Your home is your retreat from the world. It’s where you invite friends and family to join in celebrations and traditions, good times and bad times.
Your home is also likely the largest financial investment of your life. So it goes without saying that it’s important to stay on track with your home’s upkeep and preventive maintenance.
We’ve got you covered with this essential home maintenance checklist. It’s a punch list organized by season that also includes what you’ll want to do on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis.
If your home is newer construction, keeping this schedule will help your home gain older and well-loved status. No matter the age of your home, making home maintenance a habit will help you avoid major surprises that lead to home improvement nightmares. I will help save money and increase the value of your home in the long run.
Fall is the time to make any repairs you might have avoided during the extreme summer heat. Recover from a busy summer and get ready for cooler temperatures including – depending on where you live – harsh winter weather.
- Remove window air conditioners. These can remain in the windows if properly covered and sealed.
- Schedule the annual maintenance of your heating system (you can even make the call in late summer), whether hot air or steam heat.
- Have your duct system cleaned.
- Replace the air filters in your heating unit.
- Inspect and clean your fireplace and chimney.
- Inspect the areas around your windows and doors. If there are cracks or gaps, seal with caulking or weather stripping. If needed, consider new doors or windows.
- Remove any lint from your dryer vent with a vacuum or hire a professional. This is an important fire prevention task.
- Vacuum refrigerator coils.
- Wash your windows and clean dirt from window and door screens. If you have storm windows, now is the time to switch over from the screens.
- Schedule a carpet cleaning service.
- Flush your hot water heater to prevent buildup of sediment. Check for leaks.
- Test your sump pump.
- When you “fall back” from daylight savings time, replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and test each detector.
- Drain garden hoses, in-ground sprinkler systems and exterior water sources. Store the hoses until spring. Wrap insulation around outdoor plumbing.
- If you have central air, cover the exterior unit with a secured tarp.
- Close your pool or schedule a pool closing with your service provider.
- Inspect driveway and sidewalk for cracks. If found, it’s best to take care of this before the winter.
- Inspect your roof, looking for any missing or damaged shingles.
- Inspect your siding. Schedule any needed repairs.
- Inspect the entire exterior of your home, making any necessary repairs or paint touch-ups.
- Power wash your siding and exterior windows.
- Check your deck and patio areas and make any necessary repairs.
- Check your exterior doors in case the handles or lock hardware need attention.
- Trim any excess growth of your trees and shrubs.
- Schedule a gutter cleaning service for when most of the leaves have fallen and before any significant snowfall.
- Be prepared for the first snow. Have your snow removal tools and ice melt ready to go.
Your landscape is where the transition from summer to fall likely shows the most. The lushness of your lawn and summer flowers slowly give way to falling leaves. It’s not all doom and gloom. Here’s how you can make sure these months have their own beauty.
- Rake the leaves
- Aerate and seed your lawn: this process gives your lawn a head start toward a healthy spring.
- Transition your flower beds: before the first freeze, plant perennials and new bulbs that will emerge in spring.
If winter delivers a plunge in temperatures and icy snowy weather where you live, you definitely want to take the time to prepare your home for harsher conditions with some preventative winter home maintenance.
- Check on any caulking or sealing you did around doors and windows in the fall to make sure the seals are intact.
- Check your showerhead – remove it and clean any sediment.
- Clean the drains in your sinks, bathtub, shower and dishwasher.
- Check for leaks around your sinks and toilets.
- Check for any leaks in the hoses connecting to your dishwasher, washing machine, and ice maker.
- If your bathroom has an exhaust fan, vacuum the grill.
- Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans (clockwise in fall and winter).
- Check anything that can rattle and come loose: door locks, deadbolts, handles, racks and see if they need to be tightened or replaced.
- Check your heater’s filter throughout the winter. Replace as needed.
- Check the water level in your boiler to make sure it stays at an operational level.
- Shut off (if you can) and insulate any pipes in unheated areas of your home to prevent water from freezing and breaking the pipes.
- If the temperatures outside drop to the point where you are having difficulty keeping your home warm, run the faucet just so it drips so water can move through the pipes and not freeze.
- Consider buying a portable generator. If you have one, make sure it’s ready to go.
- Create a home winter emergency kit: batteries, flashlights, candles, a first aid kit and a radio. Make sure you are stocked up on your prescription medications.
- Make sure you have enough gas for your snow blower, enough wood for your fireplace, water and non-perishables in case a winter storm causes a lengthy power outage.
- As the winter goes on, check your basement for any leaks.
- If you didn’t cover your window air conditioner or your exterior central air unit in the fall, do it at the start of winter.
- Check your exterior pipes to make sure water is shut off and they are insulated.
- Remove any large icicles and ice dams.
- Check your snow blower before a storm is on the way. Make sure it doesn’t need any repairs.
- If you haven’t done so in the fall, make sure your snow removal tools are easy to access and that you have enough snow melt for the first snowfall.
Time to get ready for longer, sunnier days. These steps on our home maintenance checklist will send you sailing into summer.
- Replace your storm windows with your screens. Make sure the screens are ready to go.
- Clean windows and screens.
- It’s “spring forward” season: replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and test them so they’ll work when you need them.
- Check the areas that might need attention after a long, cold winter like the caulking and sealing around windows and doors.
- If you have a septic tank, schedule an inspection.
- Clean lint from your dryer vent.
- Check/replace your air conditioner filter.
- Do you keep your air conditioner window units in all year round? Uncover, clean them and check to make sure they are working properly.
- Check your pipes for leaks, especially under sinks.
- Have your water heater flushed.
- Do some spring cleaning: check the spaces in your home you might not always get to, such as behind appliances. Have your carpets/floors professionally cleaned.
- Take a walk around the exterior of your house. Check for any changes or things that need attention: foundation, roof, windows, chimney, exterior walls.
- Check the condition of your driveway and sidewalks – do they need repair after winter and spring?
- Check your gutters to see if they need a spring cleaning.
- Remove insulation from outdoor pipes and turn on faucets to make sure they’re working.
- Schedule annual service of your central air conditioning system.
- Own a pool? Schedule an appointment to open it for the season.
- Check your deck for any repairs. Is it time to refinish it?
- Paint. Does your home’s exterior need a touch-up or an entire re-do?
- If not paint, does the outside of your home need a good cleaning?
- Finish any spring clean-up of dead plants and shrubs.
- Make any repairs or preparations and store your snow blower.
- Check your trees. Do they appear healthy? Are there any dead or possibly diseased branches? Do any of the branches interfere with utility lines? Get professional help if needed.
- Plant new perennials.
- Apply mulch to your flower beds.
- If you mow your own lawn, inspect your lawn mower. Start it up and make sure it doesn’t need any repairs.
- Secure a lawn care service if you do not intend to mow your lawn yourself.
- Reseed your lawn before the heat of summer arrives
- As the lawn wakes up and gets green, fertilize your lawn.
Free up as much time as possible to enjoy your home and outdoor spaces by getting a jump on these summer home maintenance tasks.
- Time to reverse the direction of those ceiling fans from the fall and winter settings. Make sure they’re moving counterclockwise in the summer months to push air down and help cool your home.
- Check your air conditioner filters monthly to keep them running at their best. This applies to window or central air units.
- Check for any leaks around the house, mainly the dishwasher, toilets, and cabinets in the bathroom and kitchen.
- Check for lint on the inside and outside of washing machine hoses and dryer vents.
- Clean kitchen exhaust fan filter.
- Check your garage door and its components. Does the opener and chain need to be oiled? Are the hinges in good shape?
- Clean and organize your garage.
- Inspect the exterior of your home. Are there any issues with the foundation, soil erosion, or clogged downspouts?
Check for any possible places where insects might be able to enter your home and make sure they’re sealed. Carpenter bees, paper wasps, and yellowjackets tend to build nests in the eaves of homes. If you don’t feel comfortable handling this on your own, play it safe and consult a professional.
- Clean any debris from window wells.
- Check outdoor equipment for any issues requiring repair, maintenance or replacement.
- Remove any weeds from flower beds and other unwanted spaces in your landscape. Make weeding your weekly habit.
- Water plants and flowers regularly. Watering early in the day, before the heat peaks, is best.
- Check your sprinkler system.
- Prune trees and shrubs.
- Open your pool and clean it regularly to keep it in good working condition.
Whatever the season, many of the tasks on this home maintenance checklist are easy to incorporate into your daily, weekly or monthly routine. Ultimately, you want to be safe. You also want the freedom to enjoy your home in your downtime. In either of those scenarios, it makes perfect sense