The snow is melted, the weather is warming up, and you’re ready to get outside. Ahhh….spring! Now that winter is over, it’s a great time to do some home maintenance; keeping up on preventative maintenance is crucial to the value of your home. Doing these small steps prevents big problems in the future!
Sometimes it’s difficult to remember to do preventative maintenance on your rental home; you don’t live there and it’s easy to forget when it’s out of sight, out of mind. So, we’ve created a great checklist of spring maintenance items that you will want to have done around your home, inside and out.
Let’s get started with the checklist:
Check and clean your gutters. Even if you had the gutters cleaned in the fall, it’s a good idea to check them again and clean if needed. You’d be amazed at the leaves and debris that build up over the winter! Since spring usually brings rain to most areas of the country, you want to make sure there’s nothing clogging the downspout and water is running away from the foundation of your home.
Check roof for damage. Winter snowstorms, ice storms, and wind storms can damage your roof. You’ll want to check for any missing or damaged, even curling shingles. If you want to DIY this, get out some binoculars; it’s much safer than getting up on the roof and will give you a close-up look at what’s going on. If you see any damage or are not sure, it’s worth hiring someone from a reputable roofing company to come and do an inspection. Roof damage leads to leaks, which can cause a lot of damage and be costly to repair so it’s best to stay on top of any roof damage.
Clean and repair your screens. Not only are opening windows a great way to cool your home in mild temperatures, it’s great to get fresh air inside the house after having your home closed up all winter! Make sure your screens are clean, so dust doesn’t blow inside your home. Remove the screens and gently scrub on a flat surface with soapy water. Also, patch small holes as needed.
Clean decks, driveway and other outside surfaces. Giving your surface a good cleaning every year helps them last longer and of course increases the curb appeal of your home. To make the job really easy, use a power washer. If you don’t have one, consider renting one with a group of neighbors. It reduces cost and is a great excuse to see what the neighbors have been up to over the winter!
Repair and cracked or peeling paint on your house. A good paint job makes your home look nice, while providing a protective barrier from the elements. Touch-up painting is easy to do and inexpensive.
Clean up your landscaping. Rake up any leftover leaves, remove any dead annuals and prune back the perennials that have new growth at the mulch line. In addition, pulling those weed seedlings while the ground is soft and the weeds are small is a lot easier than waiting until they are established and the ground is hot and dry from the summer sun.
Have your AC unit serviced. Call a professional for this one. Just like you have your HVAC unit serviced in the fall, get your AC unit ready for summer with a professional cleaning. They will come and service the outside unit by cleaning the coils. Again, this keeps your AC unit working more efficiently and saving you and your tenants money in the long run.
Vacuum your refrigerator coils. This is something you might never have thought of doing, but pull your fridge out and use a vacuum cleaner hose or brush on the coils. You’ll find the coils on the bottom or back of your fridge. If they’re covered in dust, your refrigerator is probably working harder and creating a higher electric bill. Less dust is always better for the inside environment, too.
Replace smoke detector batteries. Not much needs to be said about this one; it’s lifesaving so make sure they get changed regularly. Your tenants’ lives could depend on it.
Drain your hot water heater. Like many other items on this list, this item is a great proactive move. If you want to prolong the life of your water heater, and reduce your electric bill, drain your water heater using the spigot near the bottom. This will eliminate the sediment build up which is common for almost all water heaters.
Clean the clothes dryer exhaust duct and space under the dryer. When you or your tenants run the dryer, not all lint actually goes in the filter. Cleaning the lint, dust, and random pieces of Kleenex that get run through the dryer from the duct and under/around the dryer is a necessity! Not only will your dryer run more efficiently and thus save money, a dirty/clogged exhaust duct can be a fire danger and start a house fire. Over 15,000 dryer fires occur in North America every year!
Replace your furnace filter. Some furnace filters need to be changed monthly, while others can last 6 months or so. If you are not sure if your tenants are replacing the filter frequently, spring is just a good time to ensure it’s done. A dirty furnace filter forces your HVAC system to work harder, which in turn costs you or your tenants more money.