Maintaining a home is an important responsibility for all homeowners, and that’s why every homeowner should have a maintenance schedule. Schedules must adapt according to the time of year and where the home is located.

To help you make sure your home is always in tip-top shape, here’s what your schedule should look like.

Indoor Maintenance

  1. Wash your windows. Washing your windows is important because it keeps the house looking great and allows you to clearly see outside. Cleaning your windows should be done at least once or twice per year, preferably during the warmer months.  Also, pay close attention to the caulk on the outside.  If it looks as it’s wearing away, it may be time to replace it and hire a professional or do it on your own for  less than $20.
  2. Change the air filters. Air filters should be changed at least every three months in order to keep the air inside the house fresh.  Consider setting a reminder on your phone and purchasing all your filters in the beginning of the year.
  3. Check the smoke detectors. Smoke detector safety checks are also important, and it can help keep you safe in the event of a fire or emergency. Smoke detectors should be checked at least twice a year in order to ensure they work. When you check them, always change the batteries.
  4. Clean the grout. Cleaning and checking the tile grout in the kitchen, bathrooms, and any other tiled portion of the house is another important task.  If you noticed any missing grout, fill it in or reseal as needed. It will help improve and maintain the floor inside the house. The tile grout should be cleaned and inspected at least once per year.
  5. Clean the appliances. Vacuuming the fridge coils, exterior dryer vents, as well as cleaning the microwave and oven can help prolong the life of your appliances. These tasks should be done at least twice a year to prevent you from purchasing a costly new appliance.  Just like a car, you want to make sure you maintain them as much as possible.
  6. Check for leaks. It is important to check for small leaks that are hard to see both below and above the sink. This should be done once or twice a year.  To check for leaks, fill a small spray bottle with dish soap and water, and spray it directly on any piping.  If any of it bubbles up, it could be a sign of a leak.
  7. Check your heaters. Before the cold months come, it’s important to call an HVAC professional to have your heater inspected. An inspection should cost less than $80 and can potentially save you hundreds in repairs.  Do this during September or October when these contractors aren’t busy.
  8. Flush your water heater. Each year, make it a habit of flush your water heater. It’s a lot easier than you think and this guide can help you do so.

Outdoor Maintenance

  1. Trim the plants and larger trees. Small bushes, trees, and other foliage that need trimming should be trimmed at least once per month to prevent overgrowth and pests from making it their home. Larger trees should be trimmed once or twice a year.  This is also the time to remove any dead plants or trees.
  2. Clean the gutters. Cleaning out the rain gutters is another task a homeowner should maintain or else it may get out of control. Rain gutters can gather garbage, debris and should be cleaned at least once per season, especially during the rainy months to ensure the water can flow properly.   Failing to do so can cause clogs, which allow the water to flow where it shouldn’t be.
  3. Inspect the roof and outer walls. This means inspecting the roof and outer walls for any damage or potential leaks. This should be done twice a year, and it will help prevent the cost of damages. While you don’t need to go on the roof, look for any curling shingles or debris in your gutter downspouts.
  4. Clean the clutter. Cleaning out the shed or garage should be done at least once per year to make sure the clutter doesn’t add up.  This is a great time to either sell the things you don’t need or even donate it to a local charity.
  5. Check the air conditioner. Don’t wait until the summer months to call the HVAC professionals. Make it habit to have your air conditioner inspected ever year.  An inspection should cost less than $80 and could save you hundreds in repairs.
  6. Clean the chimney. Every year, you should have a professional clean your chimney to ensure no creosote is being built up. Failing to clean your chimney can lead to unnecessary fires.  Similar to the heater contractor, consider having your chimney cleaned during the slower months.  A professional chimney sweep will cost about $90 to $250.
  7. Check your window screens. Closely examine your window screens before putting them back on your windows. If you notice any holes or loose ends, consider getting them replaced at a local hardware store. Many hardware stores will fix screens for less than $10.

While you can add more to this list, these are some of the most important things you should do.  Make it a habit of performing these tasks annually to make sure your house is in tip-top shape for as long as possible.