Whether you think you’re currently living in a transition house or your forever home, there are things you should do to take care of your property on a regular basis, to ensure that you’re being a good homeowner.
After all, if you did ever decide you wanted to sell, it’s easier to do when your house has been well cared for, rather than being allowed to get a little run down and tired. But beyond the salability of your house, your family’s safety and comfort are even more important.
Monthly and seasonal upkeep and maintenance routines
There are a few things that you should do on a regular basis, as part of your home care routine. Some are essential to the safety of your home and family and others are just a good idea to ensure that you get maximum enjoyment out of your home.
- Check filters and vents throughout your home. This includes:
- Cleaning / replacing your furnace filter / checking the AC filter for debris;
- Making sure the dryer exhaust is clear and reminding everyone who does laundry to clean the in-machine filter every time they use it;
- Checking your kitchen and bathroom exhaust vent / filters to make sure they are clean and in good working order;
- Vacuum dust from air vents throughout your house to avoid breathing in dust when air is circulated;
- Check other external air vents, beyond the dryer, to make sure they are clear of debris, snow or other blockages.
- Clean the garbage disposal by running it with something as simple as ice, and then flushing it with hot water and baking soda, to give it a thorough going over.
- Check drains and faucets.
- Showerheads and faucets can get clogged up with mineral deposits, depending on how hard your water is, so keeping them clean will keep them running smoothly;
- Check drains in showers, sinks and tubs for blockages: a hunk of hair can do a lot of damage if it’s not dealt with! If you’ve got a jet tub in the bathroom, make sure all the jets are clean and working properly.
- Keep up the pool. When in use—and depending where you live, that can be year round or just a few months in the summer—make sure that all the systems for your pool and/or spa are working correctly, including filters, heaters and so on. Regular maintenance of these will save you a lot in the long run.
On a seasonal basis, you should also:
- Check your alarms. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be checked and batteries replaced; and double check the location of your fire extinguishers. You should also check all electrical cords at this time to ensure they aren’t fraying, which can be a major fire hazard.
- Do a closet change over. Move fall and winter clothes out into storage closets or boxes and bring spring / summer clothes into your everyday use closets and vice versa. There’s no need for mittens to be handy in July!
- Deal with your lawn care seasonally as well:
- In fall, you need to prepare your garden to settle down for the winter; you should also make sure that your gardening equipment is cleaned and stored, hoses are drained and water is shut off to the exterior.
- In spring, you need to help it back to life by raking up leaves and debris, aerating your lawn and getting the planting beds ready for another season.
- Check the pool. If you have a swimming pool, spa or both, make sure that you are doing what’s necessary to open and close them diligently. Repairs are a lot more costly than just making sure everything is in good repair along the way.
- Service all appliances. Have your furnace and AC checked and serviced seasonally, as well as fireplaces; make sure to have your wood fire chimney swept before you put it to good use and avoid a chimney fire. If you use window units for AC, make sure they’re clean, to avoid spraying dust and debris when you turn them on.
- Check gutters and downspouts. Keeping water flowing away from the foundation of your house, whether in a spring storm or days of autumn showers is essential for a safe, dry basement. Make sure your gutters are clean and free of debris and check downspout positioning.
Annual upkeep and maintenance routines
- Keep out drafts. Checking and fixing/replacing caulking and weather stripping around windows and doors can go a long way to keeping out drafts and avoiding losing all your heat or air conditioned air—with costs that go with it—to the outdoors!
- Keep water out. If you live in an area that sees flooding, make sure your sump pump is in good working order and if you don’t already have one, get a battery back up for it! Just fill it with water to test that the sump runs and then go outside to make sure it’s draining. A power outage is all it takes to go from a bad storm to a flooded basement! Check foundation seams as well, to make sure you aren’t on your way to a leak.
- Look over appliances. While the furnace and AC probably get regular maintenance, how often do you inspect / clean the refrigerator coils or check the drainage hose from your dishwasher or clothes washer? A regular inspection and cleaning of all your appliances can keep them in good working order for longer.
- Check the roof. What you’re looking for is tiles that are peeling or lifting up, which can let water, snow and ice leak into your home, causing a lot of damage to the interior. This is also a good time to check the siding or brick work on your home, to make sure that it is all in good repair.
- Mend the drive. If you have a driveway, fix cracks or have it resealed to ensure that it remains in good repair over the long term.
- Check the deck. Wooden decks, stairs and railings can rot over time so a regular inspection to make sure that they aren’t loose or coming loose is a good idea, for everyone’s safety.
- Deal with interior organizational projects. If you’ve always been meaning to clean out and reorganize the garage, your basement or all the closets in the house, it’s a good idea to take a look at these projects on at least an annual basis. Otherwise, it can get a little overwhelming to dig into and you might never do it! Having a home for all of your stuff is essential to keeping it tidy and clean, making it a comfortable living space for everyone.
Every few years upkeep and maintenance routines
- Water heater. It’s worth making sure your water heater is in good order, particularly if you own it versus renting. The last thing you need is a rusted out heater base to give way! You should also check the pressure valve to make sure it’s operating as it is supposed to.
- Attic insulation. Take a peek up in the attic to make sure that your insulation is in good shape, hasn’t been disturbed or otherwise lost its loft. You may need to add some every 5 years or so, depending on the quality and type of insulation.
Over the longer term
Life expectancies for various appliances and fixtures of your home vary, depending on the whether patterns you experience but as a rule, you should be thinking about budgeting to replace the following items over time:
- Roofs – every 25-30 years for asphalt shingles
- Windows – every 10-12 years for vinyl encased windows
- External doors – every 15-17 years
- Siding – 30-40 years
- Eaves / Soffit – 30-40 years
- Garage doors – 10-15 years
- Water heater – 8-10 years
- Sump pump – 4-6 years
- Furnace – 18-20 years
- AC – 15-20 years
It might seem like an overwhelming list, but a lot of it is just a matter of habit. A little upkeep and maintenance will help your home look good and take care of you longer, avoiding costly repair bills and allowing you to budget for big replacements when they might be needed.
Source: Marty Basher is the improvement and organization expert with Modular Closets, https://www.modularclosets.com. Marty regularly contributes on topics of DIY renovations, home design, organization, improvement and more, helping homeowners get the most out of the spaces in their home. Modular Closets are high-quality and easy-to-design closet systems made in the USA you can order, assemble and install yourself, in no time at all. Using closet modules (closet pieces you can mix & match to design your own modular closet), homeowners everywhere are empowered to achieve a true custom closet look- for nearly 40% less than standard custom closets.