The start of each year is a natural time to plan all sorts of things: personal goals, vacation calendars, health care visits, and exterior home maintenance. Start this year off right with a list of simple maintenance tasks for the home. Some may already be routinely accomplished while others might have been neglected for some time. Either way, begin to incorporate these into the annual maintenance of every home for the best regular upkeep.
Check the roofline for icicles when it snows or sleets. As pretty as they look, they can be damaging to the home and lead to foundation water damage when they melt. Remove them right away.
Examine locks and deadbolts on all doors and windows. Replace anything that doesn’t work correctly.
Inspect garage door openers for safety, especially the auto-reverse feature. Federal legislation requires that all residential garage door openers manufactured on or after January 1, 1991 conform to entrapment protection requirements. To ensure your garage doors are still working appropriately, first run the door up and down checking the tracks for damage, any loose or missing hardware, and any unusual noises. Next, with the door fully open, place a 2×4 flat on the floor, centered under the garage door. Close the door, and when it hits the board, it should stop and reverse. If any problems are detected, contact a qualified garage door professional.
Test the sump pump. Before spring rains start in earnest, make sure this important appliance is working correctly.
Check exterior drainage. Ensure that rain water flows away from the house and that puddles do not stand near the home for longer than 24 hours. Check all gutters for loose connections and cleaning. If necessary, add some dirt around the foundation to ensure water flows away from the home.
Clean the garage. At the bare minimum, blowing out dust from the corners and sweeping the floors is necessary at least once a year. Extra credit for re-organizing all the tools and supplies that have been hastily put away over the winter.
Clean windows. See Window Cleaning 101 for detailed instructions on this exterior home maintenance task.
Turn on sprinkler system. Check for adjustments and needed repairs.
Maintain fences. Check wood fences for any areas that need repair or paint/stain touch-up.
Plant annuals and perennials. Plan for color all spring and summer!
Clean air conditioning system. Spray the unit with water to remove dirt and debris. Vacuum coils and wash or replace the air filter.
Clean deck or patio. Both decks and patios can use a good washing every spring. Inspect wood decks for loose boards or posts that might need to be repaired. And wood decks typically need re-staining every two or three years depending on the environment.
Address insect problems. Ants, spiders and fruit flies take advantage of inside spaces all summer, but especially when the weather turns a little colder. Stay on top of the problem with natural or chemical methods.
Check the driveway for cracks. Fill cracks or re-seal driveway as necessary. Small cracks can become big problems after freeze/thaw cycles throughout the winter.
Inspect the roof for damage or leaks. Repair anything that needs attention.
Touch up exterior paint. Check the body of the house for any chipping paint or bare spots. Any exposed areas need to be brushed clean, then touched up with paint to prevent further damage.
Maintain exterior wooden shutters. Check for deterioration of the finish and any plants that may make contact with the finished surface. Visit the Maintain Shutters page for more details about cleaning and spot painting exterior shutters.
Deep clean outdoor grill. Take off the grates and soak off all residual food and grease. Clean outside of grill with soap and water.
Clean outdoor trash and recycling cans. Use soapy water and hose down using strong water pressure. These can attract animals and pests if odor builds up.
Clean the dryer vent. First, vacuum lint from the hose at the dryer. Then run the dryer and check the exterior vent to ensure the exhaust is coming out. If there isn’t much, look for blockages and clear them. If necessary, call a professional.
Repair or replace damaged window screens. Often, these are under manufacturer’s warranty for a long time, so check there first. Otherwise, this is a relatively simple exterior home maintenance fix and improves the look and performance of windows.
Survey trees on property. Look for any limbs interfering with power lines or dead limbs that need to be removed. Some are easy to address, but larger or higher branches may require a professional.
Clean gutters. Using a trowel or gloved hands, remove all buildup of leaves and dirt to ensure water runs effectively.
Trim shrubs around the house. If any plants are dead, remove them. Otherwise, fall is typically a good time to trim shrubs so they don’t get too close to the house or overgrown.
Clean debris from basement window wells. This simple exterior home maintenance task can prevent water damage and rodents from taking up residence near the home.
Rake yard and clean out annuals in the garden. Raking might need to happen all fall as different trees lose leaves at different times.
Shut down outside hoses and water spouts. Drain and remove hoses; insulate outside water spouts so they don’t freeze.
Winterize sprinklers. Blow out all of the lines and shut off water before the ground freezes.
Check for leaks in doors and windows. Ensure your home is tightly insulated before winter winds start coming in. Check all caulking for separations and cracks.
Clean chimney. This one is best left to the professionals.