We are all familiar with the proverbial "honey-do" list, and while these lists are often never ending, there is real value in keeping up necessary home maintenance items.
As military homeowners can attest, we often set aside household chores until the moments before we are embarking on another military relocation, ultimately leaving the home better for the next occupants.
Making a checklist for seasonal maintenance items makes the tasks manageable and keeps you from incurring costly repairs. The list is intended to be exhaustive, so pick and choose which tasks relate to your home.
- Disconnect hoses from outside bibs and store inside to prevent freezing and cracking.
- Drain water from outside hose bibs by turning off water valve inside the home that supplies water to outside sources. If you do not have one, move on to placing an insulated cap over each hose bib.
- Winterize your sprinkler system by turning off the water supply from inside the house and opening the valves to drain the remaining water. If gravity doesn’t drain the pipes, you may need to use an air compressor to blow out the remaining water. If you do not have access to an air compressor, call a local landscaping company, as many offer this service for a minimal fee.
- Check gas/oil levels on snow blower and clean off any debris before starting it for the first time. Have it serviced if necessary.
- Inspect and clean generators. Check gas/oil levels and make sure you have additional gas cans in case of power outage
- Store or cover outdoor furniture and grills.
- Set exterior lights and program them to timers that will keep your home from being dark.
- Remove window screens and replace with storm windows.
- Remove window air conditioners or securely cover.
- Cover permanent air conditioning units to protect from rust and debris.
- Prune trees in the late winter prior to the spring bloom. Remove any trees that are dead or diseased to avoid future property damage.
- Reverse the rotation of your ceiling fans. Most fans have a switch that changes the direction of the blades that can create an updraft, pulling hot air down from the ceiling, making your home easier to heat.
- Check locks on windows and doors and discuss fire escape routes with your family.
- Examine weather stripping around doors and replace as necessary. Rolls of weather stripping are inexpensive and readily available at home improvement stores. This is an easy way to block out the winter chill.
- Survey windows and doors for condensation and ice accumulation.
- Inspect roof and attic for ice dams, icicles, and frost accumulation
- Locate and test water shut-off valve.
- Consult the owner’s manual for your hot water heater and follow directions to drain off sediment to maintain efficiency.
- Test your home for radon. Radon is a natural, radioactive gas that can seep into your home from the breakdown of soil, rock, and water. Testing kits can be bought at home improvement stores and should be done in the winter or summer months when heating or cooling systems are running.
- Check roof, vents, and skylights for damage and replace any missing shingles or damaged seals that could lead to leaks.
- Examine siding and paint for damage, leaks, or holes caused by weather, age or rodents. Repaint any areas that have exposed wood to seal them from weather and termites.
- Search foundation and walls for water leaks or damage.
- Clear rain gutters and downspouts for obstructions or loose connections. Place water flow extension at base of downspout to direct water away from foundation.
- Have sprinkler system serviced if shut down in the winter.
- Turn on water source to outside hose bibs and sprinkler systems once danger of frost is over.
- Remove any trees or shrubs that did not make it through the winter.
- Fertilize grass and young trees.
- Address any maintenance or issues with air conditioning units.
- If screens were removed in the winter, replace them while cleaning windows, tracks, and sills.
- Have fireplace/wood stove and chimney cleaned, turn off gas pilot light, and close damper.
- Turn off gas furnace pilot light.
- Have air conditioning system serviced and replace window air conditioning units if removed in the winter.
- Replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and test each unit. A good time to perform this maintenance is when daylight savings time begins, even if you are in an area that doesn’t "spring forward."
- Include a purge of your refrigerator with your spring-cleaning, removing expired or spoiled items. If you have a coil-back refrigerator, vacuum the coils to increase efficiency.
- Ensure sump pump is operating properly before spring thaw.
- Have well water tested. (Recommended every 6 months.)
- Inspect siding and trim for damage or deterioration. Repair, replace or refinish as necessary.
- Pressure wash exterior siding to remove growth of mold or algae.
- Repair driveway, sidewalks, or stairs as needed.
- Reverse ceiling fans if you switched them in the winter to circulate cool air efficiently.
- Replace air filters and have air ducts and dryer ducts cleaned.
- In humid areas, utilize a dehumidifier to keep damp areas free of mold and mildew.
- Test your home for radon.
- Caulk around the exterior of windows to ensure weatherproof seal. Be sure to use exterior silicon caulk, which resists the elements and shrinking.
- Examine weather stripping around exterior doors and replace as necessary. Rolls of weather stripping are inexpensive and readily available at home improvement stores.
- Mulch when you mow. No need to spend hours raking and bagging leaves when your lawn can benefit from mulching them in the fall for a greener lawn come spring.
- Protect young trees and shrubs by laying down a thick layer of mulch.
- Check roof, vents, and skylights for damage and replace any missing shingles or broken seals that could lead to leaks. Remove pine needles and leaves that retain moisture.
- Clean rain gutters to remove fallen leaves and debris. Add extensions to rain gutter downspouts to divert water away from the foundation of the home.
- Replace batteries and test all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. A good time to perform this maintenance is when daylight savings time ends, even if you are in an area that doesn’t "fall back."
- Have fireplace and chimney professionally cleaned to remove nests or other obstructions. Make sure the damper operates properly.
- Have HVAC System inspected and serviced by a professional technician. Ask neighbors or friends for recommendations of trustworthy and reputable professionals. Clean/replace filters and dust or vacuum intake covers to remove built-up dust.
- Vacuum or dust electric baseboards to avoid fire hazard.
- Pull out your dryer and vacuum lint from hose to avoid potential fire hazard.
Home maintenance projects have a way of slipping down the priority list, but if you take the time to maintain the framework and appliances in your home, the risk of costly repairs is greatly diminished. Although some are time consuming, many of the tasks are simply visual inspection and verification that everything is in working order.
Updated 2018 by Dawn M. Smith