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As the Seasons Turn: Ideas for Seasonal Home Maintenance

Many homeowners spend time each season preparing for the weather that’s coming right around the corner. They work on their garden during spring so that blooms are at their best during summer, or they double-check their furnace and insulation before the cold winter sets in. Whether you have pressing tasks to take care of (such as replacing or upgrading major home systems) or are simply interested in organizing your home maintenance chores, here are some recommendations for what to do and when:

Spring cleaning

Outside, examine your home’s structure to make sure no damage occurred in winter. Check the roof for signs of moss, cracks or wear. Treat wood surfaces (such as decks and stairs) for splintering, cracks or rotting and replaced raised or broken nails. Remove and repair storm windows and insulation, and repair and hang window screens. Finally, examine and touch up exterior paint and plant new bulbs and move plants protected indoors during winter’s freeze back out to the garden. Inside, make sure all windows operate correctly and that air conditioning and ventilation systems are functioning properly.

Summer fixes

Outside, many homeowners spend summer power-washing, sealing, and refinishing outdoor structures (such as decks or outbuildings). Many homeowners also lubricate doors, locks, sliding-glass doors, garage doors and window casings to prepare for swelling that can take place in hot and humid climates. While you’re at it, you might want to service lawn mowers or lubricate push mowers, and sharpen garden tools. Summer is also a good season for patching concrete, and repairing asphalt or cement patios and sidewalks. Inside, repair caulking around bathroom appliances and kitchen counters. Also check that your home ventilation and insulation are working properly. Double-check and spray for pests. And if you’re planning to hire contractors for major remodeling, consider doing it in the summer when long days and dry warm weather make construction conditions favorable in many climates.

Fall preparations

Inside, you’ll want to clean your fireplace and chimney and also arrange for a comprehensive servicing of your heating system and/or furnace. If you use humidifiers or space heaters you’ll also want to clean them and check them for safety. This is a good time to replace smoke and fire alarm batteries, clean any ceiling fans used in warm months, and also clean air ducts and pipes within the home. Caulk windows and surfaces within the bathroom if you didn’t get around to it during summer. Outside, double-check or replace weather-stripping around doors. To prepare your garden for winter, trim or cover plants or bring them indoors. Clean gutters and your roof’s surface.

Winter work

While it’s cold and dark outside, many homeowners focus on sprucing up their interior during winter. Winter is a good time for interior painting, dry cleaning or professionally cleaning drapes and carpeting, and replacing fire extinguishers or alarm systems. You’ll also want to check your home’s heating system once you’ve begun using it heavily, and include a test for carbon monoxide (which can be released from some older furnaces if engines or other parts are beginning to crack from wear). If your home is cold or drafty, study the source of air leaks and consider caulking or bolstering existing insulation. Outside, be sure to protect your faucets from freezing and examine pipes in cold areas of the home or yard as well. Be sure to check your roof periodically to prevent ice buildup.