Keep your house in top shape year-round with preventative home maintenance
Getting the keys to your own house is a thrilling first step on the journey of being a homeowner. But the work doesn’t stop there. To truly make your house a home and keep it that way, you have to continuously care for it with preventative maintenance.
While the monthly and annual upkeep of a home may feel overwhelming at first, getting into a routine of interior and exterior inspections will keep your family safe and free of any expensive headaches in the future.
Read on for our preventative home maintenance checklist!
Homeowner Maintenance Tips
You may be wondering what exactly maintaining your home entails. The most common tasks you may already be doing are unclogging kitchen and bathroom drains and keeping an eye out for any leaky faucets. But to keep your home in the best shape, you’ll want to dig a little deeper than even servicing your HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems twice a year and changing the filters monthly.
Let’s explore the monthly maintenance your home needs, then move on to things that should be done once or twice a year. And remember, if you need assistance to complete these tasks, it’s best to call a professional.
Monthly Home Maintenance Checklist
A home has many components, and some areas need more attention than others. These monthly home maintenance tasks ensure you keep everyone safe, protect your wallet, and make the rest of your annual maintenance much more manageable.
❒ Check for frayed cords and wires. From cell phone chargers to appliance plugs, make sure your everyday tools aren’t showing signs of fraying, shorting, or sparking.
❒ Test smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers. It’s a great idea to have replacement batteries on hand to make this process even quicker. If you don’t have this safety equipment on each floor of your home, it’s time to install them.
❒ Check your water softeners for mushing and salt bridges and to see if you need to replenish the salt.
❒ Faucet aerators, showerheads, and pipes need monthly cleaning to remove mineral deposits and buildup. Check the spout, base, and under your sinks for moisture outside of the pipes or leaks that not only waste water but can increase your water bill. While inspecting, check the caulking of your sink, shower, and tub for deterioration that can lead to water damage.
❒ Check tub and sink drains for debris or blockages by running hot water for 30 seconds and looking for slow drainage. This check also includes your garbage disposal, which can be cleaned by grinding ice cubes and flushing it with hot water and baking soda.
❒ Check and replace filters in your furnace, range hood, and vent filters monthly to remove any lint and potential debris. Keep replacement air filters on hand to swap in right after your appliance checks.
❒ Test your sump pump. Most Texas homes don't have basements, but if your home is one of those that does, or even if you have low-lying rooms, having a working sump pump is important. Whether it's a full-on flood or thawing snow, you’ll want your sump pump working to save you headaches later on.
Annual home maintenance
While monthly maintenance tends to involve areas of your home you use often, annual maintenance addresses those pesky out-of-sight-out-of-mind tasks. Making your inspections seasonal and spreading them out over the year helps create a routine and prevent overwhelm.
But most importantly, completing these seasonal home maintenance checklists makes sure you can enjoy your space to the utmost ability without preventable issues popping up.
Spring Home Maintenance Checklist
, budding wildflowers
, and longer days tell us it’s time for some spring cleaning. As you get ready to pack away your coats and holiday mugs, make sure to add these tasks to your list to keep your house in top shape.
❒ Inspect your roof and chimney for damages and missing or loose shingles. Don’t be afraid to hire a professional to do this. In fact, we recommend that you do! Hail damage can be difficult to spot for the untrained eye, but can still cause leaks or further damage in future storms. Remember, spring in Texas is severe weather season, so you'll want to be prepared and your roof in good condition.
❒ Inspect your windows and screen doors for rips, cracks, and other damages. If you need to replace them, don’t wait and do so right away. Also, inspect the caulking and weather stripping for damage.
❒ Refinish fences and decks to prepare the woodwork for a new season with the elements.
❒ Clean gutters and downspouts by clearing out leaves and debris. This should be done twice a year in spring and fall.
❒ Have your septic tank pumped and inspected by a professional.
❒ Deep clean your clothes washer, dryer vents, and dishwasher, including the filters and filter chambers, to avoid dryer fire hazards and plumbing issues.
❒ Service your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system, so you have plenty of time to fix any issues before summer. You’ll want to check your HVAC filters as well. Dirty filters are one of the leading causes of AC issues, so keeping them clean can save you a bundle!
❒ Flush your water heater by emptying the tank and filling it with fresh water to rid it of sediment accumulation. Sediment accumulation can cause clogs and leaks and may result in catastrophic problems down the road.
❒ Inspect the exterior of your home. To manage your home's curb appeal, consider cleaning or power washing exterior surfaces, like sidewalks, patios, porches, and siding.
❒ Check your driveway and walkways for damage from winter weather, like cracks you’ll need to patch.
❒ Turn your outside faucets back on to check for leaks and damages.
❒ Check the health of trees in your yard and clean up areas where branches may have fallen. Dead limbs stuck in trees can cause serious damage to your home during spring storms. Just make sure you're mindful when trimming trees - oak wilt is a real problem in Texas and trimming at the wrong time can cause it to spread.
❒ Inspect your pool by testing the water, changing the valves and filters, and ensuring all your equipment works properly.
❒ Drain your boiler to clear out accumulated sediment if you use steam heat.
❒ Tune up or replace your lawn mower to prepare for lawn maintenance in the upcoming seasons.
Summer exterior maintenance checklist
When everyone is ready for barbeques
, pool parties, and firepits, you may not want to spend your time doing handiwork. But don’t worry - a little bit goes a long way in making sure you have a stress-free summer. Add these tasks to your summer checklist to catch small things before they become big problems.
❒ Inspect your sprinklers
for needed valve repairs or replacements.
❒ Inspect your home for termites and pests.
Check the perimeter of your house and year for any entrance points and standing or pooling water. Call a professional if you fear you have an infestation or need extra support.
❒ Reverse your ceiling fan to spin counterclockwise and circulate cool air.
❒ Inspect your basement for leaks and cracks, and test your sump pump on schedule (again, if you're one of the few Texans that have a basement).
❒ Check your kitchen exhaust fan and clear or replace it.
❒ Clean and organize your garage. You’ll want to make sure to oil the door opener and chain, all door hinges, and the garage door itself. You also want to secure any shelving or storage in the garage.
❒ Clean your refrigerator and freezer coils, empty and clean the drip trays, and check for any damages or leaks.
❒ Check for leaks and moisture outside of pipes in your kitchen and bathroom cabinets, sinks, and toilets.
❒ Clean your air conditioner filter and inspect your system. You’ll replace your filter 1-2 times a month, so have extra on hand.
❒ Inspect and replace storm doors and storm windows for cracks or damages. Remember, hurricane season officially starts in June, so you'll want to prepare ahead of time!
❒ Make note of any upcoming home improvement projects for the fall and winter seasons. Begin mapping out a course of action and needed professionals.
Fall home maintenance checklist
Along with falling leaves and cozy ambiances, you’ll want to take advantage of the mild, dry temperatures of autumn to tackle important projects. Think of it like this: The fall season is the last chance we get to prepare for the conditions of winter. Add these tasks to your to-do list:
❒ Have your HVAC system inspected, especially if you used the AC a lot during the summer. You’ll want to have plenty of time to fix any damages before you need to heat your home.
❒ Cover the inside and outside of your window air conditioning unit to prevent drafts, or remove it altogether if you’d like to use the window. Remember to store the unit upright and not on its side.
❒ Check your chimney and fireplace for potential hazards and damages.
❒ Inspect the weather stripping and caulk on your doors and windows, replacing them if needed to keep in warm air.
❒ Inspect the exterior of your home for any visible damage to the siding.
❒ Clear the leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts. This should be done twice a year in spring and fall.
❒ Prepare your exterior plumbing for cold weather by draining the pipes and sprinklers, shutting them off, and wrapping insulation around them. If you have an unheated garage, treat the plumbing there as well.
❒ Clean your carpets, dust furniture, and remove potential allergens from your home before it’s too cool to open your windows and air out your home.
❒ Flush your water heater and check for any leaks and damages.
❒ Bleed your radiator (aka remove trapped air) to prepare it for the new season.
❒ Rake leaves and yard debris to allow sunlight to reach your home and prevent mold. You can repurpose your leaves for composting or mulch. Mowing once a week keeps the leaves broken down and provides nutrients to your yard.
❒ Prepare your pool for winter by cleaning, testing, and adding winterizing chemicals to the water before removing equipment and draining and covering it. You can call a pool maintenance service to do this for you as well.
Check out our previous blog for a more detailed look at fall maintenance!
Winter home maintenance checklist
Most necessary maintenance will be wrapped up in the fall. (hopefully). However, there are still a few seasonal maintenance to-dos to prevent winter damage to your home.
Winter can be harshest climate that your home will endure during the year. Freezing temperatures can damage pipes
, roofs, doors, windows, and more. Ideally, we’ll do most of the necessary maintenance in the fall due to winter being too cold and unpredictable to work in. However, there are still critical tasks to add to your wintertime to-do list to keep you safe and warm
❒ Cover window air-conditioning units inside and outside, or remove them for the season.
❒ Check your attic and basement for pests and leaks, especially after hail season (which can extend into the fall at times).
❒ Reach out to professionals to check your roof, gutters, and downspouts after damaging storms.
❒ Clean refrigerator and freezer coils, and clean and empty drip trays.
❒ Insulate exterior pipes outside your home, in your basement, and unheated garages. If you leave home, keep the thermostat at 55 degrees.
❒ Prepare winter storm essentials, such as emergency kits, snow shovels, salt, and generators, and plan ahead for events like ice storms and power outages. Don't forget to put together a winter roadside emergency kit for your vehicle, too!
❒ Move your outdoor furniture inside to store until the weather warms up.
❒ Reverse your ceiling fan to spin clockwise to help warm your home.
❒ Check and change the filters on your heating systems. Similar to the AC, this will be changed 1-2 times per month, so make sure to have extras on hand.
Finally, as you go through your home each season performing necessary maintenance, you may want to consider updating your home inventory checklist for your homeowners insurance (like our handy Germania Home Inventory Checklist
)! This document simply helps you keep track of the value of your personal belongings in the event that you need to file a claim in the future.
Regular maintenance on your home doesn’t have to be overwhelming. With these monthly and seasonal checklists, you’ll have a routine that ensures peace of mind for you and a longer lifespan for your home.
Don't forget to keep your homeowners insurance policy in top shape, too! For more information about Germania's insurance products, request a free quote online or reach out to your local Authorized Agent today!