Sticking to a year-round home maintenance checklist is much easier than waiting for something to go wrong and paying for expensive repairs. Therefore, proactively maintaining the condition of your home is essential for keeping your costs down and preventing headaches down the road. This checklist is vital for maintaining and preserving your home for many years to come.
Doing year-round maintenance on your home ensures that you and your family are always happy, relaxed, comfortable, and safe and sound – all of the elements needed to feel protected and secure in your abode. Another benefit? It prevents you from having to continuously spend money to “fix” things inside or outside of your home.
Not sure what you need to look for? Well, today is your lucky day — because listed below is a detailed checklist of things you need to inspect throughout the year to keep you home in tip-top shape.
Seasonal Home Maintenance Tips
Listed below are seasonal tips to help you maintain your home through all seasons:
- Spring (rain-rain-rain go away) – During the spring months (March, April, and May), examine your home for any damage that was done to it during the colder winter months. This is also the time to safeguard your home against wind and rain damage and prepare for the upcoming hot summer months.
- Summer (it is about to get hot-hot-hot) – Summer months (June, July, and August) come with intense rainstorms and blistering heat – both of which can wreak havoc on your home. The goal for surviving the summer season in Florida? Make sure your home is energy-efficient.
- Fall (break out the pumpkin pie and apple cider) – Cooler temps typically creep in during the fall (September, October, and November). It will be winter soon, so this is the perfect time to start prepping your home (inside and out) for the onslaught of chilly weather, blustery wind, and falling leaves.
- Winter (ice-ice baby) – Although we are fortunate to live in Florida where ice and snow are infrequent and winter temperatures are more mild, the winter months (December, January, and February) can still bring harsh and unpredictable weather. Temperatures can drop unexpectedly and cause issues for many residents. This is the time of year to ensure your home is protected against frozen pipes and/or unruly wild animals seeking shelter.
Year-Round Maintenance Checklist
Listed below is a year-round home maintenance checklist that can save you tons of money on costly repairs:
Install or Check Smoke Detectors
Guess what? Some insurance companies offer a 5% discount on your monthly home insurance bill when you have smoke detectors in it. This provides you with a $7 decrease in your monthly home insurance costs.
The truth is going without smoke detectors is not only costly but also dangerous and life-threatening. In fact, approximately 53% of fatalities are due to house fires stemming from faulty or absent smoke detectors.
***So, install and check your smoke detectors at least twice a year and replace them if they are over a decade old.
Examine & Clean Refrigerator Condenser Coils
You’ll also need to keep a check on your refrigerator condenser coils. These coils are located either along the bottom of your fridge or at the back of it. When these coils get backed-up or clogged with dust, dirt, grime, pet hair, dead bugs, and/or cobwebs, they are prevented from emitting heat properly. The compressor is then forced to work harder (then designed) to perform. When this occurs, your fridge uses more energy than normal, which puts it at risk for burnout (short lifespan).
So, examine and clean these coils with a flexible brush (designed to clean coils). Then, use a handheld vacuum to remove any dust and grime from them.
Look for High Water Pressure
Have you checked your water pressure lately? If so, what was it? If not, it’s time you do just that! Normal water pressure typically ranges from 40 to 50 psi.
It should not go past 60 psi; however, some pressure regulators allow you to adjust the pressure up to 75 psi. If you check your water pressure and it goes over 75 psi something is wrong – something that needs to be addressed (repaired or replaced) ASAP.
Water pressure valves are normally found near the main water shut-off valve. However, not all homes have water pressure valves. It just depends on your city or town. Checking your water pressure is important because high pressure can damage your valves, connections, pipes, and appliances. It can also lead to significant water loss.
Note: Many homeowners neglect to check for high water pressure when performing monthly or yearly maintenance functions.
If needed, you can find pressure-reducing valves and gauges at your local supply store (i.e. Lowes, Home Depot, Ace Hardware, etc.). You can also order them from Amazon.
Reinforce Loose Deck Posts & Railings
At some point, you’ll need to check for loose or wobbly deck posts and railings. Over time these posts and railings tend to loosen due to the weather and aging. You’ll know the post and/or railing is loose if you lean against it and the rim joist tightens or contracts.
You can remedy this problem by adding pressure-treated blocking to the railing or post to stiffen the rim joist. This will make the post and/or railing feel firmer, while you make repairs to it. Next, you’ll need to tighten any weak bolts or screws. If the post or railing doesn’t have bolts attached to them, you’ll need to purchase some.
If possible, purchase carriage bolts, because they are more effective.
Carbon Dioxide Detectors
You’ll also want to purchase or inspect existing carbon dioxide detectors on every level of your home. Carbon dioxide is a silent killer, so it’s important for your own safety to have them installed and properly working in your home. Check and/or change the batteries at least once per year.
If you don’t already have one or more of these lifesavers in your home, you need to get one or more of them ASAP. The good news is you can purchase these devices at almost any store – even grocery ones.
Inspect Your Roof
When was the last time you inspected your roof? Never? Well, it’s time to do just that. It is important that you periodically examine your roof for weak spots. Wind and heavy rain can cause “wet spot discolorations” on your walls and ceilings. So, it’s important to inspect your roof every year, preferably once spring hits. Look for possible problems like loose shingles or “soft areas” on your roof.
If you only have a couple of problem areas, you may able to “fix” those areas without replacing your whole roof. But, you’ll have to catch it early. One way to handle this situation is by having solar shingles installed on your roof. These shingles are not only cost-effective but also durable. They are also attractive so they blend well with the rest of your house’s exterior.
If you don’t feel comfortable climbing on your roof, you can always hire a roofing professional to inspect your roof for you.
Power Wash the Exterior of Your Home
Don’t forget to power wash your home once a year. In other words, clean the exterior walls of your home. This is a good way to keep your house looking fresh and clean all year long. Power washing the outside of your home also prevents mold and mildew accumulation, which can destroy siding and lead to massive water damage.
You can make your own power wash solution by mixing 2 cups of bleach and one cup of detergent into a gallon of water. Then, scrub the areas (siding) with a soft-bristled brush until clean.
Inspect and Clean Your Gutters & Drains
During the year, you’ll also need to inspect and clean your gutters and drains. Debris like twigs, dirt, and leaves can clog up your gutters. When this occurs, water puddles form when it rains, which then attracts mosquitos and other bugs.
If the gutters are too high, you can hire a gutter professional to come out to your home and clean them. Or, you can purchase a gutter helmet system and clean them yourself. You’ll also want to keep your drains, so they are free of debris.
You can keep your drains clear by periodically flushing them with hot water. This especially important during the colder months, when pipes tend to freeze.
Weatherproof Your Doors and Windows
At least once a year, weatherproof your doors and windows. Examine your doors and windows (especially the trim) and check for cracks in your finish. If need be, close any door gaps and realign the hinges. Keep in mind that if your door isn’t fitting well in its frame, your heater will expend more energy trying to keep your home warm during the colder months and cool during the warmer months. What will this mean for you? High energy costs that can take a toll on the environment and also your wallet.
Also, replace old and cracking windows. If there is condensation (moisture) between the glass panes, or if you have a hard time opening or closing your windows, you may have to replace them. Properly sealed windows will lower your energy costs.
Weatherproof your doors and windows before the “Dog Days of Summer” start barking or “Old Man Winter” pays a visit! It will keep you comfortable indoors and help you save money on utility bills.
Change Your Air Filters
A must-do for all homeowners is to change their air filters. It is important to replace these filters at least every 3 months. This will help your furnace function at an optimal level, thereby increasing its efficiency and keeping energy costs low.
Inspect Entry and Exit Points
Thoroughly inspect the entry points and exit points of your home. At the beginning of each new season, walk around your home and examine the foundation of it. Look for areas where wild animals could enter your home or build nests.
Repair or put up a barrier to keep unwanted critters and people from entering your home.
Insulate Your Pipes
Before the cooler temps prevail, you’ll need to insulate your pipes. In other words, make sure your pipes are padded, secure, and functioning properly. Why? Because there is a lower risk of freezing pipes if they are well-insulated.
Check the pipes in your walls, attics, basements, etc. to make sure they are in tip-top shape before winter hits.
Call an AC Professional
It’s always best to have your AC (air conditioner) and heating system checked before winter and summer. Therefore, invest in your system by hiring an AC professional to inspect and clean it twice a year.
If you live in a particularly warm or hot climate (Florida), you don’t want to spend the entire summer languishing in sweltering heat with no AC, so have your system checked in the spring to help prevent this tragedy from occurring.
An AC professional will look for any damage that occurred during the colder months, so you can have it repaired before it gets too hot outside.
Owning a home is the American dream, a privilege and a big investment – a financial investment, and emotional investment, and physical investment. So, it just makes sense that you’ll want to keep it in tip-top shape. Proactive home maintenance is the key to preserving your home so it remains beautiful and functioning for decades to come.
Just like the condition of your mind and body are important, so is the state of your home. And, just like you get a physical each year to determine the health of your body, a year-round maintenance checklist is essential to keeping your home in its best condition – inside and out.
So, make time to check, inspect, clean, and maintain the interior and exterior of your home, along with your appliances, heating and cooling system, airflow functions, plumbing, safety, and electrical/gas systems.
Why? Because it will lower your risk of failures, and save you a boatload of money while ensuring that you have the best looking and most efficient house on the block. If you rely on this handy checklist throughout the year, you can’t go wrong. It will help you schedule seasonal inspections, make the necessary home repairs, clean the grime out of your systems, and remind you to call professionals when you need additional expertise.
- Ahrens, M. (2019). Smoke alarms in U.S. home fires.National Fire Protection Association. Retrieved fromhttps://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/Data-research-and-tools/Detection-and-Signaling/Smoke-Alarms-in-US-Home-Fires
- Olya,G. (2019). Top 31 home insurance discounts that save the most.GO Banking Rates. Retrieve from https://www.gobankingrates.com/investing/real-estate/top-home-insurance-discounts-save-most/#10
- Stickley, A. (2020). How to test your home’s water pressure.The Spruce.Retrieved from https://www.thespruce.com/testing-water-pressure-in-your-home-2718692