact an electrician for repair.
MONTHLY HOME MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST
Maintain Plumbing Drains, Dishwashers, and Washing Machines:
Clean garbage disposal (if there is one). Unclog sink/tub/shower drains. Clean dishwasher and washing machine (Clean cycles, tablets, enzyme packets, and home remedies can be used like vinegar and baking soda). Refer to the owner’s manual of each appliance for more information.
Test Smoke and CO detectors:
The USFA recommends testing the alarms monthly. Smoke Detectors are the most important item in your home when it comes to your family’s safety, these help to alert you and your family to fire and dangerous smoke while there is still time to evacuate. These detectors should be replaced every ten years. Carbon Monoxide (CO) is produced when carbon-containing fuels (such as coal, oil, kerosene, and natural gas) are burned. CO inhibits the blood’s ability to carry oxygen to body tissues thus these detectors should be installed and maintained so that the alarm can be triggered by any fuel-burning appliance such as gas cookers, boilers, and ovens that are emitting CO. These detectors should be replaced every ten years.
Inspect Fire Extinguishers:
The NFPA recommends inspecting fire extinguishers monthly. Extinguishers help control small fires– especially kitchen fires. Make sure the extinguisher is accessible and charged. Contact your local fire department for further instructions on how to maintain fire extinguishers. In many cases, the fire department will be glad to give instructions and inspect the extinguishers in your home.