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Ultimate Spring Maintenance Checklist

With spring around the corner, it’s time to make sure every corner of your home is in tip-top shape. Here’s a checklist of tasks to tackle in the coming days and weeks.

Inside the House

  • Check the basement for water damage: Water can seep in through foundation cracks and other exterior crevices. Check the basement for a musty smell, water stains and damp surfaces. If you find signs of water damage, walk around your house and check for cracks and crevices in the foundation.
  • Inspect and repair sump pump: Before spring showers roll in, test your sump pump and clean out any debris. If your pump runs on electricity, it’s smart to have a backup, battery-powered system for it. In the event of a power outage, you don’t want your sump pit to overflow.
  • Clean range hood: If your range hood is doing its job — venting fumes from your cooking — grease will build-up, and it’s not like you’ll be able to see it. Now’s the perfect time to pull out the filter and soak it in dishwashing detergent or even run it through the dishwasher. Don’t forget to wipe down the inside (and outside) of the hood itself.
  • Clean air-conditioner and HVAC filters: In-wall air conditioners are pretty straightforward: Pull the filter out of the unit and spray it down. For HVAC systems, turn off the system; then locate the service panel to find the filter. If it’s reusable, rinse it, dry it and put it back. If not, replace it.
  • Clean dryer vent and exhaust ducts: Unplug the clothes dryer, disconnect the hose from the vent in the back of the dryer, and clean out the lint from both the hose and the vent using your vacuum cleaner’s crevice tool.
  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: Checking the efficiency of your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors is simple: There’s a button built into the device that you can push to check the battery power and the sensitivity of the detector. Do this once a month.
  • Check fire extinguishers: If you don’t have fire extinguishers in the house, go here to find out which to get and where to get them. If you do, make sure the gauges read 100 percent

Outside the House:

  • Check for signs of termites and other pests: Get outside and check for telltale signs of termites, which can cause serious damage to your home’s infrastructure. If you see insect wings, mud tubes or damage to wood on or around your home, contact a termite professional right away for an evaluation.
  • Inspect and repair siding and peeling paint: Take a walk around the house to assess the entire exterior. Fix or replace damaged siding (or call in a pro to handle it). Strip peeling paint and replace it with a new coat.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts: Get up on a sturdy ladder and clean the gutter system that runs along the perimeter of your roof. Gutters are there to catch water runoff from the roof, but they also catch leaves and other debris that lead to clogs. Also, make sure downspouts are positioned correctly — to direct water away from your house. They should point about six feet away from the side of the house.
  • Locate and fix roof damage: While you’re up near the roof, check for loose or buckling shingles and replace them. If you’re uncomfortable, hire an expert to climb up to get a better look.
  • Fix cracked pavement: Winter’s elements can wreak havoc on concrete. Head to your local home improvement center to buy a concrete repair system.
  • Check for window damage and replace caulking: Check windows from the outside to determine whether there’s any damage to the caulking, which seals out water, air and other elements. If any of it is loose or peeling, remove it and replenish with fresh caulk.
  • Repair and seal the deck: Assess the damage your wooden deck has sustained throughout the winter (snow, ice, rain, cold temperatures). Locate and repair loose nails and screws, loose boards and wobbly stairs and railings. Hose down the deck, let it dry and then protect with a stain or sealer.

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