A Year in the Life | Home Maintenance Checklists for Every Season
In the never-ending journey of homeownership, it can feel like each new season brings a whole host of problems to solve — some are time-sensitive and some are just convenience, but which is which? Below, we list a few of the most important and prevalent seasonal inspection items. However, every home is different. Especially in an older home, your seasonal maintenance list may include more or less per season. Always conduct your own research or consult with an expert before embarking on a brand-new task.
There are a few items that should be inspected every month or two to ensure your home is running at peak efficiency, which will save money and time in the future. A good rule of thumb to guide timing for these year-round tasks is how often you use the item. If you use it year-round, you should inspect it year-round. The best examples are bathrooms, kitchens, and the equipment therein; this includes cleaning faucet aerators, clearing drains and garbage disposals, and flushing hot water heaters. Additionally, you should regularly inspect electrical cords, dryer and other air vents, and smoke/carbon-monoxide detectors to make sure they are in safe working order.
Fortunately, most big-ticket maintenance items can be completed seasonally, and most can be accomplished by the homeowner alone. Nonetheless, always seek the guidance of a professional if any task is dangerously out of your wheelhouse.
Generally, the mild weather makes fall an opportune time to take care of any significant home improvement or maintenance outdoors, such as replacing windows, exterior painting, and roofing. In addition to the raking and other yardwork best done before it snows, there are tasks that must be completed before it gets too cold such as inspecting and cleaning fireplaces and chimneys; clearing gutters; winterizing hoses, sprinklers, and other exterior plumbing; re-sealing the gaps around exterior windows and doors; and fixing any cracks on sidewalks or driveways. Taking care of these chores during fair weather will save a lot of headaches once the winter sets in!
While fall is the perfect time to focus on the exterior, winter is a great time for interior maintenance, such as vacuuming and sealing air vents, replacing the batteries in smoke/carbon-monoxide detectors, and deep-cleaning carpets and rugs. Since the outside is like one big refrigerator anyway, simply place all your food in coolers and take the opportunity to deep-clean your fridge and freezer. Lastly, there are a few as-needed items following a winter weather event, like inspecting the basement, roof, and gutters for leaks and damage.
Like the fall, pleasant spring weather means easily-accomplished exterior maintenance. However, instead of preparing for the cold, springtime work focuses on protecting your home from the hot, humid summer months. Replacing the air-conditioner filter (or simply scheduling a service appointment), repairing weather stripping, cleaning gutters, power-washing, and cleaning and repairing door and window screens will ensure your home is operating at peak efficiency for the summer months.
The long, hot days of summer are great for spending time outdoors — for leisure, of course; not so much for yardwork or exterior maintenance. Thus, like the winter, summer is a great time to focus on your home’s interior. Use the opportunity to leave the windows open and deep-clean bathrooms and laundry areas: re-seal tile grout, remove mold and mildew, sanitize washing machine hoses, and repair any leaks. Expand the deep-clean to the kitchen to clean the oven and exhaust filters, and inspect the refrigerator and dishwasher for leaks, changing the filters if necessary. Also, take advantage of warm temperatures by oiling squeaky door hinges.
Rather than being overwhelmed by tasks, take the maintenance one step at a time. Hopefully these suggestions help seasonal home maintenance feel like less of an ordeal and more of a few simple boxes on a to-do list. Use the sample list as a starting point for your own maintenance checklist. Happy checking! ✦