If you’re a homeowner, then you’ll agree that it’s a whole lot of work to clean and maintain your house and yard. It might even feel like more of our time is spent mowing and painting and cleaning than with our families! But if you don’t stay on top of home maintenance, bigger problems can spring up that cost even more time and money!
The good news is that with a little organization and planning, each and every weekend doesn’t have to be consumed checking off items from your home Honey Do list. Proactively following this list will cover just about all the bases to keep your home safe, in good condition, and free of major repairs.
Inspect/change HVAC filters.
Pulling out the filter on your heating and air unit and giving it a good cleaning ever month will help your system work efficiently and put less stress on it.
Inspect/clean out dryer filters and vents.
In fact, a good portion of home fires start with clogged dryer vents or filters that aren’t changed. You should clean out the simply filter screen in your dryer just about every time you use it, but once a month, vacuum out inside the filter trap and behind the dryer.
Clean out kitchen sink disposal.
A good way to keep your disposal fresh is by adding a half-cup of baking soda followed by a half-cup of white vinegar, and then flushing with boiling water after 10 minutes.
Clean range hood filters.
Most kitchen fires start with grease and residue that layers on the range hood, which people often forget to clean.
Test smoke detectors and carbon dioxide detectors.
Make sure the batteries are working and test each detector.
Test the garage door auto-reverse feature.
People forget this one, so make sure the sensors are clear and the auto reverse safety feature is functioning.
Check unused toilets/sinks/plumbing fixtures.
Turn on sinks, faucets, showerheads, and flush toilets in guest bathrooms, garages, basements, and anywhere else that isn’t used commonly. Make sure there are no leaks, which can flood or freeze and burst, causing much bigger problems down the line.
Check your fire extinguishers.
Make sure you have working fire extinguishers in easy reach in a few areas around the house, and definitely in the kitchen and garage.
Check pressure relief valve on water heater.
The pressure relief valve is a critical safety feature or else the water heater can build so much pressure that it literally explodes, so give it a quick test twice a year.
Twice a year, clean your house thoroughly, including moving appliances and hidden surfaces.
Check/clean garage, basement, and attic.
It’s also a good idea to inspect attics, basements, and garages for leaks, evidence of pests and rodents, and any fire hazards.
Vacuum refrigerator coils.
People don’t even know you should do this, but cleaning up your fridge coils will help it work efficiently and last longer.
Annually (by season):
Clean gutters and downspouts.
After the fall and winter, you’ll want to clean the leaves from your gutters. Shoot the hose on full blast down downspouts to clear them out
Check the exterior of your home.
Look for peeling or blistering paint, rotting wood, or windows and doors that need to be caulked.
Get your air conditioner tuned up.
Don’t wait until the middle of the summer to test your air conditioner! Turn it on in on a cooler day during the spring to make sure it’s running fine and schedule regular maintenance early in the season.
Fix window screens.
Holes in window screens will let mosquitos and other insects in when you have the windows open during the summer.
Prune and trim.
Spring is a great time to cut back over grown bushes, shrubs, vines, and tree limbs to keep them away from your structure, electric lines, and exterior heat and air registers and vents.
Turn on and check your landscaping lighting, replace bulbs and re-bury wiring if necessary. You can also do this with exterior light fixtures and motion sensors.
Inspect the roof.
Look for displaced shingles or tiles, evidence of leakage, and the seal around vents and chimneys. But be careful – you may want to hire a professional to get up there if your roof is steep or high up.
Give your windows a great cleaning, inside and out. Windex and newspaper works great!
Inspect plumbing for leaks.
Look under sink cabinets, in basements, and in crawl spaces for evidence of water damage or leaks.
Root out insects.
Roaches, termites, wasp nests, and other invited critters can do some serious damage if left unchecked.
Deck and patio maintenance.
Power wash your moldy or dirty decks, patios, and porches and apply a new coat of paint or stain to make it look brand new. Check stairs and railing for safety.
Flush hot water heater to remove sediment.
You’ll be surprised what builds up in the bottom of your heater’s tank.
Clean heat/AC registers and ducts
Remove, vacuum, and clean out all of the heat and air registers and vents inside your house.
Tune up the heating system.
Just like you gave your air conditioner a checkup in the spring before it got too hot, make sure your heating system is working great and ready for the cold.
Empty outdoor water fixtures.
Shut off exterior hose bibs, hoses, and other water fixtures. Make sure they are drained empty. In climates that freeze in the winter, you may want to wrap exterior fixtures and basement and garage water pipes.
Check your fireplace.
Before you light the first fire of the season, whether it’s a gas unit or old-fashioned wood burner, make sure there are no cracks, breaks, or creosote buildup, which can be extremely dangerous.
Caulk and grout in bathrooms, kitchen etc.
You can either caulk over existing lines or buy a specialty tool to scrape out the old grout.
Clean tiles and shower and bathroom glass.
For a natural bathroom cleaner, mix vinegar and water in equal portions and scrub everything down. Shower gunk, bath rings, and hard water stains come off great with vinegar, water, and baking soda.
Check your emergency kit.
Early winter is a great time to make sure you have an emergency kit put together and accessible, with a first aid kit, flashlights with fresh batteries, warm clothes, drinking water, a whistle, candles, matches, and other essentials.