Owning comes with a lot of responsibility. Since much of the responsibility of owning a home includes maintaining it through every season, creating a home maintenance checklist is a smart idea for new and seasoned homeowners. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or have owned your home for years, this checklist will always be handy.
Why is Seasonal Home Maintenance Important?
Buying a home is typically the most significant purchase most people make in their lives. This important investment requires regular maintenance and seasonal upkeep to ensure your home holds its value through the years. Since new homebuyers don't typically have the experience to know what needs to be performed each season, it makes sense to create a home maintenance checklist you can refer to that will help you keep up with necessary tasks. Here are some of the maintenance tasks associated with homeownership for all homeowners.
Monthly Home Maintenance Checklist
All appliances and home equipment come with a manufacturer's maintenance guide. These reference guides will include care instructions that will help extend the life of your appliance and keep your home safe and odor free. Keeping your maintenance/service booklets in one location will make it easier to reference quickly if necessary. If you can't find the originals, you can always find them online. Below are the most common monthly home maintenance items that should be on your checklist. Note: Care suggestions may vary by manufacturer and model.
1. Check Your HVAC Filters
Checking your HVAC filters monthly for signs of dirt and dust and changing them if needed will reduce your utility bill and extend the life of your system. Filters should typically be replaced every one to six months, depending on use and dust accumulation.
2. Check Your Water Softener and Heater
Water softeners and heaters require monthly checkups. Look for salt bridges and mushing on your water softener, and replenish the salt as needed. You should also check for cracks and leaks as well as the temperature and pressure relief valves on water heaters monthly.
3. Clean Your Garbage Disposal
Clean your garbage disposal monthly to eliminate odors and prevent bacteria and mold; consider this popular DIY approach:
- Turn off the power and remove and clean the splash guard.
- Add half a cup of baking soda and let stand for 30 minutes.
- Add a cup of vinegar for five minutes, then rinse with hot water.
- Grind two cups of ice and one cup of salt until crushed.
4. Clean Your Dishwasher
Food and residue can accumulate inside a dishwasher, so dishes may not clean properly. Like your garbage disposal, monthly cleaning can prevent build-up that may cause unpleasant odors. Consider this popular DIY solution:
- Place one cup of white vinegar in a dishwasher-safe bowl on the top rack of an empty dishwasher.
- Run your dishwasher on the hottest cycle.
- Stop the cycle before the drying cycle; open the dishwasher door and let it air-dry.
- Cleaning the gasket, drain, and filter should also be part of this monthly cleaning but may vary based on the make and model of your dishwasher.
5. Test Your Home's Safety Devices
A monthly test of your home's safety alarms, such as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, should be completed to ensure they work correctly and have fresh batteries.
Spring/Summer Home Maintenance
As soon as the seasons begin to change, most people get excited about the idea of enjoying the spring and summer seasons outdoors. Before you tackle the spring and summer maintenance list, consider hiring a professional for some of the more laborious tasks (repairing your driveway). It will be worth the financial investment to ensure the projects are done correctly, and you can use the time saved to complete other tasks on the list.
1. Prepare Your Lawn and Garden
Spring is the time to plant seasonal flowers and seed your lawn for the best curb appeal.
2. Repair Your Driveway and Sidewalk
Check your sidewalks and driveway for cracks and make necessary repairs using a crack filler or driveway patches. Driveways may need to be resealed every three years.
If your driveway requires a bigger repair, we have home equity loans and personal loans available to pay for some of these expenses.
3. Inspect and Repair Water Features and Sprinklers
Check your external water features, and inspect for necessary repairs. Also, reset sprinkler timers to meet landscaping needs.
4. Start Spring Cleaning
Make a seasonal home maintenance checklist for spring, including areas you seldom clean, such as deep cleaning floors, baseboards, carpets, ceiling fans, and other fixtures.
5. Clean Your Kitchen Exhaust Fan Filter
Remove and clean your kitchen exhaust filter using boiling water and dish soap to remove the grease build-up.
6. Drain Hot Water Heater
Draining your hot water heater removes debris and sediment, which can prolong the water heater's life. Before you do this yourself, check to see if you have a service contract that includes annual maintenance.
7. Service Your AC Unit (s)
An air conditioner's filters, coils, and fins require regular maintenance for the unit to function effectively and efficiently throughout its years of service. Neglecting necessary maintenance could result in poor performance and increased energy use. If you have an HVAC service contract, check to see if your AC unit is covered.
Fall/ Winter Home Maintenance
1. Clean and Inspect Your Roof and Gutters
Leaves can clog your gutters, causing expensive roof and water damage, so it is important to inspect and clean the roof and gutters to ensure water exits away from your home.
2. Shut Off Exterior Sprinklers and Valves
Turn off all sprinklers and faucets and add insulating covers before freezing temperatures hit to prevent pipes from bursting.
3. Inspect Your Home’s Heating
Annual preventative maintenance on your home's furnace and air ducts will help ensure your HVAC system is in tip-top shape for cold weather. It can also lower your heating costs. Before you do this yourself, check to see if you have a service contract that includes having a professional complete this item for you. You may already be paying for this service.
4. Inspect and Insulate Windows and Doors
Check your home’s windows and doors to ensure they operate properly. Inspect for air leaks, drafts, and wood damage and make needed repairs. Adding insulation or weatherstripping will aid in heat loss.
5. Clean and Inspect Your Fireplace
Since wood-burning fireplaces produce tar and creosote that can accumulate and become a fire hazard, hiring a professional to inspect and clean your fireplace and chimney annually is a good idea.
6. Cover Your Air Conditioner
Remove your window AC unit if you have one, and cover your outside air conditioning unit to prevent damage during the winter months.
7. Insulate Your Pipes
Protect your pipes from freezing by installing Styrofoam insulation around exposed pipes in attics and basements that may be susceptible to freezing temps. Keeping your thermostat set to at least 55 degrees can prevent pipe damage.
8. Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans should rotate counterclockwise in the summer and clockwise in the winter, reversing the airflow to accommodate each season.
Savvy Homebuyers Stay Organized with a Home Maintenance Checklist
Homeowners will find that different tasks are associated with each season, and some need to be taken care of monthly and yearly. Homeowners can adjust their checklist based on their home type, what appliances or equipment they use, and whether they have service contracts that include maintenance. A home maintenance checklist like the one above can help new and seasoned homeowners stay organized.