If you live in the northern hemisphere, spring officially starts on March 21st (give or take a day). This makes March a good time to perform some maintenance checks on your home. After some cold winter months and winter storms, we want to make sure to catch any issues early, and prevent them from becoming major issues. So here is our March home maintenance & cleaning checklist.
This monthly home maintenance checklist is aimed primarily at northern climates, Canada and the northern United States, where home owners are NOT yet ready to enjoy their back yards, but are dreaming of warmer weather to come.
March Home Maintenance Checklist
1) Test Smoke Detectors and Fire extinguisher
This task should be repeated at least quarterly in your home. You should have smoke alarms AND carbon monoxide detectors thruout your home. Smoke detectors should be mounted on or near the ceiling, to activate at the first sign of smoke. These detectors can be hardwired (as they are in most newer-built homes) or purely battery operated (purchased as an add-on for older homes). However BOTH types may contain batteries, which should be replaced at least once a year. Now is a great time to replace all those batteries.
Also check your fire extinguishers to make sure they are clean, easily accessible and ready to go in need of emergency. If you don’t have a family emergency plan in place, create one and test it now.
2) Replace Furnace Filter and Range Hood Filter
Your HVAC system has been working hard keeping your home warm during the winter weather. Now is the perfect time to pull that furnace filter and replace it with a good quality filter. In fact, purchase these in a 3 pack to save some money. Now is also a good time to check your range hood filters. Most likely they are going to be metal filters, and may well be washable. Wash them if possible, or replace them if they are not washable.
3) Test Your Sump Pump
Assuming your home is equipped with a sump pump, right now is the best time to test it. Before warm weather thaws the ground and heavy rains threaten your basement with water damage. If your home has a crawl space, this will be a little tougher. Make sure that your outside sump pump drainage hose is clear of ice, and aimed away from the foundation. Depending on your climate, it might be a good idea to remove the hose, take it inside and let it thaw out.
4) Visually Inspect Your Roof
Spring will bring warmer temps, which can create ice dams on your roof. These are often seen as long icicles hanging from the eaves, but the danger lurks beneath. The ice dams hold back the melting water, causing it to back up underneath your shingles, eventually dripping into your home’s interior. Ice dams are also an indication of poorly insulated attics and should be addressed at your first opportunity. If you see the formation of a dam, the best way is to try some snow-melting ice-pucks to open drainage channels, allowing the water to run off the roof.
If possible, also visually inspect the condition of your shingles. Check to see if there are any missing shingles as well. This should be a regular maintenance as most home insurance will not cover interior water damage caused by aging, ineffective shingles. When you find such issues, call a qualified roofer asap.
5) Check Plumbing Leaks
This is a good time to check under all sinks and toilets and also around the water heater for any evidence of leakage. Check your dishwasher, washing machine and around your water meter as well. A very slow leak, if left unaddressed, will become a larger problem and affect the value of your home.
6) Check And Clean Dryer Vent
From the outside of your home, check the dryer vent to make sure its free of debris or lint. A blocked vent will affect the efficiency of your dryer, and in extreme cases, cause it to overheat.
7) Inspect Walkways and Driveways
March and spring time in general, brings a continuing thraw-freeze cycle which is very hard on your driveway and concrete walkways. Small cracks allow melt-water to seep in, which then freezes overnight. As it freezes, the water expands and opens those cracks up a little more, which allows MORE water to enter the next day…..and so on.
If temperatures allow, fill those cracks with the proper drive-way fillers, preventing any standing water from seeping into those cracks.
8) Inspect Your Foundation
Start at the exterior of your home, walk around the foundation to check for any cracks. Shifting grounds in winter time are not a friend to concrete structures. You want to be able to catch any foundation issues as early as possible. If you find such cracks, you might consider calling a professional service to help with this.
Also check any exposed concrete foundation walls on the inside of your home for similar cracking. As with driveways, small cracks can turn into larger ones. Even a small water leak can be an expensive issue. Water stains running down the side of your interior foundation are a tell-tale sign that should not be ignored.
The above are a list of maintenance tasks for your home. What follows are a to-do list of suggested spring cleaning tasks.
March Home Cleaning Checklist
9) Clean Ducts And Heating Vents
Your furnace has been going for several months. The next time you are vacuuming your floors, pay special attention to the duct-vent covers. Lift them out and check the underside: you’ll probably we amazed at the accumulated dust bunnies here. This is also a reminder to check your bathroom vents. These collect dust thruout the winter months and could use a good cleaning. Good time to stick that vacuum hose underneath your fridge and stove to clean up those bunnies as well.
10) Clean Your Windows
Good time to clean at least the inside of your windows. If you are living in a northern climate, it might be too cold to clean the outside yet. Check the inside window sills for damage at this time, which could indicate either water infiltration, or excessive window sweating during the winter months. If you took off the screens in the late fall, now might be a good opportunity to install those clean window screens and get ready for warmer months.
11) Declog Shower Heads
Remove the shower heads and tap-screens and let them soak in a cleaning solution such as CLR or similar. Calcium buildup inhibits the flow of water of time, so cleaning these will improve the shower experience.
12) Declutter Your Winter Stuff
Depending on your climate, early spring might also be the time to store all those ‘winter layers’ of clothing. Put away the winter boots, jackets and other winter items and bring out your spring shoes and clothes. Not having to look at those heavy parkas will have a positive effect on your mental health as well. A fresh start to a new season.
13) Deep Clean Those Carpets
Winter boots bring in dirt and salt. Rent a steam cleaner from your local Walmart, Home Depot or Lowes, and super-clean the carpets. While this is something you CAN do yourself, hiring a pro might not be all that much more expensive, and saves you time from running back and forth to the rental stores.
Home ownership does come with certain responsibilities. As a real estate agent, I can assure you that a well maintained home retains its value much better than one that is neglected. This is why I’ve created a month-by-month checklist (this is actually the first in a line of monthly maintenance tips list).
Bonus: Here is a neat video with home repair hacks that can come in handy
Download and Print Your March Home Maintenance Checklist
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