This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy for more information.—
Whether you live in a climate where you experience all four seasons or live where it’s warm all year long, it’s important to put together a home maintenance checklist.
Having a home maintenance check list can extend the life of your appliances, make your home more energy efficient and save you money on big repairs in the future.
Here in Midwest we get some harsh winters so fall is when we go through the house, yard and garage to button things up for the winter. In spring, we focus on the lawn and some inside maintenance.
But by far, monthly fire safety checks are the most important!
Monthly Home Maintenance Checklist:
1- Check and replace batteries in smoke/carbon monoxide alarms – Our house was built in the 70’s so unfortunately our six smoke/carbon monoxide detectors are not wired to the house. I put a note in my phone the first day of each month to check and make sure the batteries are working. Also, make sure you have enough smoke/carbon monoxide detectors for each floor of your home. I’m not an expert but here’s a link to Kidde Fire Safety. Yes, they do sell detectors but they also have diagrams and information that can help you determine how many you need and where to place them.
2- Check your fire extinguishers – If you don’t have a fire extinguisher in your home, you need to get one or two or three! The kitchen is a must but you may need one in other areas like the garage and basement. Fire extinguishers need to be checked regularly to make sure they’re in working order. Here’s a link to the U.S. Fire Administration. They give some good top-level information on the different types of extinguishers available. To check working order though, I recommend referring to use and care guide that came with your fire extinguisher.
Fall Home Maintenance Checklist:
1- Bleed you hot water heater – Sediment gathers in the bottom of your hot water heater (if you have one). You may be able to hear a crackling sound sometimes when water is heating up. This is sediment that should be flushed out to preserve the life of your hot water heater. It’s very easy to do. My hubby just hooks a regular garden hose to the hot water heater and flush it out through the sump pump in the basement.
2- Plan for next year’s lawn maintenance – Whether you maintain your own lawn or pay a service it helps to plan ahead for lawn expenses. We mow, trim shrubs and do all the lawn up-keep but our lawn service puts down all of the chemicals and aerates in the fall. We did the math and it would cost us about the same if we bought the fertilizer and weed control and put it down ourselves. Our lawn service has also helped us out by testing our soil and letting us know if we needed to put down lime. And with early sign up, I’m able to snag a 20% discount for the next year. These companies are very competitive so if you’re thinking of going with a lawn service for next year you may want to call around and see what kind of a deal you can get.
3- Inspect the exterior of your home including the roof and foundation – In the fall my hubby goes around the house and caulks any gaps and cracks that he sees. He caulks around windows and the brick of our house. We have a ranch so he even gets up on the roof (of course I don’t recommend this if you have a steep pitched roof or 2-story home). A few years back he noticed that our chimney was starting to crumble in spots and was able to repair it before it got too bad.
4- Clean gutters (gutter toppers) – My hubby checks the gutters in late fall after all the leaves have fallen. When we moved in clog gutters were causing an overflow of rainwater to seep into our basement. This simple step has remedied that. I highly recommend you take time to clean your gutters before winter. If you can’t reach them easily you may want to think about installing gutter toppers.
5- Maintain your grill and lawn furniture – We store our grill and patio furniture to protect it from harsh winter weather. If you love to grill in the dead of winter packing your grill away may not be an option. We don’t use use our grill or patio furniture in the winter so storing it is no big deal to us. When spring comes our furniture and grill are clean and ready to go.
6- Turn off all water to outside spigots – We installed master shut-off valves in our basement on the pipes that lead to the outside water spigots. We don’t use the outside water spigots in the front or back yard after early fall so we just shut them off completely. This is an extra precaution you might want to think about to avoid frozen or burst pipes.
7- Install roof coils to prevent ice dams – Two years ago we installed roof coils on our 4-season room. We had a really bad winter the year before and ice dams clogged all of the gutter downspouts on that side of the house. Ice dams and snow buildup didn’t become a problem until the huge buildup started to melt and had nowhere to go but into our house. These coils also melt snow on the roof so it doesn’t get too heavy. If you have a trouble spot or problems with ice dams you may want to install roof coils before winter. They were a little pricey but well worth the peace of mind.
Spring Home Maintenance Checklist:
1- Clean dryer ducts – You may already know this but lint can accumulated in dryer ducts and cause a fire. Our dryer is in the basement on a long run so we replace the vent run once a year to be safe.
2- Renew your maintenance agreement with your heating and cooling company – We’ve had a maintenance agreement with a local heating and cooling company since we bought our house. We don’t have to remember to have our air conditioner or furnace cleaned. They call and set up a convenient time to clean our gas furnace in the fall and air conditioner in early spring. If you don’t have a maintenance agreement in place already I highly recommend signing up with a reliable company in your area. A few years ago we had problems with the gas line in our house (yes scary) and they put us at the top of the priority list. First because we had a gas line problem but also because we had been a customer with them for a few years. They also gave us 10% off the bill 🙂
3- Spray for pests before they become a big problem – In the spring my hubby sprays for ant and spider because we live in an older neighborhood with a lot of trees. This is an ongoing problem in our area. By spraying pest killer early on in the spring we have been able to avoid calling a pricey pest control service. It also helped that we removed a lot of big old swamp maple trees in our yard!
4- Inspect the basement and check for pipe leaks – Our basement has a playroom for the kids and an unfinished utility side. Last year we painted the unfinished side. It was a blessing in disguise because we found a small, slow leak that had just started and would have got worse as time went on. By cleaning up and painting were forced to take down old shelves and remove clutter that had been hiding pipes for years. If you have a basement and things are blocking sight paths to pipes, consider clearing things out.
5- Clean your refrigerator coils – Twice a year I clean the refrigerator coils. This is one of the tasks on our spring and fall maintenance lists and I hate it! I wish I could talk to the engineers that designed our refrigerator because they clearly didn’t think things out. I can barely reach the coils under my refrigerator and I usually have to twist into a pretzel to get the shop vac under there. I get it done though! It feels good to clean those dust bunnies out and I’m sure it helps my fridge run more efficiently during the hot, summer months.
6- Maintain your snow blower, lawn mower and yard tools – Every spring my hubby runs the snow blower to run all of the gas out of it before storing it for the summer. He changes the oil in the lawnmower and takes the mower blade to be sharpened. He replaces the blades on the weed wacker and other yard tools. These things take only a couple of hours on a Saturday and it’s worth not having to fuss with it during the season.
7- Check for mold – On the north-side of our house we get a little mold. I used to be really upset by this but after being a homeowner for a while I’ve come to realize that no house is perfect. It takes me just a few minutes to clean and I don’t worry about it until the next spring. Don’t get me wrong, if you have a lot of black mold it could be hazardous and a bigger problem could be lurking. But if you have a small area with mold usually a little soapy water or spray with bleach in it will clean it up.