Most of the things you have to do to help keep your home operating smoothly happen in the fall and spring, when we’re preparing for the winter or giving it an annual spring cleaning and check-up.
When the weather starts getting colder, look to your heating equipment and weather poofing. I’ve spread these tasks out in groups across two weekends in October and one in November, but, again, you can adjust for your schedule.
Take down window screens to store (label them for quickly putting up in the spring, and repair or replace now, if needed). Wash your windows.
Seal windows and doors with weatherstripping and also check caulking (you can save as much as 15% on your heating bill, according to This Old House). Replace seals as necessary.
Check roof for leaks, damaged or missing shingles, and pests hiding in vents.
While the roofer is up there, check chimney for leaks, bricks and mortar falling apart, and, again, pests.
Yard cleanup! Trim trees and shrubs closer than 3 inches from your house.
Check your outdoor faucet for leaks, then drain and turn them off. Store hoses. If you leave your hose connected, you could end up with a burst pipe in the wall.
Clean gutters and downspouts, or add gutter covers to help keep debris out.
Clean, oil, and store garden tools. (You could also store them in a bucket of sand to prevent rust.)
Clean and store patio furniture (or cover with weather-proof material).
Check smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace batteries, if needed. Also check fire extinguishers. This is a good time to do fire drills and review your emergency documents.
Remove window air conditioners or protect with weatherproof cover (if applicable).
Flush out water heater to get rid of the sediment.
Service heating system or have plumber bleed radiators (if you have hot-water heat).
Vacuum and clean refrigerator coils.
Inspect kitchen and bath fixtures and cabinets for leaks, and prevent water damage by recaulking or regrouting countertops and tiles in the kitchen or bathroom as necessary. Seal natural stone surfaces (countertops or floors).
Spring maintenance involves many of the same tasks needed for fall. Now, though, we’re preparing for warmer weather and checking in with our home systems once more to make sure everything’s still running smoothly. I recommend scheduling these for April and May.
Wash windows and replace screens.
Check gutters and downspouts and clean if necessary.
Have a mason check outside walls for damage or deterioration (e.g., brick work or siding repairs, peeling paint)
Check your deck for water damage or stains. Pressure wash and reseal, every 2 years.
Check smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace batteries, if needed.
Service air conditioner system or replace window air conditioners.
Check basement for cracks or leaks, dampness and mold.
Inspect kitchen and bath fixtures and prevent water damage by recaulking or regrouting countertops and tiles in the kitchen or bathroom as necessary. Seal natural stone surfaces (countertops or floors).
Clean duct work and dryer vents to remove dust and lint.