Homeowner’s Checklist: 35 Things You Should Do Every Year

A Story by Mario Mariscal | Updated 04/6/2019 12:00pm


Regular home maintenance isn’t all fun and games – but it’s something you should do on a monthly and quarterly basis to extend the life of your home and save yourself money. Here’s a list, broken out by season, to help you navigate what needs to be done when. If it seems a bit overwhelming, consider buying a calendar and mapping out which tasks you’ll do when to keep your home safe, functioning, and looking its best.

Winter

1. Get out snow shovels and snow blowers. And put them in a convenient spot that’s easy to access after a big snow.

2. Check exterior crawl space vents. Close any that are open to prevent pipes in the crawl space from freezing.

3. Switch direction of ceiling fan blades. There’s a switch on your ceiling fan that changes the direction of the blade rotation. Put it in the up position in the winter to create an updraft.

4. Change or clean furnace filters. This helps to get better heating and improves air quality.

5. Check and repair window screens. Do this in the late winter right before spring.

Spring

6. Do an overall inspection of your home’s exterior. See if there’s any damage (paint chipping, holes in brick, etc.) and get everything repaired. This includes the roof, which may be damaged from snow or ice.

7. Get your air conditioning ready. If you have central air, you may want to have it serviced. If you use window units, you’ll want to get those out of storage and get them installed.

8. Clean out your gutters. Make sure everything’s flowing smoothly in preparation for spring showers.

9. Aerate and fertilize the lawn. This is also the time to make sure the sprinkler system is working and put it back on a schedule.

10. Get the chimney cleaned. Creosote builds up after use, so now’s the time to get your chimney cleaned and inspected. The waitlist is much longer in the fall and if there’s any damage, you’ll want to get the work done ahead of the busy season.

Summer

11. Open exterior crawl space vents. This allows outside air to circulate under the floor and prevent the moisture buildup that can create mildew and rot.

12. Switch direction of ceiling fan blades. Put it in the down position so the blades circulate in a counter clockwise motion to create a breeze.

13. Clean/repair your deck or patio. You may need to power wash, re-stain, or re-seal your deck. This is also the time to check for any loose boards, bricks, etc. and get them fixed.

14. Repair and paint fences. Take this time to remove stains, brace wood rails, fix leaning posts, repair buried rot, and fix any gates that need it.

15. Clean out and de-clutter the garage. Clear out and donate the clutter and establish designated spaces for tools, sports equipment, etc.

Fall

16. Clean and store summer garden tools. This is also a great time to plant flowering spring bulbs.

17. Cover and store outdoor furniture and grills. Propane tanks always stay outside for fire safety purposes.

18. Clean gutters. Clogged gutters can result in water damage, ice dams, or become a happy new home for vermin.

19. Inspect the roof for cracks or damage. And arrange to have any necessary repairs made before the first snow or heavy rain.

20. Test the snow blower. And make sure you know where your shovel is. This is also a good time to buy sidewalk sand/salt.

21. Check weather stripping on windows and doors. Proper weather stripping will keep drafts out and can save you 30 percent on energy bills.

22. Check the pavement for cracks. You’ll want to get any cracks re-sealed before the snow and ice come, as water can freeze in the cracks and do considerably more damage.

23. Winterize air conditioning systems. In the late fall, cover the outside unit of your central air with a tarp or remove and store window units.

24. Have the heating system serviced. Do this before temperatures drop.

25. Do tree and branch maintenance. Falling trees and branches can do an enormous amount of damage. Remove dead or damaged trees and limbs and consider having someone come to check out your property to make sure you’re not missing anything and your trees are all healthy.

26. Disconnect sprinklers. Do this before the first freeze. You’ll also want to shut off valves to outdoor faucets and drain and store hoses.

Anytime

27. Build or refill your disaster preparedness kit. In the event of an emergency, you’ll want to have food and water to last 72 hours, as well as a flashlight, radio, first aid kit, extra cash, batteries, etc.

28. Check and change batteries in smoke and Co2 detectors. This should be done every six months.

29. Clean kitchen appliances and vacuum refrigerator coils. When the coils get dirty, your fridge uses more electricity, so do this every six months.

30. Wash windows. Ideally, windows should be washed twice a year.

31. Seal the tile grout. This should be done every six months.

32. Clean baseboards and trim. This should be done at least every few months.

33. Clean kitchen sink disposal. This should be done every month or so. Use vinegar ice cubes (just what it sounds like) and then run them through the disposal. Cleans the disposal and sharpens the blades at the same time.

34. Clean your range hood fan filter. The filter collects grease, so it can become blocked and lose its effectiveness if this isn’t done every couple of months.

35. Inspect fire extinguisher. Make sure the gauge shows adequate pressure and that it’s easily accessible. This should be done every couple of months.

 

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