The most notable purchase a person makes in their lifetime is a home. Zillow data reveals that the average American home cost $226,800 as of 2019. However, it's not just the mortgage and down payment that eat up a bulk of a homeowner's money. You heard of the movie "The Money Pit" well, keeping the thing in shape is a wallet killer, too.
Keep Your Home Breathing
A home maintenance schedule is vital just like a health physical, for every home's maintenance and well-being. Continuing to check up on your appliances, exterior, plumbing, security, cooling, heating, and electrical systems help prevent malfunctions, save money, and keep your home looking its best.
Use this home services and maintenance checklist to help schedule your seasonal repairs and cleaning, along with a handful of tasks. If any of the projects go beyond your skill level or lead to more involved repairs, hire a professional to help.
Seasonal Home Maintenance
The below-freezing temperatures can be harsh on your home and cause several problems, including frozen pipes and roof damage, during winter. To prevent winter harm and avoid calling for help in the middle of a storm, be sure to critique these winter items off your home services and maintenance checklist:
- Cover your air-conditioning unit.
- Check the basement for leaks during thaws after a freeze.
- Inspect the gutters, roof, and downspouts for damage after snow.
- Vacuum the bathroom exhaust fan grill to remove grime.
- Vacuum the refrigerator, freezer coils, and clean the drip trays.
- Clean drains in bathtubs, showers, sinks, washing machines, and dishwashers.
After winter comes my favorite season, spring, the trees are budding the ground is thawing and its time to prepare your home for the new season. On top of your regular cleaning, you'll also want to consider these general home services and maintenance tips. Use our spring checklist to make sure everything in your home from the roof to the basement is in perfect shape. Start high and go low.
- Your carbon monoxide and smoke detector batteries replaced each season.
- Inspect roofing for loose, damaged or missing shingles and leaks.
- Change the air-conditioner filter.
- Hire a professional to inspect and pump the septic tank if you have one.
- Inspect caulking for deteriorations in the sink, shower, and bathtub.
- Vacuum the lint from the dryer vent opening to prevent fires.
- Inspect chimney for any storm damage from winter.
- Remove the insulation from outdoor faucets and check sprinkler heads.
- Clean the window and door screens.
- Polish the wood furniture, wood trim, and clean the dust off the lights.
- Refinish the deck if it requires maintenance.
- Power-wash the walkways, siding, and windows.
- Clean your gutters and downspouts.
- Has the air-conditioning system serviced?
- Drain or flush the water heater.
- Fertilize your lawn.
When the sun is out, and warmer weather is finally here to stay, the last thing you should worry about is home services. Our quick summer home maintenance guide is here to help get the hard work out of the way at the start of the season.
Even if the weather is already close to 90 degrees, there is no need to worry, most of these tasks are indoors!
- Oil the garage-door chain, garage door, and all hinges on the door.
- Remove lint from inside and outside dryer vents.
- Check dishwasher for leaks.
- Check around kitchen and bathroom cabinets and toilets for leaks.
- Clean the kitchen exhaust fan filter of any blockage and grease.
- Vacuum the refrigerator, freezer coils, and clean the drip trays.
- Seal tile grout.
- Prune trees and shrubs.
Before you start your seasonal home services and maintenance checklist, examine both the exterior and interior of your home. It is possible to accomplish most of these home maintenance items without the help of an expert, but it's always better to be safe and call for assistance if a home improvement project is beyond your capabilities. Here are our seasonal home improvement tips for fall:
- Replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Install a new detector on every floor of your home, including the basement.
- Rake leaves and aerate the lawn.
- Schedule a forced-air heating system inspection in late summer or early fall before the season starts. Stripping; replace if necessary.
- Change old, drafty windows for more energy-efficient models.
- Touch up exterior siding and trim if needed with paint.
- Clean gutters and downspouts.
- Check driveway and walkway for cracks and repair.
- Drain and winterize exterior plumbing.
- Inspect roofing for loose, missing, or damaged shingles and leaks.
- Power-wash your windows and siding.
- Have fireplace professionally inspected.
- Check fireplace for any damage or hazards, and clean flues.
- Test appliances before the holidays for damage or malfunctions.
- Repair or replace damaged siding.
- Clean the carpets.
- Inspect exterior door hardware; fix squeaky handles and loose locks.
- Check for broken cords and wires.
- Clean the window and door screens.
- Vacuum the lint from the dryer vent.
- Drain and store hoses, drain in-ground sprinkler systems.
- Check water heater for leaks.
Save Money, Do It Yourself
Rehabbing a house or hiring an interior designer can eat up a considerable amount of your budget. Many smaller expenses can add up significantly over time and eat up even more.
However, there are countless ways to save yourself hundreds of thousands of dollars before making your last mortgage payment. Before your last birthday rolls around, and before you hand over yet another paycheck to your local contractor.
Important and essential home maintenance services
Turn Off the Gas Line to your Home
In case of an emergency, by turning off your gas line, you can reduce your risk of a fire. First, locate your meter and find its shutoff knob/valve, usually located on a pipe running into the meter. First, try to turn the shutoff with your hand, if that doesn't work pliers or wrench could do the trick, turn the valve from one position to the other and the gas should stop its flow. If it does not stop turn in the opposite direction.
Shut Off the Sink Water and Main Water to Your House
Whether you're fixing a leak or replacing a faucet, it's essential to know how to shut off your water first. First, look behind or under the sink in question. The shutoff valves are attached between the sink and wall and can be shut off by hand with a few turns. Righty Tightey (off), Lefty Loosey (on).
If you need to turn off the main water supply, follow the pipe as it enters the house, often in a basement or crawl area, and locate the shutoff. Either using your hand or a designed tool, turn the valve right or clockwise to tighten it and shut off the water.
Restart your Furnace or Boiler
If you run out of oil, had a technical problem, or have recently changed your filter, you may have to restart. First, flip off the power switch and flip it back on again. If that didn't work. After refilling your tank, hit the reset button on your furnace, which should reset the boiler or furnace.
If that doesn't work, try flipping the power switch. If that fails to produce results, try removing excess air from the furnace by bleeding it. Restarting and bleeding your furnace is somewhat advanced and may require a professional.
Learn how to complete these useful home repairs yourself
Reset a Flipped Breaker
So, running your blow dryer, vacuum, and space heater at the same time wasn't a great idea. Luckily, there's a simple fix: find your breaker board (often located in a basement or utility closet) and find the breaker (switch) or switches that flipped in the opposite direction of the others. Flip them back, and it should restore power.
Moreover, if you live in a home with glass fuses, find a replacement fuse and unscrew the affected fuse and replace it with the new one.
Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors
Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors save lives, but many people don't know how to use them correctly. To ensure they're working, always test after you install new batteries or the seasons' change. You can test them by holding down the test button for a few seconds. You hear an alarm sound. If it doesn't sound the alarm, replace the batteries, and make sure to do so again at least every three months. If it doesn't work with new batteries, replace with new carbon monoxide or smoke detector.
Replace Airconditioner Filter
If you're suffering from allergies even inside the house, your dirty air filters could be to blame. If you've got a mini-split system, pop the cover off, remove the filters, wash them, dry them thoroughly, and pop them back in. For central air systems, pop off the grate, vacuum the outside and inside of the grate and replace the filters.
Don't rely on someone else to hang those priceless pieces of finger paint art and family mementos on your walls. First, decide where you want the picture, using a tape measure to center the picture on your wall. Using a stud detector, find a stud to attach it to, and make a mark where you would like to hang the picture. To ensure it's straight, use a level atop the picture to balance it before you hang it, and once leveled, hammer in your nail.
Unclog THE Drain
While a bottle of draino may open up a minorly clogged tub or, it's a good idea to know how to unclog a drain manually. Not only can drain cleaner put undue damage on older pipes, increasing the risk they'll develop leaks, but it's also not as efficient as other approaches. Fortunately, in many cases, a drain snake can undo that clog in seconds, and, if that fails, a few pushes with a plunger can help loosen any material clogging it up.
Programming a Thermostat
Properly programming a thermostat makes your home more of an agreeable climate, and it can save you money. Luckily, with learning thermostats, it's easier than ever to program. Program it just once and let it figure out your preferred temperatures, ensuring your home is comfortable year-round.
Get Rid of Mice and other Pests
Snap traps and poison aren't the only way to rid your house of vermin. First, check for any holes in your siding, rotting wood, or areas where bugs or mice could enter your home. Once taken care of with some replacement materials, fill up any remaining holes with steel wool or spray foam. For gaps around electrical outlets or windows, spray foam to fill them in. Moreover, if all else fails, a baited Have-a-Heart trap or basic mousetrap works.
If you are always feeling a draft when you sit near your door or windows, or if pests and bugs are getting in, it's time to practice your caulking skills. After cleaning the area thoroughly and drying, lay down painter's tape on each side, pipe the caulk into the gap, and smooth with your finger or a soft, lint-free cloth. Allow to dry, and you'll have a draft-free surface in no time. Using a thermal temperature gun helps to find those cold spots.
Replace a Door Lock
When you get your new home, replace the locks, please. If you didn't get new locks when you moved (do it now) or are just upgrading security, everyone should learn how to install a new lock.
After unscrewing the old lock and removing the bolt, insert the new bolt, and screw it into place. Next, add the new lock, making sure the two parts on either side connect through the deadbolt and screw them into place. Next, Test the lock, and you got it! A safer home for just a few dollars.
Paint a Room
Spending hundreds of dollars or more to have someone else paint a room for you is hardly a deal. Make sure to lint roll your paint roller and enjoy a streak-free application, before you paint your wall. Apply painter's tape along the sides and edges of the area to keep things clean.
Next, gather some paint on your roller and apply in a V-shaped pattern, using a smaller brush to get into corners. Allow the paint to dry before you apply a second coat, and you'll have a great-looking paint job before you know it.
Clean Your Gutters
Gutters should not be used as plant holders if you see plants growing from your gutters you need to clean them promptly. Those gutters full of leaves and plants aren't just an eyesore: they lead to damage on the outside of your home or provide a place for vermin or birds to nest.
Get a ladder, a partner, and a pair of work gloves and take out that mess of leaves looming to bring down the exterior detail, it's attached. Always have someone help to hold the ladder or assist in the cleanup.
Changing a Light Fixture
Upgrading a lighting fixture is easier than you might think. After turning off the power to the house or that specific light fixture, unscrew the existing light fixture, make a note of the wires and where they are connected.
Next, attach your new light fixture to the wires previously powering the old one (match the colors before taking it apart). Once done, screw the light fixture into place, install your bulbs, and turn the power on to ensure it's working.
Patch Holes in Your WallsWhether you're repairing a nail hole or fixing an unexpected furniture move that damaged your wall, knowing how to spackle is a useful skill. Fortunately, all you need is a putty tool, a touch of spackle or joint compound, and some fine sandpaper to even out the surface before repainting. Following these steps, your walls look like new again in no time.
After cleaning and drying the surface, use a drywall patch to cover the hole, affixing it with spackle, feathering the mixture to help it blend evenly with the wall. Once it's dry, sand it with fine sandpaper, repeat the spackle process, sanding, and remove any dust before painting.
Did we leave anything out? Got a tip you know readers can benefit from, drop a comment below.