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We’re all familiar with home maintenance checklists. They’re an unavoidable part of responsible homeownership. Whether they’re tackled over a weekend or bit by bit throughout the season, sometimes the cycle can feel never-ending. However, like all “adulting” chores, there’s real value in keeping up necessary home maintenance and organization systems.
Following a checklist for seasonal maintenance items make the tasks manageable and keeps you from incurring costly repairs. This list is intended to be exhaustive, so pick and choose which chores relate to your home.
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Winter Home Maintenance
- Disconnect hoses from outside bibs and store them inside to prevent freezing and cracking.
- Drain water from outside hose bibs by turning off the water valve inside the home that supplies water to external sources. Place an insulated cap over each hose bib if you do not have an inside valve.
- Winterize your sprinkler system by turning off the water supply inside the house and opening the valves to drain the remaining water. If gravity doesn’t drain the pipes, you may need an air compressor to blow out the remaining water carefully. Local landscaping companies also provide these services.
- Check gas and oil levels in the snowblower and clean off any debris before starting it for the first time. Then, have it serviced if necessary.
- Inspect and clean your generators. Check gas and oil levels to ensure you have additional gas cans in case of a power outage.
- Store or cover outdoor furniture and grills.
- Set exterior lights and program timers to keep your home illuminated in the dark.
- Remove window screens and replace them with storm windows.
- Remove window air conditioners or securely cover.
- Cover permanent air conditioning units to protect them from rust and debris.
- Prune trees in the late winter before the spring bloom. Remove any trees that are dead or diseased to avoid future property damage.
- Reverse the ceiling fans’ rotation. Most fans have a switch that changes the direction of the blades that can create an updraft, pulling hot air down from the ceiling and 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. 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 the water shut-off valve.
- Consult the owner’s manual for your 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 soil, rock, and water breakdown. Buy a testing kit at home improvement stores.
Want to save money doing your winter home maintenance? Read Winter Home Maintenance Checklist: 10 Tips to Save Money.
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Spring Home Maintenance
- Check roof, vents, and skylights for damage and replace any missing shingles or damaged seals that could leak.
- Examine siding and paint for damage, leaks, or holes caused by weather, age, or rodents. Repaint any areas exposed to 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 extensions at the downspout base to direct water away from the foundation.
- Have the sprinkler system serviced if shut down in the winter.
- Turn on the water source to outside hose bibs and sprinkler systems once the 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 the fireplace, wood stove, and chimney cleaned, turn off the gas pilot light, and close the damper.
- Schedule air conditioning system maintenance 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 the sump pump is operating correctly before spring thaw.
Room-by-Room Spring Cleaning the Green Way breaks down the environmentally friendly details you need to know.
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Summer Home Maintenance
- Test your well water. (Recommended every six months.)
- Inspect the siding and trim for damage or deterioration. Then, repair, replace, or refinish as necessary.
- Pressure wash exterior siding to remove 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.
Who doesn’t need a few maintenance hacks? Make Summer Home Maintenance Simple with These Tips.
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Fall Home Maintenance
- Caulk around the exterior of windows to ensure a weatherproof seal. Be sure to use exterior silicone caulk, which resists the elements and shrinking.
- Examine weather stripping around exterior doors and replace as necessary.
- 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 pieces. 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 home's foundation.
- 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."
- Hire professionals to clean the fireplace and chimney of nests or other obstructions. Also, make sure the damper operates properly.
- Have the HVAC system inspected and serviced by a professional technician. Ask neighbors or friends for recommendations for trustworthy and reputable professionals. Clean or replace filters and dust or vacuum intake covers to remove built-up dust.
- Vacuum or dust electric baseboards to avoid a fire hazard.
- Pull out your dryer and vacuum lint from the hose to avoid potential fire hazards.
After your PCS unpacking is finished, Fall Home Maintenance for Military Homeowners is ready to help you stay ahead of the maintenance game.
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 dramatically diminishes. Although some are time-consuming, many tasks are simply visual inspection and verification that everything is in working order.
By Dawn M. Smith
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