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After moving into my first home, I was quickly overwhelmed by the number of tasks necessary to keep things running smooth.
To help stay organized and on track, I documented every maintenance task I completed each month and season for the first three years.
After refining it over several years, I came up with this checklist. It keeps home maintenance on track and helps me see what’s coming up soon so I can plan for it.
It has helped so much that I’m are thrilled to share it with you. I hope you find it as helpful and valuable as I do.
You can download and print a PDF or Excel version of the checklist by clicking the links below. You can edit and customize the Excel version to align it with the exact needs of your home.
Download PDF: Home Maintenance Checklist Printable PDF
Download Excel File: Home Maintenance Checklist Printable Excel Spreadsheet
Bonus Resource: If you’re looking for tools to manage your household responsibilities, you’ll LOVE our House Cleaning Checklist too. It outlines every cleaning task, room-by-room, that you should complete on a weekly, monthly, and annual basis. The best part; it’s completely free, and you can edit the Excel version to customize it for your unique household.
If you’re not ready to download and print right now, I’ve outlined each item on the checklist below and included explanations, tips, and helpful resources to get you started.
Click the links below to jump straight to a section:
- Monthly Maintenance
- Seasonal Maintenance: Spring
- Seasonal Maintenance: Summer
- Seasonal Maintenance: Fall
- Seasonal Maintenance: Winter
These simple monthly tasks will keep your home from turning into a money pit.
Test smoke detectors
You know the saying, safety first. Testing smoke detectors is something that you can easily overlook but will take you literally 5 minutes or less. Just do it, check it off the list and keep your family safe.
Giving your house a deep cleaning each month will prevent the build-up of nasty grime and filth that is not only disgusting but can lead to other issues like insects and rodents. Make a list of everything that needs to get scrubbed and divide up the duties (better yet, use the list that we created for you). Regular cleaning will make it much more manageable versus doing it once in a while. If you have hardwood floors, check out this comprehensive guide on How to Deep Clean Hardwood Floors.
Replace HVAC filters (every three months)
To maintain excellent air quality in your home, and keep your HVAC system running smoothly, replace the air filter every three months. They are inexpensive, and replacing them is as simple. You can even order them off Amazon. No excuses.
Inspect fire extinguishers
It’s essential to inspect your fire extinguishers regularly. This article gives a good overview of what to look for during the inspection. In addition to inspecting, make sure you store your fire extinguishers in places that you can access quickly and are close to areas that are prone to fires such as your kitchen or furnace.
Clean garbage disposal
Clean your garbage disposal each month to prevent repulsive odors from developing and debris from getting stuck and damaging the system. There are several simple techniques you can use to clean your disposal. Cut up lemons and toss them in while you’re running it. Instead of lemons, you can use ice cubes. You can also pour dry baking soda down the drain along with a cup of distilled white vinegar.
You are continually flushing food, debris, hair, and other things down the various drains in your home. Make sure they stay unclogged to prevent blockage and avoid significant plumbing issues down the road. The most effective product is Drain-O, which I use all the time, and it works like a charm.
Clean the range hood and filter
If you cook as much as I do, grease will build up quickly in your range hood and filter. Regular cleaning will prevent kitchen odors, air pollution in your home, and a greasy mess that, if neglected for long enough, can become a fire hazard. Cleaning the hood is simple, wipe it down with soap and water. Cleaning the hood filter is easy as well, soak it in hot water and soap then give it a good scrub.
It’s spring and the weather is finally warming up. It’s time to get outside and tackle some of those repairs and maintenance projects that you put on-hold all winter. Here are the most important things to do each spring to keep your house running smoothly.
Wash outside windows and siding
The rain will take care of this for you. Well, that is what I thought before I owned my home. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Rent a power washer and spend a couple of hours blasting your siding and windows. You’ll be amazed at how much dirt and stain can build up.
Clean gutters and downspouts
Your gutters and downspouts are an integral system in your home. They are the pathways for rainwater flowing off your roof and into the ground. They protect your roof, walls, and foundation from water damage. If you allow leaves, sticks, and debris to build up in the gutters and downspouts, it will not only block the water flow but will also make an ideal home for mold, pests, bees, and rodents. We recommend cleaning the gutters and downspouts twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.
Pump the septic tank (if you have one)
Experts recommend pumping the septic tank every 3-5 years. Wait for the snow to melt to schedule the pumping.
Inspect roof and chimney for any damage, cracks or leaks
Throughout the winter, the chimney takes punishment from snow, ice, and falling branches. Every spring, you should hire someone to make sure the bricks and mortar are intact, the flue is not damaged, there are no cracks, and the damper is working correctly.
Get the Air Conditioning system serviced
If you have central air conditioning, it is critical to have the system serviced every spring before heavy use in the summer. They will clean or replace the air filter, clean the indoor coil, clean the condensate pump, and give the entire system a thorough inspection. Regular service will extend the lifespan of the equipment, increase dependability, reduce the chances of significant issues, and increase system efficiency, which saves you money on your power bill. It typically costs around $100 to $150, so get it on the schedule each year and check that box.
If you need to find a trusted heating and cooling service company in your area, get free, no-obligation quotes from local pros on HomeAdvisor.com.
Apply pre-emergent to your lawn to prevent weeds from growing
Weeds are going to happen no matter what, but the best way to limit them and keep your lawn healthy is to apply pre-emergent in the spring. Pre-emergent prevents the germination of weed seeds so they can’t sprout on your beautiful lawn. It’s easier to prevent them than to get rid of them after the fact. We use a lawn service called TruGreen, but you can pick up a bag of pre-emergent at Home Depot or on Amazon and apply it yourself with a spreader.
If you’re like me and want to avoid exposure to the harsh weed prevention chemicals, hire a landscaper using HomeAdvisor.com.
Re-seal the deck, fence, railings and other outdoor woodwork
Throughout the winter, your wooden deck and fence take a lot of punishment from the elements. Give them a thorough inspection each spring, and if you see the wood starting to splinter, it might be time to re-seal it and make sure it’s protected. This article from Lowes.com gives a helpful step by step overview of how to clean, seal, or stain your deck.
Inspect driveway and other exterior concrete pathways
Like your deck and fence, your driveway takes on damage throughout the year too. If you notice severe cracking or what they call the “alligator effect,” it’s likely time to reseal your driveway. Water will get into the cracks, freeze and expand, which further accelerates the damage.
Inspect your sprinkler heads and test the irrigation system
Before you start using your irrigation, inspect each sprinkler head. Over the year, they are prone to break. Bushes and plants often grow into their spray path, preventing the water from reaching the intended areas of the yard. In both cases, you’ll be racking up a more expensive water bill and not getting optimal results. The upfront cost of installing new sprinkler heads and relocating them won’t be cheap, but doing so will save you in the long run.
Spray for mosquitos and other bugs
I use the Ortho defense spray each year in my downstairs and around the patio, doors, and windows outside. We still get some bugs, there’s no way to stop them completely, but I’ve noticed significantly fewer since I started spraying this product. It’s very affordable and worth the 30 minutes it takes to apply it.
Check screen doors and windows
Give your screens a once over each spring. Fix any rips or holes and keep the bugs out of your house. There are dozens of inexpensive and simple to use products on the market to patch broken screens, but this is the one I use, and it gets the job done.
Get your lawnmower blades sharpened
Bring your mower to your local shop and get the blades sharpened each year. Several experts recommend twice a year, but I think that is overkill unless you have a 2+ acre lawn, in which case it’s unlikely you are cutting it yourself. Sharp blades cut the grass cleanly, which allows it to recover quickly and makes your mower more efficient.
My strategy is to do as much maintenance in the spring as possible while the weather is still mild so that I can enjoy the hot summer weekends at the beach. Of course, I can’t just skip three months and do nothing. Here is what I recommend tackling each summer.
Get the grill ready for cooking
Do a thorough cleaning and buy new grates if necessary. Fill up your propane and buy an extra tank, so you never run out in the middle of a cookout.
Add a layer of mulch to your flower beds to keep the weeds down and freshen up your landscape. The purpose of much goes well beyond its attractive appearance. It suppresses weeds, adds nutrients to the soil, regulates soil temperature, retains moisture, and prevents erosion. Learn more about the purposes of mulch in our recent article: What Is the Purpose of Mulch?
Exterior paint touch-ups
Inspect the exterior of your home and scrape off and chipping paint, sand it down and apply a new layer.
Check on the washer and dryer
Always clean the lint filter before and after each time you use the dryer. Inspect the dryer vent located outside. Make sure air is flowing out of the vent when the dryer is on. If it’s not, remove whatever is blocking it. If the blockage is not apparent, call a service professional to check it out before you use the dryer again.
Clean refrigerator coils
The refrigerator coils are what cools the air inside your fridge. Over time they can get dirty and dusty, which can make the refrigerator less energy efficient and cost you money. You can find these coils on the back of the fridge or inside hidden by a kick plate (which you can easily remove with a screwdriver). Turn off the refrigerator and give the coils a quick vacuum.
Clean bathroom vent fans
If you walk into your bathroom and look up at the vent fan, you’ll likely see a dusty mess. Take 5 minutes, remove the fan cover, and give it a thorough cleaning. The fan will be more effective and keep the moisture out of your bathroom. If the fan is not effectively removing moisture, you can run into significant issues, like mold.
Test your home alarm
Most newer systems like SimpliSafe (read our full review of SimpliSafe here) will alert you when something is wrong with the system. However, this is not always the case. Test the system each year and make sure everything is functioning normally.
Wash the trash barrel and recycle bin
Now that you got the hose connected and it’s warm and sunny out, it’s time to clean the trash barrels. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, this is a disgusting job, and you might need a face mask to block the smell. Tip your barrels on their side, squirt some soap and give it a good blast with the hose
Fertilize the lawn
Your lawn is hungry, and it needs more than just water and sun. Apply fertilizer at least once during the summer to keep your lawn strong and healthy. Fertilizers contain chemicals that can be unsafe if you get it on your skin, breath, or swallow it. If you can afford it, find a local landscaper on HomeAdvisor and avoid the risk altogether.
Fall is here, the leaves are changing color, football is on, and you can feel the air turning cool and crisp. As much as I’d love to sit on the couch all weekend and watch the games, several things need to get done each fall in preparation for the winter.
Get heating system serviced
Similar to the AC system, the heating system needs to be serviced every year in the fall before heave use in the winter. A service will typically consist of tightening loose connections, cleaning or replacing the air filter, inspecting ductwork, calibrating the thermostat, and testing airflow. A neglected system will use more energy to increase the temperature in your home.
Schedule a chimney sweep
Before you use your fireplace, get the chimney swept by a professional, especially if you used it several times the year before. Creosote will build up inside your chimney over time, restricting the airflow and can become a fire hazard. A chimney sweep will remove all the ash and soot and keep your home safe.
Put outdoor furniture and grill into storage
The day I put away the outdoor furniture is always a sad day because I love sitting outside in the beautiful weather.
Seal cracks on windows and doors
Drafty windows and doors will make your heating bill skyrocket. Give each window and door a proper inspection and make a note of any cracks or gaps. Replace the weather stripping on doors if necessary. For windows, seal cracks between the trim and the siding with high-grade polyurethane caulking. If the glass itself is drafty, use transparent plastic window film. I’ve never used it myself but have heard from friends that is works well.
Turn off outdoor water
Prevent any chance of frozen pipes and turn off the water that runs to the outside faucet.
Winterize sprinkler system
Each fall, you need to get your sprinkler system winterized. In most cases, you can’t do this your self. Call your irrigation company, and they will come and blow all of the water out of the pipes that run to the sprinkler heads. You are almost guaranteed to have frozen pipes and a significant problem if you forget to have this done.
Raking is not my favorite fall activity, but it’s a necessity. If you have thick clumps of leaves covering your lawn all winter and spring, your grass won’t get the light and nutrition it needs and will likely die.
If you despise this chore as much as I do, check out this article where I explain the 6 best ways to pick up leaves. Spoiler: I only recommend raking if you have a small yard.
Clean gutters and downspouts
Unfortunately, it is time to clear out your gutters and downspouts yet again. All of those leaves that fell on your roof are now stuck in your gutters. Clear them out before it gets too cold so that rain and melted snow doesn’t build up on your roof and leak into your house.
Overseed and aerate the lawn
In the northeast, the fall is the best time to aerate and overseed your lawn. In other parts of the country, the spring is best. Aerating is the process of removing small coils of soil from the lawn. Aeration allows air and water better access to the roots aiding in germination. For best results, aerate and overseed at the same time. This article from TruGreen gives an excellent overview of why each of these treatments is important.
Get free quotes for aeration and overseeding from local landscapers on HomeAdvisor.com.
Ensure pipes are well insulated
Inspect the pipes in your bathroom, kitchen, and basement and make sure they are well insulated. Keep the heat at a minimum of 55 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the winter, even when you are not home, to prevent pipes from freezing.
Check attic vents
Before winter, climb up into your attic and make sure nothing is blocking the vents. Check your roof to see if there are any birds nests or debris covering the vents from the outside.
It’s winter and, if you live in the north as we do, it’s freezing, and snow is starting to pile up. Winter is a perfect time to catch up on some of the maintenance that you neglect when it’s 75 and sunny, and you’re enjoying the outdoors. Here are the things you should do each winter to keep your home in working order.
Prepare for a storm
Stock up on water bottles, non-perishable food, batteries, flashlights, matches, candles, shovels, and ice melt. Consider buying a generator if your area is prone to power outages.
Make sure your entryways are protected
Put mats inside each doorway to protect your floors. Inspect the weather stripping on exterior doors and replace them if they are worn out.
Check on insulation
Check the insulation in your attic and basement. Home Depot and other home improvement stores sell small pieces of insulation if you need to sure up a tiny area.
Protect your AC unit with a piece of plywood
Most people think that you need to put a cover on your AC unit during the winter. The truth is, you should NOT cover your AC unit. Doing so provides a warm place for animals to make a home and can also collect damaging moisture. Besides, your AC was designed to withstand the harsh elements, so you don’t have to worry about it. Instead, put a single piece of plywood over the top of the unit to prevent any damage from falling tree limbs.
Insulate hot water tank
I didn’t know this existed until a year ago, but you can buy a hot water tank jacket to insulate and prevent heat loss. I purchased this one from Amazon and saw a year over year reduction in my energy bill. It paid for itself in the first year. I highly recommend it.
Pick up a good humidifier
If you notice in the winter that your skin and throat are dry, especially in the morning, that is because there is significantly less moisture in the air during winter months. A good humidifier, like this best seller on Amazon, will add moisture back into the air and prevent you from drying up. I bought one last year and never sleep without it now.
Make sure steps and handrails are safe and secure
Take a good look at your front steps and give the handrails a shake. Make sure the rails are secure, and there are no loose bricks. Call a mason if any of the stonework needs to be secured.
Install storm windows and doors
If you have old windows that let in a draft, consider installing storm windows. Storm windows not only help you save on the heating bill, they reduce sound, UV damage, and condensation while increasing comfort and security. They typically pay for themselves in 3 to 6 years.
Remove window screens
In the winter, screens can trap snow and ice and damage the sill and window frame. Usually, they come out with a few snaps, so take the 20 minutes and save yourself the trouble of fixing your window sills in the future.
Make sure the heat is set to 55 or higher when you leave your house
I mentioned this before, but I’ll repeat it because it’s important; don’t shut off or turn your heat lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit, even if you are going on vacation. Replacing a ceiling because a pipe burst is much more expensive than the few hundred dollars you’ll save by turning down the heat. It’s happened to a friend of mine and is a complete disaster.
Don’t Forget to Download and Print the Checklist!
We did a lot of research to compile this list, but please contact us directly and let us know what we missed.
No one said being a homeowner is easy, but now you understand your responsibilities and are ready to go.
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