Spring hasn’t exactly sprung just yet, but it’s not far away — and we’re fast approaching the annual time switch for Daylight Savings. Come March 14, 2021, it will be time to nudge those clocks forward an hour so we can take advantage of those beautiful growing daylight hours.

This is also the ideal time to start checking some annual home maintenance chores off your to-do list. This year, we’re making it easy by laying out a plan you can use.

1. Do a Full Exterior Inspection of Your Home

We’ve had some pretty rough weather hit all around the country this year, so you’d be remiss if you didn’t do a careful walk-around on your property. Winter can take a big toll on nearly every aspect of your home’s exterior.

Here’s what you need to inspect:

  • Your Roof: There’s no need to haul out a ladder and climb up to look for trouble. If there’s a big issue, you’ll probably be able to see it from the ground. Stand back from your home and look for lifted shingles (like raised eyebrows peeking at you), gaps in your shingles where any have torn away and obvious cracks.
  • Your Siding: Look for tiny cracks, bare spots and openings in your wood, stucco or vinyl siding. Those are clear signs of disrepair that can leave room for all sorts of pests (like mice, woodpeckers, ants and bees) to make your happy home their new abode.
  • Your Gutters and Eaves: While you’re checking out the siding, look for water stains near your gutter downspouts and eaves. That’s a sign that your gutters may have shifted slightly and are no longer doing their job at handling runoff from your roof.
  • Your Windows: Your caulking and weather stripping may have lifted or deteriorated over the winter months, and that seal is an essential guard against both water and air leaks. If you have double-paned windows, condensation inside the glass indicates a problem with the seal or glass and they may need to be replaced.
  • Your Retaining Walls: The freezes and thaws of winter can wreak havoc on any retaining walls you have, particularly those made from less-forgiving materials like concrete or stone. Look for shifts in the lines and bulges that are starting to show.
  • Your Driveway: Check for cracks that may have formed over winter in your driveway’s surface. Repairing those early — before they become major holes — can save you a lot of money and hassle down the line.
  • Your Outbuildings: Sheds, pergolas and storage units on your property may have developed leaks over the winter, so give them all a careful look. Repair any obvious problems but look for dampness where it shouldn’t be as a sign of further trouble.

Finally, take a stroll through your yard and give your plants a good look. It may be difficult right now to determine what is just freeze-damaged and dormant and what may have died, and now isn’t the time to take action. It is a good time, however, to take note of the plants that may need to be watched for signs of life by mid-spring.

2. Do Some Routine Tasks and Check on Your Home’s Interior

Certain household tasks should become part of your twice-yearly routine around the Daylight Savings time switches. Here are the primary ones you need to remember:

  • Check Your Smoke Alarms: This should be part of your annual check to make sure that your smoke alarms are in good working order. Replace the batteries in all of your alarms now — unless any of the alarms are 10 years old or older. If they are, replace those smoke alarms completely.
  • Clean Your Appliances: Dirty filters equal a dirty, allergen-filled home, and nobody wants to live with that. Checking your HVAC filters and replacing them, as needed, should be an automatic, but don’t forget things like your vacuum cleaners, refrigerator water filter, dishwater filter, dryer filter and vent, humidifier filters and any air purifiers.
  • Drain Your Water Heater: Sedimiment from impurities can gather in your water heater and both reduce its efficiency and lifespan. Flushing the system at least once a year is optimal (although you may need to do it more often if you have hard water).
  • Clean Your Coffee Pot and Microwave: These are probably the two most-used appliances in your home, and they may be neglected in the daily rush. A vinegar solution can work wonders to restore your coffee pot’s former glory. You can use a similar trick on your microwave to get it quickly back into shape and preserve its longevity.
  • Get Your Carpets Cleaned: After all the snow, ice and salt that may have been tracked into your home over the winter — and just the problems associated with allergen build-up over the winter while the house is shut tight — this is an excellent time to think about having a professional cleaner tackle the carpets.

Finally, there’s one last thing you need to remember: Change your clocks!

In today’s digital world, your computer, phone and other wired items should change automatically, but you can end up in a world of confusion if the clock on your stove, wall, microwave and coffee pot don’t update correctly.

Whether this is the year you plan to sell your home or you plan to keep living there for the next 20 years, these are definitely items that need to make it into your plans.

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