Nothing says homeownership like yearly home maintenance. Owning your own home is a wonderful thing and a better investment than renting. To retain the value of that investment, you need to maintain your home and make improvements when necessary.
What is Yearly Home Maintenance?
In our homes, we have our everyday tasks that need attention. Bathrooms need cleaning, dust needs to be removed, and floors need to be washed. These usually happen on somewhat of a daily or weekly schedule. They cannot be neglected for too long, but they are certainly not a part of your yearly maintenance routine. Your bathroom might get pretty gross if you only clean it once a year.
Yearly home maintenance consists of more of the areas of the home that are not in need of daily attention. Even though they do their daily jobs without much help from you, if the yearly check-ups are ignored, and not given the repairs and maintenance they need for peak performance, you could end up with larger more expensive repairs after too much neglect. Forming a yearly home maintenance schedule can help with the list of home maintenance needs.
A yearly home maintenance schedule doesn’t need to be rigid. Simply having an idea of what needs to be done when, can help ease the stress of worrying you might forget something. One simple idea is to just use a spiral notebook. Every year you can list what you checked off the list, repaired, or improved. It is also a great place to keep the contact information of professionals you prefer calling to help with repair and home improvements. If you built with a custom home builder, it would be helpful to hang on to his contact info also, and add it to your list, just in case you ever have a question. Having at least the year written down of when repairs were done, can be very helpful if you decide to sell. Buyers ask those questions, and really appreciate when you have the answers.
There are even home maintenance apps, and software for your computer to help you keep track of your yearly home maintenance projects. Home improvements, such as new granite countertops in your kitchen can go into that list as well. Anything that improves or maintains the quality of your home is maintenance.
When making your list or schedule for yearly home maintenance, think seasonally. Spring and fall tend to be milder in temperature, and a perfect time for outdoor maintenance and improvement projects like landscaping, or window installations. Summer and winter may be a better time to tackle indoor projects like painting, when the weather is too intense to be outside. Nothing is etched in stone, but here are some ideas for each season.
Spring is a wonderful time for all things new, and a common time for spring cleaning fever! After a long, cold winter, many of us find ourselves coming out of the winter doldrums with a sudden urge to open windows, and clean up our house. Take advantage of that urge and open up your yearly home maintenance list. Some great ideas for spring are…
- Cleaning windows inside and out. They are finally open – might as well clean them! There are convenient window cleaning products you can attach to your garden hose for cleaning the outside of your windows and screens, and don’t forget the storm and screen doors. Regular glass cleaner for the inside works great.
- Get your A/C serviced now so you aren’t caught off guard in the heat of summer with a unit that stops working. If you have the number of an HVAC professional you have used before, all the better. The A/c needs a yearly check-up and cleaning, as does the entire system, to keep running smoothly.
- Keep your house safely covered by checking on your roof. Loose or damaged shingles can pop up, and you’ll never know it until it is too late. If you aren’t comfortable climbing up a ladder and doing this yourself, call a residential roofing company and they will check it for you. A check of the roof is often free. Damage from hail and heavy snows can occur without us knowing, and as with most home maintenance, it is best to catch the damage sooner than later.
- While on the roof, spring is a pleasant time to clean your solar panels if you have them. Solar panels don’t require a lot of maintenance thankfully, but the removal of leaves and a cleaning will keep them working nicely. A bucket of soapy water and a soft cloth is all you need.
- The same goes for your siding and gutters. Leaves love to hibernate in your gutter. They just need to be pulled out so your gutters can flow freely. A ladder and a pair of gloves are all that is required. Siding may require a pressure washer to get mildew and worked in dirt off. A pressure washer can be rented or borrowed. They can be dangerous and cut through quite a bit, so follow directions carefully.
- With the ability to possibly open windows for ventilation during the spring season, now may be the best time to refinish your worn out hardwood floors. This isn’t something that will happen every year. But if you know it’s coming, you can add it to that yearly maintenance list as you make it…even if it is written down for the following year so you can prepare. If you are comfortable doing this yourself it will save some money. It is a very important job that needs to be done right, so if you are not confident, call in a professional.
- Late spring is the perfect time to improve your home’s curb appeal by planting annuals around your years and in planters. You’ll be happy you did so when the colorful flowers begin to flourish. You can also easily fertilize your lawn at this time, with granules you spread using a hopper, or spray liquid fertilizer. All of these items can be found at your local home improvement store.
- Sweep the deck and give it a good cleaning in the spring. Waiting until summer isn’t wise since you will want to use the deck often in the summer. Many home builders now build decks with maintenance-free materials. However if yours is wood, and the paint is peeling, now is a great time to repaint it. A pressure washer is again helpful in removing old paint. The deck then will be painted using deck paint, also found at home improvement stores.
- Finally, make a check for any pests that may live near or in your home. This can mean looking for everything from ants to spiders. Whether you need bed bug control or termite exterminators, spring is the best to get it done before the little buggers wake up.
Consider spring a time of freshening up around the house. You need to prepare for the summer fun ahead.
There are plenty of things to do outside in the summer, but if it gets too hot, this is a great time for indoor projects too. Have you been dreaming of adding some french doors in your home, leading out to the deck, or into your office? Add it to your summer project’s list. Or maybe a fresh coat of paint in a bedroom when the heat is too much outside. On the other hand, the milder, beautiful days of summer might beckon you out for more landscaping projects. Either way, in between summer vacations and trips to the beach…summer is a perfect time to revive your home and keep it running smoothly.
- Use summer as a reminder to check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace batteries if needed, and test them to make sure they work. This can be done in any season, but choosing one season and writing it down, will ensure it gets done.
- Continue the landscaping clean up and improvement if necessary. Keep flowers watered if it is a dry summer, and consider some new mulch or rock, whichever you prefer, to add to your new curb appeal.
- You have a lot of vents in your home. We don’t think about them too much, but they sit there collecting a whole lot of dust throughout the year. Now is a great time to go around the house with a vacuum and its attachments, and clean your return vents, and bathroom vents. They will run better and you’ll feel better getting rid of those clumps of dust.
- While you have the vacuum out, move some furniture, and lift up seat cushions. You’ll be surprised at all of the dirt and debris you can vacuum up!
- Clean your garbage disposal. Yes, sounds pretty gross, but the disposal itself will get really gross if it isn’t cleaned once in a while. A little trick is to cut up a lemon or two and run them through the disposal. It helps to remove old particles and leaves a fresher smell in the disposal.
- Change the setting on your ceiling fans. If you enjoy the use of ceiling fans, circulating warm air in the winter and cool air in the summer, now is the time to flip the switch on your fans that creates a counter-clockwise spin, to push down the air and give you a nice breeze.
- Summer is a great time for certain home renovations. If a kitchen renovation is in your future, consider the summer while you are able to grill meals outside. You’ll also appreciate the fact that you can get away from the mess of renovation by going outside.
In your yearly home maintenance notebook/list, consider a section where you write down ideas for improvements you’d like to make happen such as, kitchen designs, and new bathrooms. Most big projects aren’t yearly, but keeping all maintenance and improvement ideas and schedules in one spot can be helpful.
Fall is a beautiful time of year with gorgeous colors and crisp, cool air. It is also a reminder that winter is coming. A few yearly maintenance jobs in the fall, are to prepare us for the cold winter months ahead.
- Shut off the water. If you have a sprinkler system, it needs to be drained and shut off. Don’t forget to turn off the timer when you do this. If your landscaping person does this for you, be sure it is scheduled to happen. Leaving water in the system to freeze can lead to a hefty repair bill.
- It is time to put the summertime fun away, such as hoses and watering cans. Unhook your hoses and store them away until spring.
- If you have trees, you are sure to be raking in the fall. Leaving the leaves lay there to be buried by snow later, can damage your lawn.
- Don’t get stuck in a cold home over the winter because you didn’t have your furnace checked and cleaned. Every homeowner needs a regular HVAC professional they can count on in the spring and fall for regular HVAC checkups.
Fall is an interesting time of cleaning up summer and preparing for winter. Depending on where you live will affect your yearly home maintenance list for fall.
Winter is drastically different in different areas of the country. Most everyone cools down quite a bit, and can prepare for winter. Winter is the best time for indoor projects and maintenance. Early winter is a time to prepare for harsh weather just in case.
- Leaky faucets. As long as you are stuck inside, take a day to run all of your faucets to make sure they have no leaks. Catching a small leak early is better than waiting for a plumbing catastrophe.
- Get your snowblower tuned up. Many small engine repair companies will give your snowblower a good cleaning and make sure it is ready to go. The first blizzard of the season isn’t the time to find out you’ll be shoveling.
- Your water heater should be drained annually. Add this to the winter section of your yearly home maintenance list. It is easy to find instructions online and only requires a bucket. The cold water will be shut off, and water will be drained into a bucket. You can also call a professional if you are more comfortable.
- A water softener keeps your faucets looking new longer, and has many benefits as opposed to hard water. If you have one, it should be cleaned and checked once a year to every five years, depending on your preference and use. While you are maintaining the water heater in the winter, add the softener as well.
The bulk of home maintenance happens in the warmer months, simply because you can be outside, and much maintenance is needed there. Preparing and scheduling in advance, will allow you to rest easy in the winter, and know your home is well maintained.
As mentioned a few times, yearly home maintenance often leads to home improvement projects or renovations. Many homes are built with custom floor plans, but after some time you may tire of certain ideas you once had to have. In the United States, our home improvement industry is worth 145 billion. We value our homes. Take your time, add to the list when necessary. Keep track of all of your maintenance and improvements. A well-maintained home will keep you safe, and give you peace of mind as your family and your home, grow and change.