Being a home owner is a lot like being the boss – you get to decide what goes where and what’s OK (or not).
Want to leave a shrugged-off coat in the hallway, on the floor? Fine, if you say so. Muddy shoes in the living room? If you’re OK with it, then go for it.
But, when it comes to keeping your home in shape, you’re not so much the boss of the house as its number 1 employee: There are just some things you have to do to so your home’s a safe place. (Some of these tasks can also keep it looking good, which is a nice side benefit!)
If you’re new to home ownership and your heart was set on immediately chipping away at your home-renovation wish-list, know that this may not be an either/or situation.
You may be able to start on your home improvement list and take care of the to-dos on this list too.
If you’re still feeling a bit deflated by this list of tasks, keep in mind that regular, ongoing maintenance could help you protect your investment (and your bank account) over the long term.
Veteran home owners with kits of well-used tools may also find this rundown of to-dos helpful, because, let’s face it: It can be tough to keep up with everything that needs to be done. This list could help you stay organized.
Home maintenance tasks you can expect to do over and over (and over) again
Before we get into the season-by-season checklist, let's start with a few overarching notes.
This mini guide can feel repetitive. Seriously, there is a lot of information about vents. But there are at least three reasons repeat items keep showing up on home maintenance lists:
- They can keep you safe
- They can help you keep a lid on water, heating and cooling costs
- They may help you identify problems before they become costly projects
Things to do every month
- Test your smoke alarm, carbon monoxide detector and fire extinguishers
- Make sure drains (kitchen, bathroom, shower, tub, basement) are clear
- Clean or change filters for heat and a/c systems
- Make sure dryer vents are clear (think lint and dust)
Things to do every season
- Check the roof and gutters
- Make sure outdoor air vents are clear (nests, ice and snow are not your friends)
- Maintain or clean heating and/or cooling systems (test pressure switches, blower and motor)
Although leaving a hose outside in the winter may not dent your budget, skipping some of these other items could turn small probelms into significant, costly ones.
Another thing to keep in mind is that each season may be an opportunity to uncover issues you won’t see during other times of the year.
For example: A snow-covered roof can look pretty, but if you see a patchy melt pattern, it could be a sign that your home needs better insulation. It could also mean it’s susceptible to water damage.
With that out of the way, on to the seasonal breakdown.