A Checklist for Maintaining Your Home

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It is said that your home is your greatest investment. If this is so, why do so many people neglect it? Driving down just about any street you can see many houses that are in need of some serious TLC. Some of these may even require so many repairs that the owners would have to go that much further in to debt! If you drive your car thousands of miles, even in to the tens of thousands, without changing the oil, would you expect the car to last?

Your home is no different. From the obvious missing shingles and leaky faucets to the almost never considered water heater sediment buildup, there are countless items that can prevent your home from providing you the most reliable comfort possible. We have compiled a house maintenance checklist that you can follow to ensure the efficiency and longevity of your home.

Depending on your region or equipment in your home, some items in the following lists may not be necessary. These lists are basic overviews and are not intended to be complete. Most importantly, and this will be repeated throughout this post, SAFETY IS FIRST. If you don’t feel that some of these items may be safe, call a contractor to perform the work. Preventive maintenance work is a lot less expensive than repair work.

Spring Maintenance

Wintry conditions can wreak havoc on the exterior of your home. The drastic temperature changes, the excessive snow or rain, can potentially cause damage that if not corrected in a timely fashion will be very expensive. To catch these items before your pocket book suffers and to prepare for the summer months ahead, we recommend these following items be performed. Remember, safety first! If you feel uncomfortable performing any of these tasks, call a contractor as they will have the proper safety equipment to do the required work.

  • Check shingles and roof flashing – have repaired as necessary
  • Check siding and trim for loose boards – nail back down
  • Replace any rotting wood such as door/window trim
  • Recaulk any loose or missing seals around doors, windows, building joints, etc.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts, make repairs as necessary
  • Trim hedges and trees
  • Clean flower beds and spread mulch
  • Flush the water heater
  • Clean windows
  • Replace storm windows with screens
  • Reinstall window air conditioner units
  • Replace the batteries in your smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and thermostats
  • Clean the clothes dryer vent
  • Have the air conditioning system checked for leaks and ensure reliability
  • Turn shut-off valves to sinks, commodes, refrigerators, washing machine, etc., completely off, then on again

Summer Maintenance

Summer is here! Time for picnics and running through the sprinklers! But to have peace of mind that your house is in order and that you won’t be spending all summer working overtime to try to pay contractors for all the repairs that could have been prevented, these items should be done regularly, and summer is the perfect season to do so. If you don’t have the equipment to do some of these, such as a pressure washer or carpet scrubber, they can be rented.

  • Pressure wash the outside of the house, including driveway and sidewalks
  • Repair/repaint any areas on the exterior that need touching up
  • Check that all siding is secure and the brick is without cracks in the mortar
  • Inspect sidewalks and driveway for cracks and make sure all sections are level
  • Shampoo carpets and scrub tile floors
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  • Seal tile floors and wax hardwood floors

Fall Maintenance

Fall is the time to prepare for the winter weather ahead. Some items here may not be applicable to you, but they may be a consideration depending on your climate zone. The use of storm windows for instance can save you up to 10-20% in your heating costs. Fall is also the season where critters are going to find stable homes, and as rent to you they can leave you with insulation issues, damage to the roof depending on their means of entry, and have in some cases chewed through electrical wiring. Following this list can help you prevent or at the least prevent costly damages by remedying the issues before they get out of control.

  • Have chimney swept and inspect damper for obstructions
  • Check windows and doors for proper sealing
  • Remove window air conditioner unitsPIXABAY.COM
  • Replace screens with storm windows
  • Prune trees and bushes
  • Inspect roof for missing shingles
  • Clean gutters and downspouts, make repairs as necessary
  • Check for signs of “guests” in the attic (squirrels, raccoons, etc.)
  • Turn shut-off valves to sinks, commodes, refrigerators, washing machine, etc., completely off, then on again
  • Clean and cover or store patio furniture
  • Vacuum refrigerator and condenser unit coils. Caution: be sure NOT to touch the fins of the coils as they are easily bent and will prevent them from working properly
  • Check for leaky faucets in the kitchen and bathrooms

Winter Maintenance

Now that most all the work is complete during the other seasons, winter has a small, yet still as important, list of tasks. Keeping the winter list small will allow you more time for the holiday season, and focus your energy on entertaining family and friends.

  • Test GFCI receptacles to make sure they work properly
  • Repair/repaint any inside walls that need attention
  • Inspect grout in kitchen and bathrooms, recaulk if necessary

Resources

There are many resources available that can help simplify this process, and keep you reminded of what tasks are due when. Copying these lists into your favorite spreadsheet can allow you to customize and make notes. You can set reminders or even add them to your calendar. We recommend using HomeZada, which can track all of these items by when they are due and sending you alerts, when they are completed, and even cost. These records can even be transferred to different users in the event you sell your home, which can help improve your home’s value.

Don’t the you have the tools to get the job done? Click here to see the recommended starting home maintenance tool kit. Books such as Home Maintenance for Dummies are also excellent resources. If you have any questions or even suggestions to this post, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!

Wolverine Lopper, 24in Overall

 

Resources: LifeHacker, Home Repair Resource Center

 

 

 

 

 

6 Comments Posted

  1. Someone has done their research. This is a lot of really useful information for all home owners. I agree with you that people don’t always pay attention to these things that come with the different seasons. Of course, it depends on where you live. Since I live in California, I don’t have to deal with the cold and ice or snow.
    Thanks for all the great information to keep our homes in tip-top shape.

    • To quote the Beverly Hillbillies, California is the place you oughta be! There are so many things around the house that can fail, and be so expensive to repair, yet are preventable. Thank you for your feedback Curtis and stop back by anytime!

  2. This is such great information and advice!! My husband and I just bought a home in a new area, and these checklists will be helpful for us this spring. You’re right, it is such a big investment, and should be treated as such! I do have a question.. There is some siding on our house that looks like it is going to need replacing this summer. How do you suggest we match the paint color on the new siding pieces without having to repaint the entire house?

    Thanks!
    Sarae

    • Hi Sarae! First off, congratulations on your new home! When you are ready to replace the siding, save a few very small pieces, about 3″ square, and bring to your local hardware store. Most have color-matching technology that should match up very close. The beauty of doing it this way rather than using any leftover paint (no telling from how long ago), is the store will match up the current color after any possible fading has taken place. Remember to clean all surfaces really good before applying the primer and paint. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

  3. I love playing with tools from Klein to Milwaukee and this article has helped me on what to maintain won different seasons.To be frank, I had not thought about it you have given me a great information on what to check when? in terms of the season thank you.

    • Having been an electrician since 1990, I swear by Klein tools, but have recently grown to admire Knipex as for professional quality tools. You should check them out!

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