Following an annual maintenance schedule is an essential step in protecting the value of what will probably be the largest investment of your life – your home. First time home owners, or those lacking experience may struggle with this task and overlook important elements. Here are some guidelines to help you create a maintenance program that suits your needs.
Benefits of Home Maintenance
Regular preventive maintenance identifies minor repairs before they become expensive, major repairs. It also preserves your home’s market value. One study found that “greater than $5 return for every $1 spent on preventive maintenance is not unusual”. Other rewards include:
- extended life for your home’s components, equipment and operating systems;
- improved energy efficiency and a reduced environmental footprint;
- lush, healthy vegetation and attractive landscaping;
- assurance that your living space is safe and comfortable;
- improved presentation and continuing exterior appeal; and
- avoiding home inspection shockers when you sell.
Monthly Home Maintenance Routines
Clean or change all filters; test fire extinguishers and smoke alarms; inspect switch boxes and electrical cords; vacuum heat registers/vents; check that air vents are clear; flush the water heater to remove sediment; and clean the garbage disposal.
Fall Home Maintenance Routines
Inspect roof, siding and foundation; clean the chimney; winterize/store yard furniture and tools; service the snow blower; cover your air conditioner and any vegetation that needs protection; service furnaces/stoves; get firewood and de-icers; clean gutters and downspouts; clean the dryer vent; check the water heater for leaks; “close” the pool.
Winter Home Maintenance Routines
Periodically shovel snow away from the foundation; check the basement for leaks during thaws; remove excess snow and ice dams from roofs/gutters; vacuum bathroom exhaust fan grills; vacuum refrigerator and freezer coils and empty and clean drip trays; service the lawnmower; clean drains in sinks, tubs, showers, and dishwashers; hang holiday decorations early (milder weather and replacements are in stock).
Spring Home Maintenance Routines
Inspect roof, siding, foundation and chimney; flush hot water heaters; fertilize/seed lawn; wash and check caulking and weather stripping for windows/doors/screens; clean gutters and downspouts; wash interior walls/ceilings and inspect the paint; seal holes or cracks that invite insects or pests; service the air conditioner; “open” the pool; inspect the driveway;
Summer Home Maintenance Routines
Service the garage door and operating system (chain, hinges, opener); inspect exterior paint for cracking or blisters; ensure exterior sockets and fixtures are working and bulbs light; clean dryer vent, kitchen exhaust-fan filter; defrost/clean freezers and fridges including the coils; check plumbing (sinks, showers, toilets, dishwasher) for leaks; seal tile grout; clean the garage and seal the floor; “open” the pool; prune trees and shrubs.
Bottom line: spend a little now on scheduled preventive maintenance or spend a lot later and risk catastrophic damage to yourself and/or your home.