Homeownership is the American dream, but it’s also a lot of work. Your home is a significant investment and requires a consistent level of upkeep to maintain its efficiency and to protect its value.
It's never too late to set aside some time to build a schedule of your ongoing home maintenance duties. Creating a calendar of anticipated maintenance needs will help you remember key milestones and better prepare for any big expenses.
The following examples of typical home maintenance should be completed at least annually. Consider your home’s specific needs to determine the relevance and timing of each task, and mark your calendar appropriately.
In the spring:
- Inspect the roof for snow damage.
- Examine the condition of glazing compound, caulking, and interior and exterior paint.
- Check for broken glass and screens in windows and storm doors. (It’s also a good idea to do this the fall.)
- Look for evidence of termites such as sagging floors and ceilings or dry, brown tunnels in the ground near the home’s foundation.
- Seed and feed the lawn, plant annuals and trim perennials that need pre-growth pruning.
In the fall:
- Add mulch around perennials that need protection from winter weather.
- Clear the lawn of leaves and reseed patchy areas.
- Inspect the driveway for any cracks, and repair any damage with driveway filler and coat with a commercial sealer.
- Look for any cracks or damage to the fireplace, and have the chimney cleaned by a licensed chimney sweep.
- Inspect the roof, address any damaged shingles or flashings, and remove any debris.
- Ensure gutters are securely fastened to the fascia board and clear them of any debris or build up that could inhibit proper drainage.
- Remove hose connections, then drain and store hoses to keep them from freezing.
- Empty clay pots and planters of all soil, which can freeze and cause the pots to crack.
Anytime throughout the year:
- Check all electrical connections for potential hazards. Pay special attention to any overloaded extension cords, and repair or replace any worn or frayed cords of electrical appliances.
- Test your carbon monoxide, radon and smoke detectors. Clean each unit with a vacuum or cotton swab and replace batteries and light bulbs, if needed.
- Have your heating and air conditioning system(s) inspected and cleaned. If your system has a filter, replace it once every three months.
- Inspect all doors and windows for proper operation and ensure the weather stripping is not cracked or torn.
- Inspect the attic insulation to ensure the entire ceiling area is covered. Insulation should not touch the underside of the roof sheathing, nor should it block vents in the eaves, which could cause condensation buildup and poor air circulation.
- Oil the motors of appliances as directed in their instruction manuals.
- Periodically check storage areas, closets and the basement to ensure that any oily rags, gas cans, paint supplies, cleaning materials or other flammable items have been stored properly.
- Check the functionality of your security system, inspecting each sensor and confirming the primary and backup batteries are in working order.
- Inspect interior stairs and exterior steps for any damage that could cause someone to fall. Make sure handrails and railings are sturdy and securely attached.
The joys of homeownership come with a long list or responsibilities. But staying on top of these duties will help keep your home healthy as the seasons change and the years pass.
For more ideas to maintain your home throughout the year, visit nahb.org/consumers.