Creating a Home Maintenance To-Do List

Homeownership comes with plenty of responsibilities, but you don’t have to be intimidated keeping up with the demands of maintaining your house. Create a home maintenance to-do list to keep track. Include these annual and seasonal tasks to ensure your home remains a healthy and safe environment.

Regular Home Maintenance

“You can protect your home by understanding its condition at any given time and conducting whole-house walkthroughs now and again,” says John Gerard, a home maintenance blogger at Add these to a list of items to check:

  1. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: A general recommendation is to check all detectors once a month and change their batteries when you adjust your clocks for daylight savings, Gerard says.
  2. Fire extinguishers: Check fire extinguishers monthly. Make sure they are fully charged and were inspected and certified by a professional within the last year.
  3. Furnace and central air conditioner: “In prime heating and cooling seasons, you should change the filters every two months,” says Dean Bennett, owner of residential design and construction firm Dean Bennett Design and Construction, Inc.
  4. Basement: A few times a year, look for any water on the floor or gaps in the foundation.

The cost of regular maintenance varies. For example, a can of spray foam insulation for filling gaps in your foundation can cost less than $10, but regular maintenance may reveal the need for bigger home projects like replacing a furnace, which can be expensive, Bennett says.

Set aside a small amount of money each month in anticipation of maintenance tasks. Gerard recommends maintaining around $1,000 in your home-maintenance emergency fund.

Seasonal Home Maintenance

When it comes to preparing your home for the winter and summer months, start early.

In the fall:

  1. Check the condition of doors and windows: You don’t want air leaking into the house in the winter, which can be a particular problem for older homes without double-pane windows.
  2. Clean the gutters: This can prevent icicles from forming and ensure that water drains through downspouts rather than onto sidewalks, where ice can form.
  3. Make sure there is space under interior doors: “That’s how air flows and makes your furnace work more efficiently,” Bennett says.
  4. Check the HVAC system: Make sure your furnace works before cold weather arrives.

In the spring:

  1. Clean the gutters (again): “In warmer weather, cleaning your gutters promotes rain drainage, and eliminates clogs and problems caused by leaves, pine needles, and other debris,” Bennett says.
  2. Install cellular blinds in a few key windows: Thermal blinds provide insulation that will help cool your home in the summer and hold in heat in the winter. Some key areas for installing cellular blinds might be bedrooms or the living room.
  3. Rent a power washer: Wash the driveway and sidewalks for a fresh start. This can be especially helpful in the South, East, and Midwest, where mildew and discolorations are common.
  4. Put a new coat of stain on your deck: Weatherproofing your deck can protect it and make it look better.

Ready to dig deeper into home improvement? Read these six tips to get the most out of your next remodeling or home improvement project.