Routine maintenance can keep your house’s systems running smoothly and help you avoid unnecessary problems. Luckily, most of the things that need to be done are fairly simple and straightforward. Whether you are a new homeowner or a seasoned professional, having a checklist of maintenance tasks can keep you on track.
1. Keep Trees and Shrubs Trimmed
Trees and shrubs around your home do more than add to its appearance. If they are allowed to get too close to the house, they can also create a home for unwanted pests. Trees that hang over your house can also drop branches and cause roof and gutter damage. Keep them trimmed back to avoid any problems.
2. Clean Your Gutters
Gutters serve a vital function on most homes by channeling water off the roof and away from the foundation. When gutters get clogged with leaves, grit and debris, they are unable to perform that job. Make it a point to clean them out at least once or twice a year. After spring pollen and flowers drop from trees and once the leaves are down in the fall are good times for most people. Be sure to use a sturdy ladder or one of the special extension tools designed to make it safe and easy.
3. Seal Cracks and Gaps
Most homes will have some small gaps that reduce its efficiency. Seal around windows and doors to reduce drafts and cut back on heating and cooling costs. If your home has older windows, consider adding a simple transparent film to help keep heat in during the winter.
There are other reasons to seal those gaps. Did you know that a mouse can fit through an opening that is the size of a dime? Think about what else could possibly get in through the cracks and gaps that are around your house. A few places that you should be sure to check out are where plumbing, electrical and other utilities enter and exit the house.
4. Organize Your Pantry
The kitchen pantry can quickly become a jumble of boxes, plastic containers and bags. That makes it hard to know where anything is and what should be used first. It also gives bugs like the German cockroach a perfect place to find a quick snack. Take a few days to plan a functional pantry design that can help you keep it free from clutter. There is no one method that works great for everyone, but you should have no trouble finding pantry organizations tips. Shelving, pull out drawers, baskets and stacking containers are all excellent ideas to get you started.
5. Inspect the Chimney
If you use a fireplace or wood stove for heat, or if your oil or gas furnace vents through a chimney, you should inspect it regularly. Animal nests and debris can easily cause clogs within its length. The danger posed by smoke and carbon monoxide is very real and serious. If they cannot get out through the chimney because of a clog, they could come back into your house. Carbon monoxide, in particular, is worrisome since you won’t know it’s there.
6. Check Your Sump Pump
A sump pump is a useful tool for removing excess water from the basement or crawl space. However, most people fail to check them regularly. This means they don’t know there is a problem until the water is already rising. Avoid the risk of water and mold damage by testing your sump pump every month or so. Pour a bucket of water into the pump basin and make sure it pumps out. If it doesn’t, go through a few basic troubleshooting steps: check the power, float and check valve. If those all appear good, call a plumber to get it back up and running before you need it to keep your home dry.
7. Waterproof Wooden Decks
Wooden decks and fencing take a lot of abuse from the elements. Sun beats on them, drying them out. Then rain, snow and ice all pound them relentlessly. Take the extra step of waterproofing or sealing them every year. It will make them more attractive and extend their life.
8. Replace Smoke Alarm Batteries
Your house should have smoke alarms placed throughout it. If it doesn’t, now is the time to fix that. Make sure you place them in the best locations to maximize their effectiveness. Once you have smoke detectors in place, keep up with the batteries in them. Most experts recommend changing the batteries when you change your clocks, assuming you live somewhere that observes that practice. Otherwise, once or twice a year is usually sufficient.
9. Clean Out the Dryer Vent
The moisture from your clothes is vented outside through a pipe. Even if you keep the screen inside it clear, some dryer lint will undoubtedly get into the vent pipe. This is incredibly flammable and should be cleaned regularly to avoid a fire. If you have a vent hose that’s longer than a few feet, consider buying a cleaning kit that can snake through it. Home maintenance is an ongoing process. Maintaining your home’s neatness and upkeep is essential wherever you are in your homeowner’s journey, whether you’re starting fresh or doing some final end of tenancy cleaning. If you keep up with small tasks throughout the year, you can increase the safety, attractiveness and efficiency of your home.