Home Maintenance Checklist

home maintenance checklist

home maintenance checklistThank you for checking out our Home Maintenance Checklist.  You can download a simple version of it here.  Please feel free to download, print, or forward it on to help keep up with the maintenance of your home.  Our home maintenance checklist is designed to help break down the regular home maintenance tasks into small and easy tasks to complete monthly, quarterly, and seasonally.

Monthly Home Maintenance Checklist Tasks

Monthly tasks on the home maintenance checklist can easily be done in an hour or two depending on how large your home is and if you do them monthly.  If you let calcium build up so much on your shower head that none of the nozzles spray in the right direction, it may take you longer than it should.  As they say, an ounce of prevention…  I like to do my monthly home maintenance checklist one item at a time.  I find that I don’t miss things that way.  Some people like to do the checklist in each room, but that just does not work for me.  Do it how you wish.

Change your furnace filters.  This is very easy to do and if you are also using our home energy efficiency checklist, it is a duplicate.  It is on both lists because it is that important.  Here is a simple tip for you to improve your filter maintenance.  Set a calendar reminder that alerts you every month on Saturday or Sunday in the morning that reminds you to change the filter(s) in your furnace, air conditioner, and/or heat pump.  Want to make it easier on yourself?  Put the size of your filters in the subject of the reminder so you never forget them.    Replace air handler air filters today (15”x15”x1”).  Air filters are cheap, but the efficiency they create more than pays for them each month.  I also recommend you buy a one year supply of them at a time.  You won’t replace them if you don’t have them handy.  Trust me.
test smoke alarmsTest ALL Smoke / Carbon Monoxide detectors.  All is caps because we all have one or two of these that we forget about.  Mine is in the basement.  Semi-Pro tip:  Write down the locations of all of them on the back of the home maintenance checklist sheet.  That way you won’t forget.  Just make sure to check them all.  It is a good habit to replace the batteries every 6 months regardless of whether or not they are still working.
Check salt in your water softener.  This one is pretty self explanatory.  Keep two bags on hand all the time so you don’t have to go to the store if you are low.  If you use a bag, replace it on your next trip to the store.
Run water through all sinks and flush all toilets.  Have you ever had that terrible raw sewage smell coming out of your bathroom and not been able to figure it out?  If you don’t use those sinks or tubs, then the drain traps dry out and let the smell from the sewer come up through them.  It is also a good habit to get in just to make sure you don’t have any leaks or running toilets.
Clean out garbage disposal.  This is another pretty self explanatory one.  Like Nike says, Just Do It.
Check fire extinguisher(s).  Please tell me you have at least one of them under the kitchen sink.  If you have a second floor, you should probably also have one up there in a central location so anyone can get to it from their bedroom quickly.  Just because they are there, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check them.  Another bonus of having this on the home maintenance checklist is that it gives you the opportunity to always know where they are, and also talk to your family about how to use them and plan a meeting place in case the house does catch fire.
clogged drainClean out hair and debris from sinks and drains.  My wife has red hair and it is the consistency of barge rope, so I have to do this regularly to be able to shower and not have the water get up to my ankles.  You may not have that problem, but you still want to keep them maintained so you never get into a clog situation.
Clean calcium or lime deposits from aerators and shower heads.  The high levels of limestone in our water make for great bourbon.  Unfortunately it wreaks havoc on anything in your home that water runs through.  I have found that it is easiest to pour a mixture of water and either CLR or Lime Away in a bowl.  I then go around and remove all the aerators and shower heads from their fixtures and soak them in the bowl.  After about 15-30 minutes (as I am doing other things on the checklist), I come back and brush them out.  Some might require a toothpick to get in the tough spots.  Then I rinse them and put them all back.

Quarterly (Best done in January, April, July, and October)

Quarterly tasks on the home maintenance checklist may take longer because they often lead to a larger project.  Inspecting turns into cleaning or repairing.  Try to do it all in the same day so it gets done.  If you can’t, just make sure to put a reminder on your phone to try again in a few days.

Spring Maintenance (April)

spray for bugsSpray bug spray outside.  This is generally a spring and summer specific task, but it really just matters when you start to see them coming, so do it as needed.  After the first heavy spring rains, the little ants start to try and invade.  Don’t forget to do inside the garage and in the crawl space if you have one.
Inspect roof, gutters, and siding.
  You are looking for any damage from ice, snow and wind.  Loose shingles are common.  While you are on the roof, give the chimney and all the pipe boots / vents a look to make sure they don’t need to have more sealant put on them.
Clean out previous years’ dead growth from landscaping.  This is a good time to get rid of stubborn weeds from last year, as they are vulnerable.  Dig them up at the root.  Put down any new landscape cloth to stop them from coming up before they start.
Open and close windows to check functionality.  Believe it or not, we live on top of sinkholes and all sorts of other things that cause houses to settle.  Checking your windows will help you understand and fix any issues before they get too bad.  While you are at it, clean out those window wells and sills.  Chances are, they are dead bug graveyards.  Inspect all the window screens to make sure the friendly neighborhood squirrels have not tried to chew through them.
Check all your doors, especially exterior ones.  Again, house settling is common.  Open and close all the doors in the house to make sure they all function properly.  Take a can of WD40 with you as you go and spray all the hinges and metal contact points.  No more squeaky doors and sticking handles.  Check your exterior doors for any rot or other drafty spots that need to be filled in or new weather stripping applied.
Grease garage door chain, rollers, and tracks.  Once a year is good for this.  Just make sure to get all the areas done.  Not only will it extend the life of your opener, but it will also be much quieter.  While you are in the garage, think of insulating your garage door.  You can get inexpensive kits to do this.  It makes a huge difference.

Summer Maintenance (July)

pressure washing sidingPressure wash siding, porch, decks, etc.  Keeping these areas clean make your home look nice and also prevent nasty repairs from sneaking up on you.  If you see something that needs replaced as you are cleaning them, make sure to get it done before it gets bad.  It is also a good time to freshen up your stain on any wood areas.
Inspect roof, gutters, and siding.  You are looking for any damage from weather mostly.  Keep an eye on trees growing over or into your house.  They will cause you trouble if you don’t watch out.  Clean out the gutters if they need it and make sure everything else is in good working order.  While you are on the roof, give the chimney and all the pipe boots / vents a look to make sure they don’t need to have more sealant put on them.
Caulk any drafty windows.  I am sure you are doing this seasonally on the home energy savings checklist, but in case you forgot, just take a look at the key places you can get drafts.
Check door seals for drafts.  As I learned, when you put a 3rd coat of paint on your door, you may need a new seal.  That paint sticking sound drove me nuts until I did.
Trim hedges, trees, etc.  Keep them from looking ratty.  This is also a good time to cut those branches back that you always hit your head on while mowing.  Who knows, if you get a big enough pile, maybe you can have a nice bonfire and make smores.

Fall Maintenance (October)

clogged guttersCheck gutters.  It isn’t just leaves you are looking for.  Those nasty worm things and helicopter seeds from trees can cause just as much clogging as leaves can.  And they are much smaller, so you have to get up there and look for them.  Here is a thought.  If you don’t have an extension ladder, certainly one of your neighbors does.  Why not get 2 or 3 of your neighbors together to share the ladder and you can all help each other on each house.  The work will go by quicker, be safer, and afterwards it is a good excuse to have a neighborhood cookout / cornhole competition.  It might be the last one of the year.
Chimney maintenance.  Jolly old Saint Nick is coming in a few months.  Make sure he can get in safely to deliver the goods.  Clean your flue and check the chimney for any cracks that need repair.
Shut off valves to outdoor spigots.  Don’t forget to drain the hoses and put them away.  Bleed any exterior spigots that may freeze once you close them off.
Have maintenance done on heating / AC units.  You can do this in the spring or fall.  I personally don’t like being cold, so I like to do it in the fall to make sure it is good to go for the winter.  Whenever you choose to do it, don’t wait for a hot or cold snap.  They get backed up when everyone turns their stuff on for the first time in months and it does not work.  This maintenance is preventative and should last you an entire year.

Winter Maintenance (January)

couchHonestly, I don’t do much in January except watch football.  If you keep up with our checklists every month and quarter, then you should be able to rest as well.  Chances are you are at the gym for the first few weeks of this month anyway trying out your New Years Resolution.  Just keep an eye on everything.

 

Lady shoveling snowShovel driveway and sidewalk when needed.  It seems silly, but keeping the snow from melting and freezing in the cracks of your concrete will help them stay in good shape.  And as the picture implies, keeps you in good shape too!
Check the sump pump.  As snow collects around the house, make sure your sump pump is pushing it away and the outside drainage is not blocked.  While you are at it, check the pump well to make sure it is free of a bunch of debris, dead possums, etc.  You just never know.  If you do not have one, buy a backup pump that operates on battery power.  Best investment ever.

Hopefully these tips and our home maintenance checklist will help you keep your home running smoothly all year round.  It should also keep your overall maintenance costs low since you will be catching any problems before they are serious.  Let us know if we missed anything.