Annual home maintenance checklist
Get your home ready for every season by completing these simple tasks
Homeownership is a big responsibility. There’s the financial commitment of a mortgage, taxes and insurance, but there’s also the responsibility of maintaining your home.
Tasks like HVAC tuneup, landscaping upkeep and gutter cleaning help you avoid the cost and stress of unexpected repairs. It can be hard to keep up with maintenance when you own a home, but we have you covered with our year-round home maintenance checklist.
- Outdoor tasks include inspecting and cleaning gutters, roofs and outdoor furniture, while indoor tasks involve checking window/door seals, heating systems and fireplaces.
- Preventive measures to avoid expensive repairs in the future are important — these include inspecting the home's foundation, roof, and plumbing for any cracks or leaks and maintaining heating and cooling systems.
- In addition to seasonal tasks, keep up with monthly maintenance: checking fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors; running water and flushing toilets in less frequently used areas; and cleaning the garbage disposal and dryer vent.
Fall home maintenance
The weather’s cooling down and, depending on where you live, you might be getting ready to use your fireplace and heating system. Prepare for the colder weather with these steps.
- Prepare the gutters and downspouts by cleaning any debris, ensuring they’re draining properly, and check that the drains are securely fastened in place. Improper drainage can lead to wood rot, siding damage and even foundation issues.
- Inspect the roof for any visual damage like lifting shingles or exposed nails, and clear off any debris. The freezing temperatures can make the damage worse, and you don’t want snow leaking into your home.
- If you have a pool, make sure the pool cover is securely in place and that it can withstand ice and snow.
- Cover or store outdoor furniture and lawn tools you won’t need in the cooler months, or put them in storage. This will keep items from shifting in a storm or otherwise getting damaged.
- Visually inspect concrete and the home’s foundation for any cracks and have them repaired if needed. The cold weather can make cracks worse and lead to expensive repairs.
- Check window/door seals and insulation to prevent air drafts and to improve the energy efficiency of your heating system.
- Remove screens from windows. Cold weather and winter storms can damage screens, and removing them will protect them until the spring.
- Have your heating system inspected to make sure it’s ready for the cold weather. Having a properly working system can save energy costs and help avoid a midseason repair that leaves you without heat.
- Inspect and clean your fireplace and chimney. Cracks and leftover soot and ash are a fire hazard, and with the cold weather coming, the fireplace will be ready for use.
- Set your ceiling fans to rotate clockwise. The fan will push the warm air at the top of the room down, better distributing heat throughout the home.
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Winter home maintenance
The winter months can be hard on a home, and maintenance during this time of year is especially important in areas with extreme weather conditions. Complete the following tasks to get your home winter-ready.
- Clear any leftover autumn debris from the gutters and roof before the first snowfall.
- Check any outside pipes for leaks and insulate them if needed. If water freezes in the pipes, it can expand and cause major leaks.
- Disconnect any hoses and turn off outside faucets to prevent water from collecting and freezing in the hose and pipe.
- Trim any dead tree branches. As the weather gets colder and the heavy snow falls onto the trees, branches can snap, causing damage to the roof and siding.
- Remove soil from plastic or glass planters. In cold temperatures, moisture in the soil will freeze and expand and can break a pot.
- Inspect handrails on outdoor steps to ensure they’re sturdy for when the pavement starts to get icy.
- Drain sediment and wrap or insulate the water heater if it’s an older model. This will help heat the water more effectively in colder temperatures.
- Clear any areas around radiators in the home. Items left too close can be a fire hazard.
- Double-check door and window seals, even if you did so in the fall. If there’s a draft, you can install weather stripping.
- Change filters in the furnace to get better airflow from the heater.
- Keep the temperature of the home at a minimum of 55 degrees to prevent pipes from freezing.
- Add insulation in the attic and walls if you’ve had trouble heating your home in the past.
Spring home maintenance
Adding a few simple home maintenance tasks to your spring cleaning routine can get your place ready for the transition from winter to spring.
- Inspect concrete and woodwork around the exterior of the home. Damage due to freezing temperatures can cause expensive problems in the long run.
- Inspect the roof to make sure it didn’t suffer any damage during the winter months.
- Paint the exterior of your home. If your house needs a fresh coat of paint, you might want to get it done before the hot days of summer hit.
- Check the sprinklers and irrigation system to make sure they’re working so you can water the lawn and plants.
- Clean the exterior windows to get rid of any buildup from snow. This will give you a clear view of the spring’s new growth.
- Put screens in the windows, and repair or replace them as needed.
- Inspect the air conditioner so it’s ready for the upcoming hotter weather. HVAC companies usually offer a spring checkup — they’ll clean units, change filters and perform other important maintenance tests.
- Look for critters in the attic that might have taken up residence during the cold winter months.
- Check the plumbing for any new leaks and make repairs as needed. If any water froze in the pipes, it might have caused small, hard-to-detect leaks. These leaks can turn into a major hassle if the pipe bursts.
- Change the direction of ceiling fans to turn counterclockwise. In the hotter months, this helps push cool air toward the floor.
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Summer home maintenance
Depending on where you live, early summer can be the perfect time to complete outdoor maintenance and repairs. These steps will help you keep your home in good condition on the outside and cool on the inside.
- Inspect the fencing and any decking around the home and make any necessary repairs. This is also a good time to paint or seal any woodwork.
- Pressure-wash the exterior of your house to prevent mildew growth and remove any residue that’s built up throughout the year.
- Complete any large landscaping projects, like laying new sod or creating a new garden space.
- Check the exterior of the home for any small cracks and fill them so critters can’t get inside to look for food and water.
- Inspect and clean ceiling fans. Dust and debris on the fans can cause allergic reactions and lead to buildup in your home’s HVAC filters.
- Clean the ductwork in your home. The buildup inside the ductwork can spread throughout the home and might contain bacteria, pet dander and mold spores.
- Inspect and repair or replace showerheads to prevent leaks and to improve water pressure.
- Inspect and clean bathroom exhaust fans to make sure they’re effectively removing the damp air and are clean of mold- and odor-causing debris.
Monthly home maintenance checklist
Some home maintenance tasks are season-specific, while others should be completed year-round.
Seasonal maintenance is important, but there are also some simple tasks you can do more frequently to keep the systems in your home in good working condition.
- Do a quick walk around the entire property. This can help identify any obvious problems so you can catch them before they become a bigger issue.
- Keep your property and home clear of debris. Doing a major cleanup once a month in addition to regular maintenance can help keep your property in good shape.
- Check fire extinguishers in the home to make sure they’re in working order and aren’t expired.
- Check the battery and function of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Run water and flush toilets in areas that aren’t used frequently. This helps prevent sewer gas buildup in the pipes.
- Clean and inspect the garbage disposal and dishwasher. Buildup can lead to bad odors.
- Clean out your dryer vent. Lint in the ductwork can be a fire hazard and make your dryer less efficient.
Most of the tasks listed here are quick and inexpensive. Keeping up with seasonal and monthly maintenance can help the systems in your home last longer, and these simple upkeep steps can prevent the need for major repairs and replacements.
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