October 1st, 2015
An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure, so they say. In this two part series, we’re going to look at what you need to do to take good care of your biggest financial investment and not have expensive repairs down the road. This week, we’ll look at tasks to maintain the inside of your house and next week, we’ll review what the outside needs.
First, decide how you’re going to record this. Do you want to use an online calendar like Google Calendar and share it with the other household members? That way you can schedule and assign tasks. A second way is to buy a blank calendar and write down tasks and other notes. Then, next year, you can review what you did and create a second calendar. With the online calendar, you can repeat the task once a year.
Next make a list of everything you think needs to be done. Those who live in homeowner associations might also find task ideas by looking at that information. You can search online for annual home maintenance list suggestions. And you can use our suggestions below as a starting point. You know your house and what it needs. If you live in a desert, you may not need to clean out your gutters as often as someone who lives next to a lot of trees that shed their leaves every year.
Then, jot down how often each tasks should be done and try to organize it into frequency and season. Finally, schedule it on the calendar.
So you have this beautiful calendar of scheduled events. How are you going to remember to look at it or do it? Set yourself reminders. For those with paper calendars, make it a habit to review it once a week when you’re doing your regular weekly planning. For those with the electronic calendar, make sure each tasks has a pop up reminder and an email reminder.
Anytime: Flush hot water heater
Anytime: Review insurance and photograph any new items before it’s time to renew your policy
Anytime: Build or refill your disaster preparedness kit
Anytime: Tighten any handles, knobs, racks, etc. Go through the house and inspect anything that could have a loose screw.
Anytime: Remove showerheads and clean sediment with a good soak in vinegar water. This prolongs its life and helps with water pressure as well.
Early Fall: Book a heat inspection
Early Fall: If you have a sump pump, test it.
January: Organize all your paperwork for taxes (Ok, not home maintenance, but it is a great task to schedule)
Late Spring and Late Fall: Reverse ceiling fan direction
Check/change batteries in smoke and co2 detectors
Clean exterior dryer vent
Vacuum fridge coils
Do a home safety check where you test smoke detector batteries, check all locks, and look for things like loose knobs, shelves, tripping hazards and more.
Check your attic for leaks or critters (squirrels, mice, bees . . . ).
Take one Saturday every six months with your whole family, and give the whole house a proper deep clean. Appliances, windows, dusting every nook and cranny (including the basement), etc. Keeping things clean and not letting dirt/grime/dust build up over years and years will help keep your home in tip-top shape.
Clean out the tracks of your window. Vacuum and run a cotton swab to remove all the grime and dust.
Wipe down inside of fridge and replace baking soda in fridge
Flip your mattress and vacuum your mattress and/or box spring
Clean baseboards and trim
Inspect and reseal grout/caulk as needed in tiled areas
Wash range hood ventilation filters. If you cook with grease frequently, you may want to do this monthly. You can use a degreaser and let it sit in it for awhile, or you could run it through the dishwasher. Check your Owner’s Manual.
Check your fire extinguishers
Run water and flush toilets in unused spaces. This mostly applies to guest bathrooms, or any other sinks/water sources you don't use on a regular basis.
Check your water softener if you have it, and add salt if needed. You shouldn't need to add salt every month, but better to check anyway, as it only takes about 5 seconds.
Change air filters (Pro-tip: Buy a year’s supply of filters to store at once.)
Clean and freshen your garbage disposal. the handiest and best all-around solution seems to be vinegar ice cubes. Put some vinegar in an ice tray and let it freeze, then run the ice cubes through the disposal. It freshens it, but as a bonus, ice sharpens the blades.
If you have a front loading washing machine, you may need to drain water. Check your owner’s manual.
Run an empty load in your dishwasher with something like TSP to clean up hard water deposits