Garage cleaning is one of those seasonal chores every homeowner does with the arrival of spring. As the snow thaws and the flowers bloom, it’s time to emerge from hibernation and get the garage and its contents ready for another active year.
In this checklist we cover the five basic things you need to maintain as part of your spring routine:
- The garage structure itself
- The garage door
- Garage equipment
Let’s get started.
The whole purpose of a garage is to protect your vehicles and other belongings from the outdoor elements and extreme temperatures. When these forces find their way into your garage, then its whole purpose becomes moot. Worse, if the garage is an extension of your house, then any defects may affect the whole structure or foundation of your residence.
Check the following:
Entry points and windows
- Check the door, lock mechanisms, and hinges for signs of wear, rust or inadequate lubrication
- If there are windows, check the panes for cracks or defects.
- Make sure the weatherstripping is supple, snug and unaffected after the winter.
Walls and foundation
- Inspect the walls for signs of cracks, peeling, or discoloration.
- Corners and areas where the roof meets the walls are more susceptible to damage and should be checked closely.
- Watch for moisture, water stains, or mold, which indicate a leak that needs to be plugged.
- Ensure the air sealing is intact to stop the elements and critters from creeping into the garage.
- Cracks or damage on the garage floor, even if it’s made of concrete, can compromise the foundation over time.
- While cleaning and vacuuming the floor, watch for puddles or water stains that indicate a leak.
- Now is also a good time to check for oil stains, which could signal a problem with your vehicle if it leaks fluids during prolonged storage.
- During the winter, common pests that tend to invade garages include rats, squirrels, bats, and racoons.
- The warmer months may see an infestation of bees, wasps, cockroaches, moths, or spiders.
- Be alert for odd smells and animal droppings.
- Watch out for signs of pest damage like chewed wires, gnawed cardboard boxes, or bored wooden components.
The garage door is obviously the biggest component of the garage, and like any moving piece of equipment, requires seasonal maintenance to continue its function.
Watch out for these warning signs:
- Sluggish opening or closing
- Jerking or straining
- Squeaking, whining, or unusual sounds
Check the rollers
The rollers are what allow the door to move up and down smoothly. Check for warping or cracking, which can cause friction or vibration.
Clear the tracks
Over time, foreign objects such as leaves and yard debris can clog the tracks and impede the rollers. Clear it by hand or with a tool to ensure smooth operation.
Check the lift cables
The door’s massive weight is lifted by means of high-tension cables. If this should snap, it can cause serious injury or damage. Check the cables for signs of wear or tearing. When in doubt, take a picture and get in touch with a professional crew.
Keep it lubricated
The cold and dry winter months could have sapped the grease in the moving parts. Check the opener’s screw or chain mechanism as well as the overhead springs, and lubricate them with white lithium grease as needed.
Check the remote’s battery
Most garage door remotes use either a lithium ion or 1.5-volt alkaline battery. These usually have a lifespan between 1-2 years, depending on how often you use the garage door. Since your car likely sees more use after the winter season, and hence the garage doors, it’s a good idea to check or replace the remote’s battery in spring.
If you use your garage as a workshop, chances are it will see more use during the spring and summer months. If you have garage air conditioning:
- Clean the filters
- Check that the outside vents are clear of debris or foliage
- Watch for knocking, ticking, or unusual noises that could indicate a problem with the motor or compressor
- Check for leaks
Natural gas garage heaters are ideally serviced every two years. This should include an inspection of the gas lines, heat exchanger, and venting components.
Radiant tube heaters should be inspected in the same interval, and have their air inlets and outlets thoroughly checked.
Electric heaters require the least maintenance, but are just as liable to get dirty as the other types. Make sure to clear off any dust and particulate buildup, and check the mounting bolts for play to prevent unwanted vibrations that could loosen internal components.
Spring means yard season once again, so it’s time to take those tools out of storage for another three seasons’ worth of work.
- Unkink and stretch rubber hoses
- Fuel and lubricate the lawn mower
- Sharpen and grease yard implements