I can write a home-maintenance checklist as long as my arm, and there are 100 checklists like that out there for the super ambitious. Most of us, however, look at those lists, get overwhelmed and say forget it. Home maintenance is never totally done. You can always add one more thing to the list, but here’s an easy one with the bare essentials that you can tackle in a Saturday before you have friends over and fire up the grill.
The goal of spring maintenance is to get your home ready for the big rainstorms, set your yard up for easy summer maintenance, and prolong the life and performance of your major systems.
Getting your yard ready
Putting effort into your landscaping in the spring will drastically improve curb appeal and reduce the work you have to do over the summer.
· Rake it: Even if you raked well in the fall, debris builds up in your lawn over the winter. Leaves, sticks, bits of trash, dead grass and weeds are sitting on the scalp on your lawn. A quick raking removes them and slightly loosens the top layer of soil to help the seed you put down in the fall to germinate. A strong lawn is the best defense against weeds.
Fertilize: There’s a race going on in your yard right now between your grass and the weeds. New grass will only germinate when the average temperature is below 85 degrees. Weeds will grow all summer, so give your grass as much head start as you can. Make sure not to over-fertilize. Your lawn will look great in spring, but it will suffer come summer.
· Lawn mower maintenance: Sharpen your lawn mower blade. It doesn’t have to be crazy. I use a belt sander and get it like a razor blade, but you can just take a general-purpose file and knock off the dings from the sticks and rocks you hit last year. A sharp blade makes a clean cut, which reduces stress on your grass. It’s also a good time to check the oil and change the air filter.
· NOTE: Don’t cut grass too short. Raise the blade on your lawn mower. I know you might think that cutting the grass shorter will give you more time until the next cut is needed, but it shocks and weakens your grass.
· Get your mulch on: Get that mulch down now before the weeds start, and you won’t need to pull weeds later.
· Trim bushes and trees: Early spring is a good time to trim most of your trees and bushes. At the very least, make sure that your shrubbery is trimmed away from your home.
· Firewood: Pitch firewood that is rotten and moldy. Make sure your firewood pile is 12 to 18 inches off the ground and at least two feet away from your home.
Check your drainage
Tis the season for flooded basements. Before the next big rain do these things.
· Check your gutters: Every list says to check your roof and gutters, but if you have a two-story home, you’re probably not going to get a 40-foot ladder and climb up into peril. But, at the very least, take the time to go out in the next rainstorm and make sure your gutters are draining properly. Make sure water is not flowing over the side or pouring out of any seams. If you see this, then you definitely need to get up on a ladder and clean your gutters.
· Fill low spots: When you’re applying that mulch check, make sure low spots haven’t developed around your home’s foundation. Once you put mulch down, you might not see the standing water. Take some fill dirt and compact it in the low spots. Look specifically at your gutter downspouts to make sure your extenders are in place and that the water has not dug out a depression.
A little love for your major systems
· HVAC: It’s always a good idea to have your system inspected by a professional a couple of times of year. If you don’t want to do that, at least make sure to replace the air filter. This will reduce a lot of stress on your system and cut the amount of spring pollen floating around your home. Also, take a quick look at your exterior air compressor. If it has sunk and settled or if the wiring looks damaged or the insulation on the lines is coming off, you might want to splurge on a professional inspection.
· Refrigerator: I don’t see this on many lists, but I’ve learned that you need to pull your fridge out a couple of times a year and clean the vents on the back. Modern refrigerators are expensive, complicated and they need more attention and love that their ancestors did. If your fridge can’t breathe right, it puts a lot of stress on the systems and that reduces its life expectancy.
SOURCE: Washington Post