A home maintenance checklist is arguably something that not every homeowner currently has, but definitely something they should. With homeownership comes many advantages, as well as many responsibilities. Gone are the days of being able to call up a landlord to fix a leaky faucet or cracked tile. Everything to do with your home, from minor upkeep to more lengthy repairs, falls down to you and you alone.
Carrying out regular maintenance over the year will not only keep your property in good shape, but can also diminish the likelihood of costly repair work in future.
It doesn’t have to be an intimidating prospect though. Following a home maintenance checklist can be a helpful starting point, and the good news is, you don’t have to do everything all at once. Instead, break up the list over the course of a calendar year. By doing a handful of upkeep related tasks every so often, you can save yourself time and money in the long run.
Here, we break down twelve important tasks for any owner’s home maintenance checklist, as well as how regularly you should aim to do them over the course of a year.
Once a month
Check the water softener.
Water softeners remove ions that cause water to be hard, like calcium and magnesium. If your water softener isn’t correctly looked after, it won’t continue to get rid of hard water and has the potential to damage your plumbing, or create noticeable mineral deposits throughout your shower, toilet or dishes that have come out of the dishwasher.
Take a look at your water softener once a month to ensure salt levels are adequate. You most likely will not need to add salt to it every time, but a good rule of thumb is to make sure that the salt level never falls below one-third of the brine tank. If you do notice it to be low and turning into a ‘mush,’ be sure to remove the mushy salt before adding any more.
Check the fire extinguisher.
A fire extinguisher is an essential item for any household – if you don’t have one, your first step should be to purchase one for your home immediately. One of those things that you don’t need until you do, a fire extinguisher could quite literally be a lifesaver. Even if it has yet to expire, according to the National Fire Prevention Association, it’s important to check your fire extinguisher once a month.
First, make sure your fire extinguisher is easily accessible and that no other objects are in the way of potentially being able to grab it in a flash. Next, take a look at the tamper and safety seals and ensure they are undamaged. Finally, check the pressure gauge to make sure that the extinguisher has maintained the correct pressure. If there’s a test indicator, use that to ensure the pressure reading is within the correct range.
Any obvious signs of damage, like a noticeable leak or corrosion, are signs that you should purchase a new fire extinguisher.
Tackle the bathroom.
Properly. We’re not just talking about a quick ten second wipe-down, but rather a two-fold approach. First, thoroughly clean the shower heads and faucets to remove unsightly soap scum. It builds up quickly, and only gets more difficult to remove over time.
The next task? (And probably one of the less appealing aspects of any home maintenance checklist). Unclog the drains. Remove any hair or other debris that may be clogging the drain in your shower or tub. Similar to faucets and shower heads, the longer you put off this task, the worse it gets. The good news is that once you’re done, your bathroom will look and feel significantly cleaner.
Once every three months
Replace air filters.
The smaller the family and the fewer the number of pets may mean you don’t have to replace air filters quite as often, but it is still worthwhile to give them a check at least every three months. If the filter appears dirty, it’s time for a swap. Some say that purchasing cheaper filters and replacing them more often is a better option than using expensive filters.
Do a deep clean.
This includes everything. Give every room in the house a thorough scrub down. This includes getting rid of grime to dusting every nook and cranny. Make sure you clean out your kitchen appliances too – both inside and out.
While largely dependent on the ‘wear and tear’ your home experiences, (for instance, a home with multiple children will likely get messy more often than that of a professional couple with no kids), a regular deep clean regardless will make sure that dirt doesn’t build up over time. The end result is tangible. Once you have a sparkling-like-new space, you will thank yourself for your efforts.
Clean the carpets.
Steam clean your carpets to get rid of both visible dirt, and what you cannot see. Mildew spores and mould can often go undetected in carpeted spaces, but can be removed with a steam cleaner, making this an important task every three months or so.
Twice a year
Vacuum fridge coils.
Cleaning the coils in your refrigerator once every six months can potentially save you from bigger repairs in future. It can also reduce your utility bill. And considering your fridge can use up to 15% of your home’s total power, that’s not insignificant. When fridge coils get dirty, the fridge itself requires more power.
The good news is that cleaning the coils is not a difficult task. Simply unplug your fridge and remove the grate that covers the coils. Then, give them a quick vacuum or wipe down, being sure to get rid of any resistant dirt.
Check your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector.
It’s another quick and easy addition to the home maintenance checklist that could potentially save your life. With $12 billion in personal property lost every year in house fires, as well as a total of 5,149 people losing their lives between 1999-2010 from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, checking smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be a priority for every home maintenance checklist.
Most detectors will have an expiry date on the back that shows when they need to be replaced. Running a quick test at least twice a year is still a good idea. If you have done any home repairs or renovations since the last time you checked, it’s even more important to make sure the detectors are still fully functional.
Test your water heater pressure.
Not only is this task important in preventing leaks, making sure that your water heater maintains the right pressure will allow it to run more efficiently. It’s also really easy. Just raise and lower the test lever multiple times to that lifts the brass stem attached. Hot water should rush out the end of the drainpipe. If that doesn’t happen (no water or a very small amount), it means it’s time to replace the valve.
Once a year
While you may spend the majority of your time at home inside, it’s equally important to ensure that outdoor work is a part of your home maintenance checklist. Once year, take a look at the gutters of your home and remove any fallen leaves or other debris. Make sure as well that your roof is in good shape, and replace any shingles that may have become broken or dislodged.
If you have a deck, check to see whether it is in need of any upkeep. Always avoid putting carpets of any kind on a deck that is waterproof, as water can easily become trapped for long periods of time. If you have outdoor plants, make sure that they are placed on pot feet to allow for space between the bottom of the plant and the deck for water to drain and dry off.
Do a general maintenance check on your HVAC system.
It’s a home maintenance checklist item that’s easy to forget about or put off, since your HVAC system isn’t necessarily something visible in your home. But just like getting your car serviced regularly is critical to its longevity, so to is maintaining the HVAC system in your home. It will also prevent unexpected breakdowns and ensure that it is running at the best possible efficiency.
Draining your hot water heater is a good place to start. Then, trim shrubs that may have grown around your outdoor AC unit to ensure maximum ventilation. Make sure to clear any ducts that may have accumulated dirt. This includes the lint duct attached to the back of your dryer.
Check your electrical outlets.
Do a top to bottom sweep of all the electrical outlets in your home once a year, including ones that may not get much if any use. Test to make sure that they are all still functional.
Using a surge protection strip to plug in electronics is a good idea, but it still only offers minimal protection. While power surges as a result of a lightening strike are sometimes unpredictable, another culprit of a surge is electric rust. This refers to the gradual build up of rust as a result of smaller, less noticeable surges over time. Investing in home surge protection is a worthwhile idea. The cost can easily come in significantly lower than cost associated with damage from a significant electrical surge.
Crossing items off the home maintenance checklist
The first thing that often comes to mind with home ownership is the financial responsibility it entails. Should the time ever come when you are thinking of selling your home, SoldNest can help. We make sure that you net more from the sale by charging just a 1.5% listing fee and preparing a customized marketing plan tailored to your property that will generate a higher interest from home buyers.
But in addition to financials, understanding the ins and outs of maintaining a property is important for every homeowner. Use this home maintenance checklist that breaks up important tasks over the course of a year to make it easy. It will ensure that your home is in top condition and ultimately save you time and money in long run.