When it comes to taking care of your home, prevention is the key. Though your idea of a fun Saturday may not be ensuring that your home is protected and everything is in proper working order, taking the time to inspect things periodically is the best way to take care of a home.
Preventative maintenance on your home is also good for your wallet and can help increase the amount of equity in your home.
“Preventative maintenance is a lot cheaper than the repairs. It also keeps the value up from your property and your neighbor’s property,” Home maintenance expert Jim Beltran says.
To help you keep up with the regular maintenance of your home, here’s a comprehensive checklist that will help you know what to check and when you need to check it.
A Maintenance Checklist for Inside Your Home
The maintenance of the interior of your home depends on a lot of things: whether or not you have pets, how many people live in your home, and of course your local climate, but this checklist will give you a fairly good idea of when and what to maintain inside.
- Vacuum any high-traffic carpeted areas to maintain the durability of the carpet.
- Use an all-purpose cleaner to wipe down the surfaces of your bathroom counter, toilet, and tub/shower.
- Sweep and mop any hardwood or tile floors to get rid of grime and stains.
- Clean out the dryer lint trap thoroughly (and be sure to remove lint from the dryer each time before use).
- Soak faucets in a plastic bag filled with vinegar to remove mineral deposits that may have formed on them.
- Clean the inside and outside of your windows to remove smudges and dirt.
- Clean the oven using the self-cleaning function. (If you don’t have this option, you can buy a non-toxic oven cleaner at a home improvement store)
- Freshen up your garbage disposal by emptying two trays of ice cubes into the sink with the disposal on. If there is an odor coming from the disposal, cut a lemon in half and run it through the disposal.
- Clean and/or replace air and furnace filters.
- Clean your oven range hood.
- Deep clean carpets by hiring a professional or renting a carpet cleaner to get rid of dirt underneath the surface.
- Check your washing machine hose for signs of cracking.
- Defrost the freezer to maintain its efficiency.
- Re-seal all the grout in your bathroom and kitchen tile to prevent water from coming through.
- Replace the batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Before the summer and winter seasons, check the seals on windows and doors to prevent air leaks.
- Hire a chimney sweep to look at your chimney and fireplace in the fall.
A Maintenance Checklist for Outside Your Home
Outdoor maintenance can be time consuming, but it’s the first thing people see of your home so you want to be sure that you’re covering all your bases.
“Once a year just walk around your house and inspect it,” Beltran says. “And look from the ground all the way up to the roof.”
Though your outdoor maintenance routine really depends on the conditions of your local climate, you’ll generally need to be prepared to do the following maintenance on the exterior of your home.
- During the summer months, mow and edge the yard.
- Trim bushes and rake any stray leaves away from gutters and windows.
- Pull weeds in any flowerbeds or stonework you may have.
- Check to ensure that no vines are attaching themselves to the exterior of your home.
- Look around the surfaces of the exterior (and interior) of your home for signs of termites.
- Inspect hoses and hose bibs for any signs of leakage.
- Trim dead branches from trees or branches that are growing close to windows, the roof, or gutters.
- Take a look at your exterior paint and check for any cracking or damage.
- At the beginning of the fall and spring seasons, clean out the gutters.
- Check your roof for any damage to shingles.
- Clean your furnace and check to see if it needs replacement before the start of winter.
- Check for any water stains on the brick or stucco.
Always Be Prepared
Unfortunately, emergencies in the home can strike at any moment (no matter what season or how old or new the house), so you should always be prepared.
“Every homeowner whether they’ve been there 100 years or they just moved in should be very familiar with where their gas shut off and water shut off is and also where their fuse box is,” Beltran advises.
There are tools available to help you with shutting off these main components of the house, but you have to be able to locate these quickly.
“When you have a gas leak problem or plumbing problem and it’s an emergency and you need to try to shut it off, many don’t know where they are,” Beltran says.
He recommends that all homeowners wire tie these tools and any instructions nearby to the gas shut off, water shut off, and the fuse box so that there’s no confusion in a moment of panic.
Additionally, if you know you’re going to be gone for longer than two weeks, Beltran recommends that you shut off the water to prevent leaks unless you know someone will be checking on the house regularly.
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