Homeownership has plenty of perks, but it also comes with a world of new responsibilities. Keeping up a house means remembering to take care of both everyday chores and those easily-overlooked seasonal tasks you tackle only at certain times of the year.
To-do lists make everything easier, so we put together a yearly home maintenance checklist you can use to identify the most important tasks for each season.
Choose a Season:
Check the hose connections for leaks, change the filter and vacuum out any thick dust that’s accumulated on the unit. Now, your AC will run with maximum efficiency when hot weather hits.
Repair any damaged caulking or weather stripping around your windows to seal in cool air. Then, wash both the inner and outer panes with warm water and a splash of dish soap—not too sudsy. For best results—and less work!—use a squeegee mop instead of rags.
In addition to clearing gutters, use a hose to clean out your downspouts and remove any blockages. Also check that your gutters are hanging straight so spring rains don’t pour onto your foundation.
Rake up any limbs, leaves and other debris, getting deep into your yard’s thatch layer to pave the way for a lush summer lawn. If you have problems with crab grass, apply an herbicide now to nip it in the bud.
Rent a pressure washer to clean your deck, driveway, siding and any other grimy outdoor structures, such as fences or sheds. Be sure to use the proper detergent type for each surface.
Identify any loose or sweaty pipes beneath sinks, check washing machine hoses for cracks, and inspect the floor around your dishwasher for warping. Call in a plumber to fix the leaks that cause these issues.
Dampen an old pillow case with a mixture of water and white vinegar. Slip over each fan blade and apply pressure as you pull it off. This cleans the blade while preventing dust from raining down on the room.
Even if you’ve bought long-lasting batteries, they should still be changed twice a year as a safety precaution.
Pull your refrigerator away from the wall and use your vacuum’s hose attachment to clean the dust from the coils. This ensures that it will run efficiently through the hot months ahead.
Sprinkle water over your wooden deck or patio. If the water is absorbed immediately, it’s time to apply a new coat of sealant. If the water forms beads, you can wait another year before re-sealing.
A warm summer day (below 80 degrees) with some cloud cover or a light breeze is the ideal weather for painting your home’s exterior.
Remove mower blades and take them to a hardware store to be sharpened. Or do the job yourself. Consider purchasing a spare blade so that you’ll always have one ready to go between sharpenings.
Use mortar repair material in a caulking tube to fill narrow cracks in your driveway. Apply concrete patch material to larger holes with a trowel. Finish by applying concrete sealer to all patched areas.
Use binoculars to check for cracked, curling or missing shingles, and for cracks in the flashing around your chimney and roof vents. Make any needed repairs before cold weather sets in.
Vacuum up cobwebs and dust if needed, then gently scrub screens with a sponge soaked in lukewarm water and dish soap. Rinse with a garden hose and air-dry before storing.
Check for air leaks by holding a lit stick of incense near various points of your window and door frames, and watching for smoke movement. Apply new weather stripping, caulk or sealant to any leaks.
Yes, gutter cleaning is a twice-a-year job. Remove any accumulated leaves and other debris to keep your gutters working properly through the winter.
Disconnect all garden hoses and store them for the winter. Turn off water to all outside spigots from their shut-off valves inside your home. This will prevent the pipes from freezing and cracking in the winter.
Pop the filter from the hood and swish it forcefully several times through a sink full of hot, sudsy water. Rinse it thoroughly and then air-dry. Scrub the range hood with a strong all-purpose cleaner.
Ensure the furnace is off, then vacuum its surface and underside. Remove the filter. For a metal or plastic filter clean it with running water, air-dry and pop it back in. Replace a cardboard filter.
Install heat cables according to the manufacturer’s instructions along any areas of your roof where ice dams have formed in the past.
Remove any dead or damaged limbs that overhang your house. This will ensure that the limbs don’t crack under the additional weight of snow and cause damage.
This is another twice-a-year task. If you think the current batteries still have life, use them to power something else. NOTE: Some smoke and carbon dioxide detectors feature built-in batteries that should not be replaced. Confirm which type you have to avoid the safety risk of a damaged detector.
Apply foam-rubber pipe insulation to exposed pipes located in unheated areas of your home or on exterior walls.
Lay down drop cloths and wear face protection. Sweep or vacuum the fireplace out, then coat the interior with all-purpose cleaner. Coat a sturdy brush in fireplace or oven cleaner and scrub. Wait 20 minutes, then wipe down with warm water. Call in a certified chimney sweep to handle the chimney.