Investing in real estate goes far beyond the purchase of your new home. Once you’re a homeowner, there are a lot of regular tasks that will help maintain your property over time.
Some home maintenance activities are dictated by time, such as replacing a fridge when it fails. Others are circumstantial, like repairing a piece of broken drywall after knocking it when moving a piece of furniture.
Because the vast majority of home maintenance is cyclical, this quick reference guide for common recurring home maintenance activities will help you keep up your home maintenance tasks throughout the year.
Let’s begin with a spring cleaning. Spring is iconically associated with cleaning, clearing, and refreshing living spaces. Here are a few key home maintenance areas to cover during each year’s post-winter refresher.
- Review the exterior siding, masonry, roof, and windows. Make minor repairs (like caulking windows, patching a foundation, fixing loose shingles, or touching up paint) where necessary, and plan for more extensive repairs before the rainy season arrives.
- Clean your gutters and test with a garden hose for proper drainage.
- Trim trees and bushes.
- Check porches and decks for loose boards. Apply a fresh coat of paint or stain if needed.
- Install storm windows and doors in preparation for stormy weather ahead.
- Check the inside of your attic for leaks or nature’s friendly intruders.
- Recaulk kitchen and bathroom seams where necessary.
- Vacuum your refrigerator coils.
- Remove lint from the dryer vent.
- Freshen up your AC unit (including an inspection) or install window units later in the season.
- Clean windows from the inside.
- Schedule a septic tank inspection if needed.
- Service the lawnmower to prepare for the grass-cutting season.
Summer is hurricane season in Texas, and there are a few weather-related items you’ll want to keep on your list for the hotter, wetter mid-year months.
- Call in the pros to conduct larger exterior repairs identified in the spring (new roof, replace siding, etc.)
- Reverse your ceiling fans to push air downward.
- Schedule a duct cleaning service.
- Watch for and remove standing water to avoid mosquitoes and other pests.
- Clean out your kitchen exhaust hood.
- Keep up on your lawn and landscaping (this is the time of year when grass and topiaries can grow quickly, and it may need extra watering during hot days).
- Fix cracks in your asphalt driveway (if you have one).
As the temperature drops from its summer peak, it’s time to clean up and prepare for winter. Remember, hurricanes are still a concern through Thanksgiving, too.
- Maintain exterior cleanup (especially after storms) and clear leaves from the gutters.
- If you had any storm damage such as fallen trees, be sure to get those cleared out as well.
- Swap out storm windows for normal screens after hurricane season is over.
- Have your furnace serviced and make sure fresh filters are in place.
- If you have a wood stove or fireplace, make sure to sweep the chimneys.
- Winterize your AC units.
- Rake up leaves in the yard and landscaping.
- Once the weather is cold enough, reverse ceiling fans to blow upward for circulation.
Texas homeowners have learned to be prepared for anything in the winter. We don’t know if we’ll see mild temperatures or ice and snow. To prepare for anything, you’ll want to tend to a few basic maintenance activities.
- Vacuum refrigerator coils and clean dryer vents again.
- Check the house (especially the kitchen, bathroom and basement) for any plumbing leaks.
- Conduct any interior maintenance projects (minor repairs and improvements) while the outside weather is colder.
- If the weather drops below freezing, check for ice dams and icicle damage around your home’s exterior, monitoring your gutters closely.
A Monthly Addendum
There’s something to be said for maintaining a sense of kinetic friction with your home maintenance. Rather than tending to things once a year, try to review some items on a monthly basis. Most of these are quick and easy, making your seasonal checklists shorter.
- Test fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, gas leak detectors, and other safety devices throughout your home.
- Check furnace and HVAC filters and water softeners, replacing and refilling where necessary.
- Vacuum the upper edges of rooms as well as heat vents and registers (make sure these are unblocked, too).
- Flush out water and accumulated sediment from your water heater (