Updated: Feb 8
Spring has Sprung! Ah, the telltale signs of spring: trees in bloom, warmer weather, allergies flaring—and a long list of chores to tackle around the house. Before you pause to savor the sunnier days, it’s important to make sure your home is ready for the season. Here’s what experts say you need to include on your spring home maintenance checklist.
Spruce up the yard
One thing that our home inspectors call out in their reports are trees and bushes that are too close to the house or power lines. These trees can pose risks, including easy access for rodent to your roof, attic vents, infestation of bugs and erosion of foundations and driveways from the tree roots. Plus, here in the Bay Area, heavy winds could bring a tree down on your home or power line.
DIY: Pick a pleasant day, head outside, and get to work. Or...
Call in the pros: While it’s perfectly safe to take on some pruning, more extreme tree maintenance is best left to the pros.
Spring a good time to schedule annual tree inspections with a certified arborist. Especially for heritage oaks and certain types of pine trees that have a life span of approx. 30-40 years then begin to lose their major branches or die. The drought has also added to stress on trees' root systems thirsty for water.
Check for leaks and water damage
This is a great time to check for water damage around your home and prevent small leaks from growing into major headaches.
DIY: Walk around the house, and check the rubber seals or metal flashings around vents, flues, and chimneys. We also recommend checking the crawlspace for any bathroom leaks, which we see in 30% of our home inspections.
You should also check window seals to see if any need to be replaced. Look for dampness around the edges of windows and cracking, both possible signs window seals may be deteriorating. You want to avoid water damage that could lead to mild or mildew.
Call in the pros: If you catch a leak, it’s a good idea to call in reinforcements.
If your windows are still under warranty, you should be able to get busted seals fixed for free. Otherwise, you may be better off buying a replacement window.
Deep-clean your carpeting
OK, Covid kept us indoors much more over the winter than usual––and all that time indoors is taking a toll on the carpet. Deep-cleaning your carpets is a home maintenance task that might be more popular this year than others, with homes doubling as offices, classrooms and rec rooms.
Call in the pros: Renting a carpet cleaning machine from the hardware store is one option, yet they often leave a sticky residue that attracts even more soil and aren't as powerful as professional equipment! Hire a professional that can pretreat, sanitize and deep clean. And, don't forget your area rugs.
Our carpet cleaning companies suggest cleaning every 6-12 months. (Did you know, wall to wall carpets are made to last approx. 7 years?)
Replace fire extinguishers
Spring is a good time to check the fire extinguisher(s) in your house. (Let's be honest. Have you EVER checked them? Do you even know where they are?) Experts recommend fire extinguishers be replaced every 10 to 15 years, as they tend to lose their charge.
DIY: Check the tag that shows the last time the extinguisher received maintenance, and inspect the gauge to make sure it’s in the green.
Flush your water heater
If you have not been flushing your water heater yearly, now is a great time to start as sediment can build up at the bottom. Over time, this gunk builds up in the water heater, and you need to flush it out periodically to keep it running smoothly.
DIY: Handy homeowners can tackle this task on their own within a few hours. (YouTube?)
Call in the pros: You can hire a plumber to handle it for about $100.
Check or Change your Smoke Detector/Carbon Monoxide Batteries
If your smoke alarms are powered by a nine-volt battery, the battery should be replaced every 6 months, while the alarm itself should be replaced once every 10 years. For 10-year lithium-powered smoke alarms, you won't need to replace the battery. Instead, replace the entire alarm after 10 years have passed.
If your carbon monoxide alarm has replaceable batteries, they should be changed at least every 6 months. Although you replace your batteries, carbon monoxide alarms don't last forever. They have a lifetime of anywhere between 5 to 7 years, but it is important to check the specific product for lifetime.
DIY: Why not use Memorial Day and Labor Day as reminders to change batteries and filters?
Call in the pros: Most Rotary Clubs and local Villages (v2vnetwork.org) offer free service to do this, along with change hard to reach light bulbs. Also, an easy handyman job.
If you need references for a great, local pro for any of the above jobs, just give us a ring! The Dayna Wilson Real Estate Team has some good recommendations to share.