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Neighbors of Kane County

Keep your home in top condition

Feb 24, 2017 11:38AM ● By Neighbors Magazines

by Toby Petrie

While this has been a fairly mild winter, if you’re like me you may still be suffering from a little spring fever. In preparation for robins and tulips and all that, here’s a quick spring home maintenance checklist to help keep your home in tip top condition:


Walk around the exterior of your home:

• Check the roof for any loose or damaged shingles. (It’s not necessary to climb on the roof. Cheap binoculars from the ground will do just fine.)

• Check for damaged bricks or masonry at chimneys and exterior cladding.

• Gutters should slope toward and be connected to downspouts. Downspouts should extend away from the building to divert storm water away from the foundation. This is a common cause of basement seepage. Also, gutters should be cleaned in the spring and again in the fall. (Again, if you’re not comfortable on a ladder, there are plenty of companies who can help.)

• Visually check for loose sections of soffit, fascia, siding, areas of peeling paint or deteriorated wood.

• Check the dryer vent cover and remove any built up lint.

• Check that the ground, sidewalks, patios and driveways all slope away from the building. (This is another common cause of basement seepage.)

• Check for any splintered or deteriorated wood deck boards.

• Clear any vegetation from around the exterior air conditioning unit. (Not a bad time to consider a professional preventative maintenance service for the unit, as well.)


Now to the interior of the building:

• Replace batteries in smoke detectors and CO detectors.

• Replace the furnace filter (depending on the type of filter, this item may require more frequent replacement).

• Clean the dryer vent duct. The duct can usually be disconnected from the back of the dryer, then shake the lint loose and vacuum.

• Vacuum the refrigerator coils (at the back of the fridge)

• Test any GFCI electrical receptacles by pressing the “test” button, then pressing the “reset” button.

• Test any sump pumps by following manufacturer’s testing instructions.

• Check interior basement and crawlspace walls for any indication of leaks.

• Shine a flashlight into the attic to check for roof leaks.

With a little attention and a little preventative maintenance, you may be able to identify and address problem areas before they develop into potential costly repairs.

Finally, in answer to a question we hear from time to time, “Can you recommend a contractor for…?” Unfortunately, the answer is “No.” This would be a potential conflict of interest and highly unethical, at the very least. Fortunately, there are many, great online sources for referrals including Yelp, and, or check with the Batavia Chamber of Commerce.

Feel free to contact the Community Development Department at 630-454-2700 if you have any questions. Have a wonderful spring!

Toby Petrie is a City of Batavia building inspector