Homeownership is a major responsibility and keeping up with the many tasks for maintaining your home can be challenging. But often, proactive attention to some key areas around your home can help you avoid costly repairs. To help you keep on top of some common tasks, here’s a home maintenance checklist of things to do each month:
1. Check Fire and Security Devices and Get Provisions
Take precautions to make sure your home is safe and that you have supplies on hand in case there’s a storm or other event that leads to a power outage. Test your security system to make sure that it’s properly functioning. Test and replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and check the expiration date on your fire extinguishers to confirm they’re ready in the event of an emergency.
2. Keep Up With Your Landscaping
In addition to weekly lawn care, aim to tend to your flower beds at least once per month as part of your house maintenance routine in warmer seasons. In some circumstances, letting weeds grow freely, or dead leaves and debris to collect, such as in flower beds, can actually create risk to your property; it can attract pests and even be a fire hazard. Consider spending time each month trimming and maintaining your landscaping to keep things tidy and help keep out unwanted pests.
3. Maintain Your Kitchen and Appliances
For many people, the kitchen is the space in a home where people spend the most time. Spilled foods and liquids associated with cooking, prepping and serving meals could eventually do damage to your floors and countertops. Each month, take time to wipe down cabinets and clear expired items from your pantry. Clean your dishwasher according to the manufacturer’s recommendations to help prevent clogs or leaks, and replace water filters in your refrigerator as needed. If your refrigerator has an ice machine or water dispenser, check the hose between the wall and the refrigerator to determine if it is pinched or stressed. Also look for signs of leaking or wear and tear.
4. Clean Humid Areas
Showers, bathrooms and other areas of the home that can become damp may get mold or mildew, particularly if you don’t have appropriate ventilation. To help avoid mold or mildew buildup, scrub bathroom tile and grout with your preferred cleaning product at least once per month. Make sure to follow product instructions and have adequate ventilation when cleaning. Inspect the fixtures and pipes for any signs of leaks, discoloration or other changes that could indicate wear or corrosion. Check caulking around showers, bathtubs, sinks and toilet bases, and make repairs as needed.
5. Inspect Major Home Systems
Even if you don’t need to clean or service your homes largest systems on a monthly basis, it’s a good idea to check them for potential problems. During the colder months, pay special attention to the maintenance of your HVAC system. Replace dirty filters to help improve indoor air quality and help the heater run more efficiently. When autumn arrives, turn off your outdoor faucets and consider winterizing your water system.
6. Pay Attention to Your Plumbing
Inspecting your plumbing system regularly should be a significant part of your house maintenance. Do a visual inspection and look for signs of damage. These can include things like discoloration on metal pipes; cracking or crimping of plastic, PEX or polymer parts; deposits or rust-like buildup; frayed metal or discoloration on braided supply hoses. If you spot any of these issues, consider proactively replacing the part or calling a professional for assistance. If needed, clean slow-running drains to help prevent a major backup. Make sure toilets aren’t running constantly, as this may cost you more money and waste water.
7. Check Gutters
Gutters and downspouts direct rain and melting snow away from your home to help prevent water infiltration. Check your gutters for signs of leaves or other obstructions, and remedy any clogs or improper drainage. Call a professional for help clearing gutters or repairing any damage. This may become particularly important as part of your fall home maintenance when falling leaves can collect in your gutters.
8. Restock Cleaning Supplies
It’s smart to keep a list of home maintenance supplies and check your inventory regularly. When a serious storm is forecast, it can be challenging to find the basic supplies you may need to keep your home clean and your family healthy. Consider stocking up on an appropriate amount of cleaning materials and items like paper products, sponges, cleaning wipes, and liquid or bar soap. Running out of these supplies during a crisis could bring your home maintenance routine to a standstill.
9. Walk Through Your Entire Property
Each month, check any rarely used or seen spaces, such as the attic or under a raised deck. Look for evidence of insects, rodents, rot, leaks or mold to identify developing problems early. If you have large trees on your property, be on the lookout for signs of weakness or decay. You may also want to check your garage door opener to ensure that it’s working properly.
10. Update Your Home Inventory
If you remodel your living space or make significant investments in furnishings or appliances, you’ll want to update your home inventory for insurance purposes. File receipts and take pictures of new purchases and contact your insurance representative to discuss updating your homeowners coverage.
Completing monthly and annual home maintenance tasks is one way to help you avoid costly problems that can occur due to a lack of attention. Your homeowners insurance can help provide coverage against unexpected accidents or other unforeseen events. Contact your local independent agent to ask about homeowners insurance.