Aligned Mortgage Year-Round Home Maintenance Checklist
You’ve finally moved into your new house. The loan process is behind you; the movers didn’t break your big screen television, nor did they lose your grandmother’s china. So, you can now relax and start enjoying your new home. Well, hang on. Not so fast.
Sure, the house looks great now that you’ve personalized it with your family’s possessions. You’ve painted rooms in your favorite colors, cleaned every nook and cranny, and even manicured the lawn. Good going. But to keep your home in prime condition, inside and out, you have to go beyond the daily superficial tasks. Once you have the keys, a large part of homeownership involves seasonal upkeep. After all, not only do you want to live in an attractive home, but you want to keep up the property’s value. With that in mind, there’s much to do year-round. Sure, it sounds overwhelming on the face of it, but, thankfully, you can divide these tasks easily according to seasons. Depending on where you live, each season requires specific upkeep. In addition, however, some chores need attention each month and others twice a year. Typically, you’ll find that spring and fall will keep you the busiest, depending on where you live. Of course, you can DIY many of these chores, but it’s also good to know that you can hire them out to share the burden.
Here’s a comprehensive list of tasks that will keep your home in top condition for years to come.
- Check the water softener and replenish salt if necessary.
- Clean faucet aerators and showerheads to remove mineral deposits.
- Inspect tub and sink drains for debris; unclog if necessary.
- Vacuum AC/heat registers and vents.
- Clean the garbage disposal by grinding ice cubes, then flushing with hot water and baking soda. Don’t forget to remove the black rubber splash guard and clean it thoroughly. Food bits stick to the underside, and it gets really gross.
- Clean the range hood, including the filter.
- Clean ceiling light fixtures and wipe fan blades.
- Clean your washing machine using cleaning tablets like Affresh or running a cycle with hot water and bleach. Use the same method for your dishwasher. Beware of using white vinegar as some recommend because the acid can eat away at hoses and cause leaks, leaving you not only with a damaged appliance, but it could mean replacing wood flooring or carpeting too.
- AC pros recommend that you change your air conditioning filters every 45 days.
- Clean and sanitize your kitchen trash and recycle bins.
- Early in the season, have your indoor and outdoor spaces sprayed for pests. By doing it at the start of spring, you can attack nests and colonies before they have time to come for you later in the season.
- Change your water filter if your refrigerator uses one – you should change it twice a year.
- Inspect roof for leaks and missing, loose, or damaged shingles or tiles.
- Clean window screens.
- Reseal the deck, fence, and outdoor wood furniture.
- Power-wash windows and siding.
- Remove leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts. It’s critical to channel water from the roof and direct it away from the house because gutters in proper working condition help protect the shingles, the wood under the eaves, siding, flooring, and landscaping from a host of water-related problems that can easily become expensive repairs. And no matter where you live, clogged gutters can draw mosquitos, mold, and mildew from decomposed leaves.
- Replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Have a professional inspect and pump the septic tank if needed.
- Inspect sink, shower, and bath caulking for deterioration.
- Vacuum lint from the dryer vent and clean your refrigerator coils.
- Repair or replace caulking and weather stripping around windows and doors.
- Remove the insulation from outdoor faucets and pipes and check sprinkler heads.
- Service the air-conditioning system.
- Drain or flush the water heater.
- Fertilize your lawn.
- Sharpen lawnmower blades.
- If you live on the East Coast, prep hurricane shutters and check that your generator is in working order.
- Seal any holes where rodents can enter your house. Check openings around the foundation, and don’t forget to look at any loose faucets. Get a spray can of foam to seal up most openings. It works, and it’s cheap.
- Have your air conditioner serviced. You can do it yourself by cleaning the coils and washing the condenser outside if needed. Trim any bushes or plants growing near the condenser, and make sure its drain line isn’t clogged.
- If you’re done using your heater, change your furnace filter. That way, it will be ready for fall.
- Clean the grill by taking it apart and replacing any broken or rusted out parts. Make sure you have full propane tanks. If your budget allows, check with professional grill cleaners. It’ll cost you, but they can make a tired grill sparkle like new.
- Switch your ceiling fans back to the counter-clockwise position, which produces a downward breeze to cool you off.
- Clean and sanitize your outdoor trash and recycle bins.
- Trim shrubs and plants. Add mulch to plant beds to minimize weeds and retain moisture. You still have time to plant summer flowers, including marigolds, asters, hibiscus, and zinnias. In addition, consider planting cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, and peppers for your vegetable garden.
- If you live in a humid climate, then you’ll want to check the humidity inside your home. Too much moisture in the air, and you risk damage to hardwoods and wood furnishings, and it could lead to mold growth. Using a dehumidifier in the summer will work to fight off humidity. If you’re already using one, make sure to clean it and check that it’s working properly.
- Inspect your chimney flue at the beginning and end of fireplace season. Periodic inspections will uncover minor problems before they turn into major ones. Make sure that you have a chimney cap, which will keep birds and other animals from getting inside.
- Replace furnace filters (if you didn’t do this in the spring), and check that it’s working properly.
- Depending on where you live, bring in plants.
- Drain and store hoses – again, this depends on how cold it gets where you live. If you have mild winters where it never freezes, you don’t have to worry.
- Put away or cover lawn furniture, including umbrellas.
- Trim the dead limbs from trees. You don’t want them to fall during winter when snow, rain, wind, and ice can cause damage.
- Rake those leaves. Sure, they look like the epitome of autumn when they blanket your yard, but if you leave them too long, they can suffocate your lawn because that dense layer of pretty leaves prevents the ground beneath from absorbing air, sunlight, and nutrients, leaving your yard exposed to disease and pests.
- Clean out gutters and downspouts once the leaves have stopped falling. Yes, you have to do this chore at least twice a year. Check to make sure your gutters are all connected and in decent shape.
- Check those holes and gaps you filled in during spring to keep pests out of your house. With winter coming, critters are looking for a warm place to stay.
- If you live in snowy climes, check that your driveway and walkways are in good condition. A loose brick on a walkway step hidden by snow is courting disaster – and a possible claim on your homeowner’s insurance.
- Before the snow comes, check that your snowblower works, load up on ice melt, replace or repair snow shovels and ice scrapers, and restock safety kits in cars.
- Check your weather stripping and caulking around windows and doors, and add door sweeps to keep drafts and pests out.
- If you have window air conditioning units and live in a frigid area, remove them if possible. If not, then wrap the units with insulated covers to keep frigid air out.
- Clean out that dryer vent again. Static electricity loves the dry fall weather, and you don’t want to risk it igniting any built-up lint.
- Check fire extinguishers because ‘tis the season for fireplaces, wood stoves, and candles. If you use the spray canned fire extinguishers, look at the expiration date. Since you’ll be spending more time indoors, might as well check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors again. If they’re not hard-wired, make sure you have fresh batteries.
- Reverse your ceiling fans so that the blades rotate clockwise in cooler weather so that the warm air that rises gets pushed down.
- Prevent your pipes from freezing. Remember that when water freezes, it expands and that can wreak havoc on your pipes, causing them to burst. Insulate any pipes and faucets that are near doors, windows, or in unheated areas. If you leave home for a few days in the winter, don’t set your thermostat lower than 55 degrees if you live in a region that freezes.
- Stormy weather is no fun if you’re not prepared. Stock some bottled water, non-perishable food, flashlights and batteries, and a first-aid kit. Oh, and if you know a storm is heading your way, keep your phone charged.
- If you have a leaky basement with a sump pump, this is the time to make sure it’s working. You can test it by slowly pouring a couple of gallons of water into the pit and checking if the pump turns on.
- Check your roof carefully for broken tiles or loose or missing shingles. And don’t forget to look for damaged seals around vents and the chimney. And if you have a flat roof, be sure to remove any leaves or debris that can hold moisture.
- Flush your hot water tank to remove any accumulated sediment. If you’re in a frigid region, then wrap the water heater with an insulating blanket, which prevents it from losing heat if it’s in an unheated area.