Home Maintenance

My husband and I don’t live in the newest house (it was built in the 1970’s), but we do our best to maintain it so that we don’t have any major issues to face down the road. This got me to thinking about, what good does it do you to have your house totally organized if your house itself is falling apart? So I wanted to share some monthly and seasonal home maintenance things you can do to help keep your home in order and your family safe.

Monthly Maintenance:
Check water-purification and water-softener filters.
Test the water-heater pressure and temperature-relief valve for proper operation.
Inspect tub and sink drains for debris; unclog.
Clean faucet aerators and shower heads to remove mineral deposits.
De-grease and freshen your disposal using vinegar ice cubes. Pour 1 cup of vinegar into an empty ice-cube tray, fill the balance of the tray with water, and freeze until solid.
Check the water softener and replenish salt if necessary.
Clean and replace furnace and air-conditioner filters.
Check the steam system safety valve and steam gauge.
Check the water level of your steam system.
Clean the filter on the interior of wall-mounted heat pumps.
Check air intakes for insect blockages and debris.
Clean range hood filters.
Remove and clean range burners.
Wash and rinse the clothes-dryer lint screen.
Inspect, clean, and lubricate at least one major appliance per the manufacturer’s instructions.
Deep-clean laminate surfaces.
Clean and brighten tile and grout.
Deep-clean all types of flooring.
Test smoke-detector sensors and alarms.
Test carbon-monoxide detectors.
Test the auto-reverse safety feature on garage-door openers.
Check that your fire extinguisher is fully charged; recharge or replace if needed.

Along with things that should be done monthly, there are specific things you should do each season to prepare for the season to come.

Spring is not just for Cleaning here are some things to do for spring maintenance. Focus on the outside of your home as it’s just gone through winter and is preparing for summer heat.

Spring Maintenance:
Re Nail any loose siding or trim boards.
Check house and garage for any rotting wood, and repair as needed.
Check porch flooring, and repair as needed.
Check and replace any bad caulking around windows, doors, siding joints, or anywhere else needed.
Clean windows and their frames when installing screens. Wash and repair screens at this time.
Check caulk or seal between house and drive, and repair as needed.
Oil garage door tracks.
Trim trees, bushes, and shrubs. (Wait until spring-flowering shrubs have finished blooming.)
Clean flower beds out around the house.
Drain off sediment from hot water tank and steam heating system.
Add copper sulfate to basement floor drain and downspout drains to control tree roots in main sewer.
Inspect roofing for missing, loose, or damaged shingles and leaks.
Change the air-conditioner filter.
Get your air conditioning system ready for summer; consider having it serviced.
Polish wood furniture, and dust light fixtures.
Refinish the deck.
Power-wash windows and siding.
Remove leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts. Make sure they are flowing properly.
Replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Have a professional inspect and pump the septic tank.
Inspect sink, shower, and bath caulking for deterioration.
Vacuum lint from dryer vent.
Inspect roof surface, flashing, eaves, and soffits; repair if needed.
Check the exterior drainage. Will rain water flow away from the house? Puddles should not stand around your home for more than 24 hours. If water stays, or moves toward your foundation, you have a couple options. You can grade the area around your home yourself with some dirt; this has worked just fine for me in the past. For pavement, you can have professionals come out and raise it so it drains away from your home.
Now for summer, here in South Texas it can get too hot to work on projects for long periods of time outdoors, but the prolonged daylight hours make it so those projects that might need more time you can focus on them now.

Summer Maintenance:
Scrape, prime, and paint any areas on house or garage that are in need, especially any bare wood.
If the house or garage doesn’t need paint, wash exterior off at least once.
Check all flat roofs, and re-coat or seal as needed, especially flashing.
Check for mortar that needs repair (including chimney mortar and inside fireplace,) and tuck point or repair as needed.
Check concrete drive, sidewalks, patios, and landings for condition and level; patch cracks, level, and/or replace, as needed.
Clean carpets and wax tile and hardwood floors.
Add copper sulfate to basement floor drain and downspout drains to control tree roots in main sewer
Check grout in bathrooms, kitchen, etc.; repair as needed.
Inspect plumbing for leaks, clean aerators on faucets.
Take care of any insect problems you may have. Ants, spiders, moths, etc. are all common, and fairly easy to take care of.
Clean and repair deck/patio as needed. It generally just needs a good washing. A deck may also need re-staining. Also check for any loose boards or posts and repair as needed.
Clean out window wells of debris. If you have a basement, you also have window wells. All kinds of things can get down in there from leaves, to trash, to animals.
Check and clean dryer vent, other exhaust vents to exterior of home. Also vacuum the lint from the hose at the dryer.
Deep-clean garage.

In many places, fall is the perfect season to tackle home maintenance projects because the weather is generally dry and temperatures are moderate. Cold, snow, and rain can do a number to a home, so you don’t want to ignore this winter preparation.

Fall Maintenance:
Mend cracks and gaps in the driveway and walkway. Make sure to have re-sealed before winter; water can freeze and expand in the cracks, causing more damage.
Patch and seal driveway (asphalt or concrete), and concrete steps/ landings.
Check tuck pointing on all brick areas, then seal masonry with a silicone sealant.
Check weatherstripping on all doors and windows, and repair as needed.
Check all areas that need to be caulked, and repair as needed.
Make sure all garage floor or driveway drains are flowing properly.
Clear gutters of leaves, check for leaks, and repair as needed.
Inspect roof for loose or missing shingles, and check flashing seals; repair as needed.
Clean and reseal decks, fences, or other structures made of pressure-treated wood.
Oil garage door tracks.
Have furnace checked or tuned up, and change filter; have boiler checked every few years (every year if boiler is more than 20 years old.)
Have chimney cleaned (yearly, if wood burning; every 5 years if just for gas appliances.)
Check damper in fireplace for obstructions, such as birds’ nests.
Add copper sulfate to basement floor drain and downspout drains to control tree roots in main sewer.
Rake leaves and aerate the lawn.
Have forced-air heating system inspected by a professional.
Power-wash windows and siding.
Touch up exterior siding and trim with paint.
Inspect roofing for missing, loose, or damaged shingles and leaks.
Drain and winterize exterior plumbing.
Replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Install a smoke detector on every floor of your home, including the basement.
Clean the carpets.
Clean window and door screens.
Vacuum lint from dryer vent.
Inspect exterior door hardware; fix squeaky handles and loose locks.
Clean thermostats heat sensor, contact points, and contacts; check accuracy and replace thermostat if it is not functioning properly.
Open spigots and drain, store hoses.
Flush hot water heater and remove sediment.
Winterize air conditioning systems. Remove and store window units.
Buy winter gear. Have sidewalk salt, good shovels, etc. ready for winter. You never know when that first snow will come!

Winter Maintenance:
At beginning of winter, shut off interior valves supplying outdoor water pipes to prevent them from freezing.
Regularly check for ice dams and icicles. De-icing cables that sit at the front of the roof work well. Test your electricity to the extent that you can. Check that all outlets work.
Tighten any handles, knobs, racks, etc.
Check all locks and deadbolts on your doors and windows. If anything doesn’t work right, replace.
Check caulking around showers and bathtubs; repair as needed.
Deep clean and inspect the basement.
Change furnace filters monthly during the winter.
Repair any interior wall damage; touch up or repaint as needed.
Check and re-grout tile in all bath and kitchen areas, as needed, and apply a silicone sealer.
Add copper sulfate to basement floor drain and downspout drains to control tree roots in main sewer.
At winter’s end, re-open interior valves supplying outdoor water pipes.

Alright, so that’s a lot to keep track of and remember. Try adding each of these things a few each day to your calendar to tackle. Being a homeowner can be a lot of work, but think about what a great feeling it’ll be when you know you took these extra steps to keep your house safe for you and your family to enjoy for years to come.