Home Maintenance Checklist

Just like cars, your home needs special care to avoid breakdowns and costly repairs throughout the year. Without regular maintenance, you’ll likely stumble upon various frustrating, expensive surprises in your home that’ll cost you valuable time and drain your bank account. But with regular maintenance, you’ll hone your handyperson skills and keep your home in tip-top shape.

The key is making a scheduled checklist that you can follow as the seasons change. Here’s what we recommend:

Your Monthly Maintenance Schedule

Some maintenance items will require more attention than others. Here’s what you should do each month:

Test your alarms and detectors. Your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are crucial to the safety of your family. Check them once a month and be sure to have replacement batteries on hand.

Want to make this step even easier? Invest in smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and you can get reminders when they need attention or detect any dangerous fumes in your home. Plus, you could qualify for a discount on your home insurance!

Check and replace your filters. Your furnace, oven and vent filters should be checked every month to make sure debris isn’t preventing them from doing their job. Stock up on replacement filters for each appliance so you can swap in a new one at a moment’s notice.

Clean your sink and garbage disposal. The pipes connected to your sink and garbage disposal can get clogged with food waste, grime and other material, so clean it out the best you can by running hot water and dish soap down the drain.

Check pipes for clogs. Your kitchen and bathroom drains might not be running efficiently if there’s even a minor blockage in a connected pipe. Check to see if they’re draining slowly by running hot water for about 30 seconds, then use a natural drain cleaning product to knock away the grime.

Clean your air vents. Your vents can build up dust easily, so make sure to clear them of debris by turning off your HVAC system, brushing the walls to loosen any grime and using the hose vacuum attachment to remove.

Check your sump pump. If it’s rained recently and you’ve heard your sump pump working, you might not need to check — but if it hasn’t, test your sump pump and make sure it’s keeping your basement safe and dry.

Look for leaks or cracks in your faucets. A leaky faucet can waste water and boost your monthly utility bill without you noticing. Check the spout, the base and under your sink to see if any water is leaking or any moisture is outside the pipes.

Bi-annual Home Maintenance

Not every part of your home needs monthly checkups. Perform these tasks twice a year to keep your home healthy:

Inspect your attic and basement. Look for any cracks in the walls, deteriorating insulation, leaks or pests that could be causing harm to your home’s structure.

Clear your gutters and downspouts. A clogged gutter or downspout can lead to water backup, pooling moisture and the deterioration of your home’s siding and structure. Clean your gutters thoroughly with proper safety equipment to keep them functional.

Clean your refrigerator coils. Vacuum the coils on the back and bottom of your refrigerator to remove any dust, grime and other buildup. This will allow it to cool your food more efficiently leading to savings on your electric bill.

Yearly Home Maintenance

Complete these tasks once per year to prevent small problems from turning into major repairs:

Flush your water heater. Emptying your tank and filling it with fresh water is a great way to figure out your water heater’s health status. Maintaining your water heater might sound like an intimidating task, but by flushing it once a year, you can make that maintenance stress-free.

Inspect for termites. Checking your home for signs of wood damage and termites can help you avoid a major infestation. If you’re not quite sure how to check for termites, call in a professional and ask about other preventative measures you can take to keep them out.

Trim tree branches. Cutting branches close to your home's roof can help you avoid major storm damage the next time heavy rain and strong winds roll through.

Review your homeowners insurance policy. Contact your American Family Insurance agent to review your policy and make sure your coverage limits, deductible and add-on coverages are giving you the peace of mind you deserve.

Spring Home Maintenance

Aside from your other regularly scheduled maintenance, take the time to prepare your home for the warmer weather and longer days that come with spring. Start with these tasks:

Check and clean your window screens. Winter weather can be harsh on your screens, so check them for rips, cracks or other damage and install new ones if necessary.

Reseal fences and decks. Help your home’s woodwork defend itself against the spring rain and extra moisture by resealing and finishing it.

Check your driveway and walkways for cracks. Spring is considered pothole season, as the winter’s snow and ice can be particularly damaging to roadways. The same goes for your driveway and walkways — check them for cracks and patch them as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

Inspect your air conditioning unit. Checking your AC unit long before summer arrives gives you plenty of time to have it fixed should there be any problems. Don’t be afraid to call a professional!

Check your paint and siding. Freshening up your home’s paint job or replacing damaged siding after the winter can do wonders for its curb appeal. Plus, your siding is a crucial part of your home’s defenses against moisture and other damage, so keeping it intact is a must.

Summer Home Maintenance

Summer is the perfect season for relaxing. But there’s some maintenance to be done before you can fall asleep in your hammock. Here are some tips:

Clean your air conditioner filter. You had your system tuned up in the spring so it’d be ready to go for the summer, but you should still check and clean your filter at least twice a month to keep it running efficiently.

Prepare your grill. Cleaning your grates, airing it out and making sure it’s working properly will help you avoid disappointment when you fire it up for the first hot dogs of the summer.

Control bugs and mosquitoes. Removing stagnant, pooled water and using natural solutions to keep bugs and mosquitoes from bothering you while you're outside will make for a much more enjoyable summer for your family.

Fall Home Maintenance

When the leaves start to fall, start preparing for cooler weather with these tips:

Schedule heating system maintenance. Unless you’re an HVAC professional, you’re better off leaving this to the pros. Still, get ahead of the curve by scheduling a visit from an HVAC professional.

Rake leaves. Unraked leaves can keep the sunlight from reaching your grass, inhibiting growth for next spring and providing a fertile ground for harmful mold to grow.

Seal cracks in your windows and doors. Keeping the cold air out when fall and winter temperatures begin to show up is a must — check the caulk around your windows and invest in door stoppers to keep your home warm and toasty.

Check your pipes’ insulation. A frozen pipe can lead to a disaster if it’s not cared for immediately. Prevent your pipes from freezing in the first place by insulating them and keeping your home’s temperatures up.

Drain and turn off sprinklers. If your home’s sprinklers freeze, they’re likely to break. Save yourself a trip to the hardware store by draining them and storing them in a warmer area for the colder months.

Winter Home Maintenance

Winterizing your home during the fall months is key, but staying vigilant during the winter and responding quickly to issues is even more important. Here are some tips to keep your winter stress-free:

Inspect your pipes. Keeping an eye on the pipes you insulated in the fall will help you avoid a cold, wet basement disaster. If you think your pipes are frozen, turn off your water and carefully thaw them to prevent them from bursting.

Prepare for snow. Get your snowblower, shovels and sidewalk salt out and have them ready to go when the first snowstorm hits.

Protect your outdoor furniture. Moving your patio furniture and other outdoor leisure items inside will protect them from the wind, snow and ice that winter brings.

Get in touch with your American Family Insurance agent to make sure you’ve got even more protection with a customizable homeowners insurance policy. Your agent is your advocate when it comes to protecting your family and your valuables from the unexpected.

How would you rate this article?

Related Topics: At Home , Home DIY , Owning A Home