Congratulations on owning your home for a year! We hope that you’ve enjoyed your time settling in and enjoying your space. Now that a year has come and gone, we wanted to send along a checklist of some key items to start keeping an eye on in order to keep your home in the best condition.
To help manage the checklist, we broke it down by season, but feel free to jump in where it makes sense for you. Additionally, there may be a couple of items that are mentioned more than once. These items are ones that may need to be maintained a bit more frequently so we placed them strategically throughout the year, but you can adjust as needed! Additionally, each home is different, so there may be additional items to consider that you’ll want to add to this routine maintenance checklist.
Fall Maintenance Checklist
- Gutters - Be sure to clean and inspect your gutters once the leaves fall. Any repairs that need to be done on the gutters or downspouts should happen before winter.
- Sprinklers - Make sure to shut off your sprinkler system for the winter to protect it from harsh weather and prevent a high repair bill in the springtime. You should shut off the water supply to your irrigation system before freezing weather arrives. Insulate the main shut-off valve and any above-ground pipes, and shut down the timer if you have an automatic system. Finally, drain the remaining water from the system.
- Furnace and HVAC - Get your furnace and ductwork serviced to ensure that you don’t get left in the cold once winter comes along. A clean system will be more energy-efficient and an inspection will alert you to problems. Make sure to check and replace air filters as needed. Test your thermostat to make sure that it works properly. Finally, be sure that heating vents are open and nothing is blocking them.
- Boilers and radiators - Homes that are heating with steam heat use a boiler. The boiler is the tank that holds and heats up the water. A plumber can perform an annual checkup. Additionally, you should drain the water from the boiler to remove any sediment that has collected & settled. Be sure that the tank is refilled before turning it on. A plumber or heating specialist can also check your radiators to make sure they are working properly and that the valves have not worn out.
- Chimney - Call a chimney sweep now and have it done before you start using your fireplace or your furnace.
- Winterize exterior plumbing - When water freezes in pipes, it expands and damages or cracks the pipes. To prevent this from happening, you should shut off and drain any outdoor faucets before cold weather hits and insulate pipes where you can.
- Inspect dryer vents - Clothes dryers cause 2,900 fires a year, with many of those fires happening in the fall and winter according to the United States Fire Administration. Lint is a major culprit with this, so be sure to have your dryer vent inspected and cleaned annually by an HVAC specialist.
- Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors - This is one of the items that you probably want to check at least twice a year. As a rule of thumb, test your smoke & carbon monoxide detectors at the same time that you adjust your clocks for daylight savings.
Winter Maintenance Checklist
- Ice dams - When ice builds up along the eaves of your roof, it can cause a dam that can damage gutters, shingles, and siding. These can also result in water leaks into your house, which can damage paint, floors, and insulation. Throughout the winter, be sure to inspect your home for any signs of ice dams. A roof rake is a great investment that will help you prevent ice on your roof by removing fresh snow from your roof after a storm.
- Heating systems - Check & change your heating system filters, as filters need to be replaced anywhere from twice a year to once a month. Also, keep an eye on your builder to make sure water levels do not fall too low.
- Check caulking around showers and bathtubs; repair as needed - Keep moisture in check by touching up the caulking around showers and bathtubs to keep these areas looking clean and fresh.
Spring Maintenance Checklist
- Inspect exterior - Take a walk around the outside of the home and look for any areas in need of repair. Are there cracks in the concrete? Is the driveway in good condition? Check the roof for signs of broken or loose shingles. Is the chimney showing signs of wear? Are the facade and foundation cracking or showing signs of water pooling? Now is the time to deal with any of the repairs that you may notice.
- Gutters - Check for any signs of damage and unclog your gutters as needed. Clogged gutters can cause a roof to leak or water to make its way into your home. This should be done twice a year which is why we mentioned it on the fall checklist as well.
- Clean the exterior - Spring is a great time to give your home a thorough wash. Take the storm windows off to wash the windows, inside and out. Additionally, be sure to clean off the facade of the home to remove any grit. The easiest way to do this is to close all windows & doors, cover the ground and hedges, and get out the hose! While some invest in a power washer, it may not be necessary and can damage the siding or masonry. You can attach a siding cleaning kit to your hose to aid with the process.
- HVAC systems - For homes with central air, call your HVAC technician to schedule the system’s biannual checkup and servicing if needed. The technician can also check the ductwork for signs of damage as well as clean & service the furnace and A/C compressor. If your air conditioning was checked in the fall with your heating systems, you do not need to do this again. HVAC heating and A/C systems should each be serviced once a year.
- Sump pump - Check your sump pump to make sure it’s draining properly. You don’t want to wait for a major snow thaw or rainstorm to find out that it’s not!
- Smoke alarm & carbon monoxide detectors - As you change your clocks this spring for daylight savings, take some time to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. This is a task that should be done twice a year to protect you and your family.
Summer Maintenance Checklist
- Air-conditioning filters - Whether you have central air-conditioning or window units, you should clean your filters at least once a month, especially if you’ve been running the A/C a lot.
- Bugs and other pests - Termites, ants, carpenter bees, and mice are all pests that you might encounter as homeowners. The summer is the perfect time to check for any signs of these common nuisances. Some infestations, like a single trail of ants, can be resolved with a can of spray and thorough cleaning. However, others such as termites demand professional assistance. If you have continual pest problems, you can consider an annual contract to aid with the fees.
- Inspect plumbing for leaks - Go around and check all of your faucets & toilets for any small leaks. Catching small leaks now can save you from having a big mess on your hands down the line.
To help keep you organized, we’ve included a free digital downloadable checklist here!