Purchasing a home is one of life’s major milestones. It’s a huge investment, and it’s up to you to protect and grow your investment. But how? Maintaining a home is more than the obvious things like keeping the inside and outside tidy. This complete Home Maintenance Checklist, organized by month, will keep you on top of all the home maintenance tasks required to keep your home in working order – letting you rest easy knowing your investment is taken care of.
Home Maintenance Checklist For Every Month
- Clean Shower Heads and Faucets to Remove Sediments
Fill a plastic bag with distilled white vinegar – enough to cover the shower head. Place the bag over the head/faucet and tie off with a string or rubber band. Leave to soak for at least 8 hours. Remove bag and run hot water to remove any additional sediment and rinse away vinegar. Better Homes & Gardens(1) recommends doing this more frequently than once a year if you notice sediment buildup or flow issues.
- Vacuum Home Exhaust Fans
Using a vacuum with a brush attachment or a paint brush, dust the cover of your bathroom exhaust fans throughout the home. Remove the cover to clean the front and inside surfaces. While the cover is off, vacuum or brush off dust from the motor.
- Check and Repair Caulking in Home
Over time, caulking can begin to break down and peel away. Areas in the home like the sink, backsplash in kitchen and bathrooms, around tub, and anywhere plumbing comes out of the wall into the home. A tube or two of caulking for your local hardware store will be enough to repair any brittle or peeling areas.
- Check and Tighten Door Locks, Racks, and Bolts in Home
With use, door handles, locks, storage racks, closet rods and anything attached together by bolts or screws can come loose over time. Check all areas of the home, room by room, and tighten and loose attachments.
- Change Air Filters
Do this at LEAST every 3 months. More if you’re prone to allergies. In addition to keeping your air cleaner and safer, a clean filter will reduce the dust in your home. Filters come in so many sizes, so measure your vent and make sure to order the correct size. Outside of local hardware stores, many online retailers sell custom or unique sizes.
- Check Home Exterior for Dry Rot, Paint Chips and Cracks
Walk the exterior and note any areas of damage including paint chips, missing stucco, warped or bulging siding and dry rot. Issues like this can spread quickly and lead to worse damage. Repair as needed.
- Clean Off Roof and Gutters – Inspect For Damage
Debris on your roof or clogging up your gutters can cause water to pool up in areas on your roof, increasing your chances for leaks or rot. Make time to blow or sweep off the roof, and clean out gutters and down spouts. Take a moment to note any areas of damage on your roof – broken or torn shingles/tiles, and repair damage.
- Vacuum Dryer Vent
This includes vacuuming out the lint trap on the front of the dryer and the larger vent in the back of the dryer. Dirty clogged vents waste energy and are a big fire hazard. Disconnect your dryer, and remove the duct from the back of the dryer. Depending on the set up you may be able to stick a vacuum hose down the pipe to clean out any buildup, or you can purchase a vent brush to push out the debris.
- Clean Washing Machine
Washing machines can build up grime and bacteria over time. Refer to manufacture guidelines for how to clean out the wash barrel for your machine, the process varies by style – but it’s generally recommended to maintain your machine at least once a year.
- HVAC Tune-Up
Gear up for Summer by having your HVAC system tuned up. You’ll want to hire an HVAC specialist. They will look for any inefficiencies and make sure your system is ready for warmer weather ahead.
- Repair or Replace Damaged Screens
Avoid unwanted pests from getting into your home, check all screens for tears or holes. For minor holes and rips, screen patches work great and are easy to install. For larger damage (greater than 2-3 inches) you may want to replace the whole screen. There are kits for this too, or visit your local window or screen repair shop for professional help.
- Check Sprinkler System
Test your sprinklers. Look for any broken heads or water waste – like watering more of your driveway than lawn. Repair as needed.
- Fertilize Lawn
Winter months are hard on your lawn. For a summer with full, green grass, early spring is a great time to fertilize and deep water your lawn. Lawn patches can be used to restart growth in bare patches.
- Power Wash Exterior Siding
Keeping the exterior of your home maintained is important. This will help your paint last longer and reduce chances of dry rot. Avoid power washing stucco exterior. A brush with a soft soap and water is best for stucco to avoid damage.
- Clean Up Yard – Remove Dead Plants and Weeds, Clean Up Trees Around Power Lines and Trim Bushes
Winter and Spring can create a mess in your yard. As weather warms up, spend a weekend or two outside picking up all dead or fallen debris around the yard. This is especially important in areas prone to wild fires in dry summer months. If you have power lines on your property, your city may regularly come to inspect and trim. Call to make sure – and if not be sure to trim yourself or hire a tree service for help. Trim back and clean up bushes for a clean summer yard.
- Inspect and Repair Fence
- Inspect, Clean and Repair Deck
Check your deck for any loose boards, dry rot, chipped or peeling paint and seal, broken or damaged railing and leaning posts. Most decks can benefit from a power washing every year and being resealed or painted every 2-5 years. Dry Rot should be repaired as soon as noticed. The Handyman Network Blog Post, 10 Helpful Tips for Designing the Deck of Your Dreams has detailed information on how to best care for your home deck.
- Change Air Filters – AGAIN
Clean air filter = less dust
- Clean Windows and Screens
Wash windows yourself, or hire a professional. Remove screens and spray off any dirt and grime. Wash with water and soft soap and let fully dry before putting the screens back on.
- Check Smoke and CO2 Detectors
At least once a year, press the test button on all your Smoke and CO2 (Carbon Monoxide) Detectors in the home. Replace batteries or install new smoke detectors for the types hardwired into the home if needed. Once, if not twice a year, test for your piece of mind.
- Look for Insect or Pest Damage
Suns out, bugs out. Many insects thrive during summer months. Even if you have a regular pest service treat your home, it’s wise to check your exterior for signs of insect damage both on your home and the surrounding ground. Small holes in dirt, excess spider webs, small piles of siding or paint on ground, or rodent droppings are some signs you have an insect or pest problem.
- Clean Range Hood Filters
The Art of Manliness(2) recommends keeping your range filter clean helps with both the exhaust efficiency and keeps the range safe from grease build up. An easy at-home cleaning solution is hot hot water, a bit of dish soap and a spoonful of baking soda. Mix together and let the filter soak in the solution for at least 10 minutes. Scrub clean, dry and reattach.
- Clean Garage
Sure, it’s hot out, but crank up the music, stay hydrated, and get your sweat on while organizing your garage. Use this time to inspect for pests, and clean your garage door hinges, springs and dust the motor.
- Flush Hot Water Tank and Remove Sediments
Flushing the sediment from your hot water tank every year helps increase the life of your water heater, the efficiency of the system and improve water pressure. Landmark Home Warranty(3) has a great step by step guide on how to safely drain your tank and remove sediment, but when in doubt, call Handyman Network and we can send a plumber out to help.
- Change Air Filters – AGAIN
Clean air filters = safer air to breath
- Cover Outdoor AC Unit
Outdoor AC units need to be protected from falling leaves and other debris. Leaves can build up inside the AC unit, trap moisture and cause rust and other damage. During fall as plant droppings increase, cover the top and up to 6 inches of the sides of your AR unit, you do not need to cover it completely – and should avoid doing so to allow for ventilation.
- Mend Cracks in Driveway
Cracks in concrete driveways can trap water which in winter can freeze, expand, and cause the crack to grow. Catch small cracks before this happens and seal them with flexible concrete sealants.
- Clean and Repair Grout
Clean Grout can transform a room. It’s one area you don’t realize how dirty your grout is – until it’s clean. Gradual build up can turn grout dingy and even deteriorate your grout. A cleaner made specifically for grout, or a homemade vinegar and baking soda mix will do the trick. Patch small areas of missing grout as needed.
- Drain and Cover Exterior Pipes
Before temperatures drop to freezing levels, wrap pipes to keep them from freezing and cracking during cold weather. Towels, Insulation, Trashbags, even pool noodles will work. Don’t forget to drain water from hoses.
- Clean Drains Throughout Home
Removing hair and build up in your drains regularly will help to avoid larger plumbing issues. Drain build up can also create places for bacteria to grow, and release foul odors into your home. If regularly maintained, most drain cleaners and a short (1-2 feet) plastic snake will take care of any drainage issues. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice down the drain to get rid of any bad smells.
- Weather Proof Home
Check for air leaks and dry or brittle weather stripping. Calk air gaps and replace weather stripping as needed.
- Clean Carpets and Rugs
Prepare for the holidays and upcoming months of increased indoor time by shampooing carpets and rugs. Regular cleaning is necessary to remove stains and reduce odor in the home. Just make sure to remove muddy and wet shoes before coming inside after you’re done!
- Inspect Chimney and Clean Soot from Fireplace
Ideally, you should have the chimney checked for any blockages each year before using. The New York Times(4) states this reduces the risk of fire and ensures you have good ventilation so not breathing in any toxic gases. A professional chimney company is best to check the health of your chimney. Sweep out any soot and a simple solution of soap and water will remove soot from the inside of the fireplace.
- Change Air Filters – AGAIN
Clean air filters = a better smelling home
- Clean Stove
Pick a cool day, open up your windows and clean your oven. A self cleaning oven is the easy button, but try to remove any large droppings before you start. You can also purchase a spray on oven cleaner, or make your own solution with water, vinegar and baking soda. Either way, taking time to get this done will reduce fire risk and keep your oven in great working condition.
- Vacuum Fridge Coils
Cleaning Fridge Coils helps keep your Fridge working efficiently so your food stays cool without wasting energy. Unplug your fridge and using a coil brush or pipe cleaner, clean off any dust or build up on the fridge coils (you may need to remove the base grille to access them). Vacuum up any fallen dust and plug fridge back in. Easy!
Month by Month Home Maintenance Checklist with Handyman Network
When it comes to home maintenance, Handyman Network believes that preventive measures are the best approach. Following this checklist will keep your home in excellent working order, and go a long way towards avoiding major home repairs down the road.
If you need help tackling any or all of the Home Maintenance Checklist, give us a call at 916) 989 – 7711 and we can help, advise or refer you to the best people to do the job. Helping you, help your home, is our job. At Handyman Network, we’ve got your back.
- Better Homes and Garden https://www.bhg.com/home-improvement/advice/home-maintenance-checklist/
- Art of Manliness https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/keep-your-house-in-tip-top-shape-an-incredibly-handy-home-maintenance-checklist/
- Landmark Home Warranty https://www.landmarkhw.com/resources/plumbing/how-to-flush-sediment-out-of-a-water-heater/2/279
- NY Times https://www.nytimes.com/guides/realestate/home-maintenance-checklist