Our homes need maintenance year-round but sometimes we might forget what to check or the tasks seem never-ending. Here are some tips that we hope will be helpful to you.
A couple of times each year, it’s a good idea to purposefully walk around your home and property and make a list of things you notice that need attention. Don’t forget to budget for bigger repairs such as the replacement of the parts of the home that do inevitably wear out such as the roof or HVAC system.
There are many helpful YouTube videos online that can be found for almost any home maintenance & repair topic, or definitely consider getting bids from licensed contractors if any task is too big or beyond your comfort level.
Here are some seasonal reminders for you to consider:
- Grade soil, bark, and gravel so they’re at least 4-6” below siding and trim; slope to drain water away from the foundation.
- Check gutters for blockages and remove debris as needed.
- Look in your attic for signs of roof leaks, particularly when snow melts or after a significant rain.
- Check your roof for small branches or other debris built up over the winter; no debris should build up, particularly in the roof valleys.
- Check the roof for damaged or missing shingles that may leak once winter weather hits; contact a licensed roofing company for repair as needed.
- Check garage door sensors for proper function; repair as needed.
- Open crawl space vents early in the spring! Check screens to be sure they are not blocked by spider webs or debris and to ensure they have not been damaged so they continue to keep critters out.
- Have an HVAC technician service and inspect your cooling system before hot weather hits.
- Turn off pilot lights for gas fireplaces for the summer months.
- Spring forward – when you change your clocks, test all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
- Clean wood decks; stain and seal as needed. Check for trip hazards; repair loose boards as needed.
- Check your siding; caulk windows and door penetrations as needed. Repair or caulk damaged siding.
- Paint exterior as needed. Take necessary precautions for lead-based paint if your home was built prior to 1978.
- Go in your crawl space; run the water at the various fixtures first to check for leaks. Check for signs of excessive dampness, or signs that rodents or critters have taken up residence.
- Clean lint from your clothes dryer venting system. Clothes dryers in the interior of the home will have a longer duct to the exterior of the home and this ducting should be cleaned out.
- Check faucet aerators and shower-heads for proper flow and clean as needed.
- Have carpets professionally cleaned as needed.
- Clean sliding glass door and window tracks as needed.
- Check driveways, patios, walkways, etc. for trip hazards. Repair cracks and gaps as needed.
- Drain your water heater tank outside to clean sediment from the bottom of the tank.
- Prune trees as needed, you can check with your local Extension office for publications specific to different tree varieties. In general, you want to keep limbs and leaves at least 6” away from the roof and siding. Some larger tree branches may sag a few feet with the addition of heavy snow or ice and may scrape the house.
- Check your roof for small branches or other debris built up over the winter; no debris should build up particularly in the roof valleys.
- After trees have lost their leaves, inspect gutters for blockages and remove debris as needed.
- Install splash blocks or extend downspouts away from home to help prevent moisture from draining into the crawl space.
- Vacuum and clean dust from baseboard or electric wall heaters.
- Have an HVAC technician service and inspect your heating system before cold weather hits.
- Hire a chimney sweep to clean and inspect your fireplace and wood stove flue.
- Check and recharge fire extinguishers annually; fall is a good time before using your heating system again.
- Fall back – when you change your clocks, test all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
- Review your family fire escape plan.
- Disconnect, drain and store garden hoses and sprinklers.
- Drain and winterize in-ground sprinkler systems.
- Close the crawl space vents for the winter.
- Check and repair weather stripping and thresholds around doors.
- Insulate any plumbing in the crawl space that is exposed, especially if it is near a crawl space vent.
- Ice melting products can be really hard on concrete; use sparingly only when necessary.
- Have one or more electric space heaters available as a backup for emergencies; especially if your heat source is natural gas or oil heat.
- Check bathroom fixtures for damaged caulk and/or grout. Repair as needed.
- Clean kitchen exhaust hood and air filter.
- Check the hoses for cracks or bubbles in dishwasher, refrigerators, and clothes washer water lines.
- Patch and paint interior walls as needed.
- Once per month, operate the test buttons on your GFCI outlets for proper function. Test not only that the button trips when pushed but also that the outlet does indeed go dead. You can plug a lamp into the controlled outlet to verify this, or basic outlet testers are very inexpensive and easily found at hardware stores.
- Change furnace filters as needed. Most experts recommend every 3 months in general, but some systems or homes may benefit from more frequent changes.
- Clean fogged fireplace glass as per the manufacturers recommendations before the fog etches the glass.
- Clean garbage disposals with a few pieces of lemon and some ice cubes to help prevent odors.