Tips for keeping your home running in tip top shape broken down into monthly, quarterly and annually
Owning a home comes with many obvious advantages, but one notable disadvantage is that you are now solely responsible for the maintenance and repair of your home. You can’t just simply call your landlord when something goes wrong. Some maintenance and repair issues will be more obvious than others. So to make sure you’ve got everything covered, keep along this handy home maintenance checklist around to stay on track.
- Clean the Furnace Filter – Even after just a month of use, your furnace and air conditioning filters start to build up with dust– leading to less efficient devices, contaminated air, and higher home energy bills.
- Examine Grout and Caulking – Areas with high levels of moisture like the bathroom and kitchen can be especially susceptible to mold and mildew growth, which could be hazardous to your health. Thoroughly clean and replace all grout and caulking as needed. This can also contribute to unwanted air and moisture leaks – another cause of higher utility bills.
- Check Visible Pipes for Leaks – You might not even notice it, but you could be losing gallons of water per day from a leaky pipe under the sink. Also check piping around your hot water heater and even pool pumps (and heaters) if you own one.
- Test All Carbon Monoxide/Smoke Detectors – There are ways to test it before a disaster occurs. Almost all detectors contain a ‘test’ button which when held down, will produce a disconcerting noise.
- Conduct a Refrigerator Inventory – You’d be surprised how long a molding block of cheese can sit in your fridge before you notice it, so keep it healthy and sanitary by conducting a thorough inventory and cleaning each month.
- Enhance Air-Tightness – Seasonal changes call for more attention to the insulation in your home, so be sure to examine and adjust door sweeps, weather-stripping, and thresholds all around the home. Holding a piece of tissue paper up to the edges of your doors and windows is an easy way to tell if there is a draft coming through.
- Clean Out the Gutters – Leaves and debris can quickly build up in gutters and downspouts, causing irreparable damage. Clean these areas out completely and consider installing gutter filters.
- Trim Trees and Shrubs – To help keep large and small debris from damaging your home, trim back overgrown tree branches and shrubs every few months.
- Power Wash Windows and Siding – Not just for aesthetic benefits, power washing can prevent stains and mold growth, while improving the value of your home.
- Clean Windows and Windowsills – Use Windex, Mr. Clean Erasers, and other heavy-duty cleaners to get the job done. Remove screens and hose them down as well to get rid of web, insects and fallen debris.
- Drain Water Heater – This helps remove particle buildup, in turn keeping your water supply clean.
- Inspect the Foundation – Look for cracks in the interior or exterior walls, as well as warping and unlevel surfaces. Finding these problems early can literally save you thousands of dollars in foundation repair bills.
- Inspect and Pump Septic Tank – You’ll need a professional for this one, but you can help by keeping record of any notable complications and patterns with your home plumbing system.
- Shampoo and Vacuum Carpets – You might also need a professional for this job, but minor cases can get by with DIY carpet shampoo and a high-powered vacuum. Consider renting a steam cleaner for an extra thorough job.
- Clean A/C Coils – Especially important before summer, make sure to have your A/C coils cleaned by a professional, with a serve check-up on the entire unit. This prevents unexpected problems when the heat reaches its peak and can also make your unit run more efficiently.
These 15 steps are basic household maintenance chores that should be done without question. However, there are a plethora of other items that you [or hire a pro] can perform to keep your home in tip-top shape and potentially lower expensive monthly utility bills.