Home Maintenance Yearly Checklist for Every season

Your home is one of your biggest investments, so it only makes sense that you should protect its value. Homes will deteriorate with age if not properly cared for. Good home maintenance can prevent expensive repairs. Regular inspections could also give you inspiration for improvements and remodeling.

If you want your home to last a lifetime and beyond, this is the maintenance checklist for you.

10-Point Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Fall is the perfect time for some late outdoor projects. It’s also the season when you need to winterize your home. The following steps could prevent damage to your home throughout the colder months.

  1. Prune your trees, bushes, and shrubs. Tree limbs be pruned so that they’re at least 8ft away from your home. This will reduce debris in gutters and prevent damage from falling limbs.
  2. Inspect your fireplace and perform a full cleaning. This includes sweeping out the firebox and checking that the damper is working properly. You’ll also need to sweep your chimney. You can perform a DIY sweep with a round wire chimney brush.

If you find heavy creosote in your chimney (a flaky or tar-like substance), then it’s best to call in the professionals. Chimney cleaning increases the efficiency of your fire. It also prevents uncontrolled burning in the chimney lining.

  1. Check around windows and doors for cracks and gaps. Weather strip is useful for sealing small gaps around windows and doors. You can use caulk to fill larger gaps and damage or use an expanding spray foam for extensive damage. Rely on a professional handyman team if you need help with this step.
  2. Turn off your outdoor water supply and clear out your irrigation system. Some systems feature an automatic draining function which will prevent pipes from freezing. If you want to be confident that your irrigation is fully clear of water, call in professionals to perform a blow-out flush.
  3. The weather in fall is usually clear and perfect for outdoor work. Take the opportunity to inspect your driveway, steps, and pathways. Look for cracks and extensive damage that needs filling. Gel crack sealer (sometimes marketed as Asphalt Repair) can be used for touch ups. This will bond cracks and help prevent further damage.
  4. Winterize your pipes. If you have exposed pipes without insulation, you could be at risk next winter. Foam pipe insulation is affordable and simple to install. Check around pipe entry points and seal gaps (both interior and exterior). A caulking gun or spray foam will work well here.
  5. Insulate your water meter with a meter jacket. Alternatively, simply cut a sheet of insulation lining to wrap around the meter. Use durable cord to secure the lining.
  6. If your windows have suffered damage in previous winters, consider installing storm windows this year. These will give you peace of mind during the worst weather.
  7. Inspect your siding and home exterior for any damage. Fill cracks and gaps with foam or caulk filler. Major damage requires the attention of home repair professionals. Don’t ignore damaged siding, as the problem could worsen in the winter and cause extensive moisture damage.
  8. Clear out your gutters and check for debris or blockages. Consider installing a gutter guard (a quick and easy DIY project) to make future maintenance easier.

5-Point Winter Home Maintenance Checklist

If you work through your checklist in the fall, you’ll have less to worry about over the winter. With exterior inspection and maintenance taken care of, you’ll only need to watch for new problems that could develop.

  1. Clean and cover your air conditioner condenser unit. Your outdoor air conditioner unit is designed to stand up to all kinds of weather. An additional top cover can help keep it extra safe from heavy snow.

Despite some of the advice out there, it’s not a good idea to cover your condenser with a plastic or fabric cover. This can allow more moisture to accumulate inside. A full cover could also make the condenser an inviting home for insects and rodents.

Instead of fully wrapping your condenser, simply cover the top with a cutout of plywood. The plywood sheet should extend at least three inches over every side of the unit. You can secure the plywood with bricks or a heavy paving stone.

Clear snow from around your air conditioner after heavy snow fall. These steps should protect your unit and ensure its longevity for many seasons.

  1. Check your basement at least every two weeks or following any heavy rain or thaw. Look for signs of moisture or water entry. Ensure that no significant cracks are forming around walls or the foundation floor. If you spot damage that is progressing, contact a foundation specialist in the first instance.
  2. Inspect your roof, gutters, and exteriors for damage after any storms. Sometimes gutters could need clearing mid-winter. Extensive damage to your exterior can be fixed by home repair and renovation experts. If it’s not yet safe to make repairs due to weather, a contractor will be able to install a temporary fix to keep your home safe.
  3. Clean your vents and filters regularly. With the home being mostly closed up during the winter, your central air and filtration will be working overtime. Dust could accumulate in filters and vents. Regularly clean your central air outlets, as well as the filter on your main unit. If you are using a dryer often during the winter, make sure the lint filter is checked and cleared at least once per week.
  4. Drains in your home may not clear as easily during the winter. Regularly inspect your drains in the kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry. Remove debris from drains and run fresh warm water to clear any grime buildup.

6-Point Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

With the worst of the weather gone, spring is often used as a time to reopen the home, get fresh air flowing, and begin with annual cleaning. While a full household clean is very much recommended in spring, it’s also the right time for catch up maintenance.

You’ll be able to address any issues that developed in the winter.

  1. It’s time to inspect the roof again! Even if you checked your home following storms and heavy snow in the winter, spring is a good time to give it another look. Clearer weather will make it easier to identify damaged roofing tiles, shingles, and leaks. Also look out for missing tiles or any area that is sagging or lifting.

On the inside, check your attic for any discoloration on your rafters. Damp and wet spots will indicate that a leak occurred during the winter.

If you spot even minor damage, don’t ignore the problem. Your roof could be fine all summer long, with the problem coming back even worse next winter. Rather than take the risk, call in a specialist. A professional roofing service will be able to repair the leak while taking appropriate steps to prevent a future one.

  1. Change replaceable air filters or clean lifetime filters. This includes all filters on vents, air conditioners, and clothes dryers. If you’ve kept up your maintenance during the winter, then this should be a quick and easy task.
  2. Clean your windows and doors, including screens. Grime can buildup on windows and doors from all the rain, snow, and air that gets moved around in winter. Incorporate exterior windows and doors into your spring cleaning routine. If you have a pressure washer, then this will make the job much easier, and you could fit it in with the next point on the checklist.
  3. Power wash your whole home exterior. Siding and other exterior materials will accumulate grime and may even develop mold. A pressure washer will make light work of exterior cleaning. You could invest in one for the long term or hire one for a day of spring cleaning. Mix in an exterior-safe detergent for efficient cleaning without the need for wiping or scrubbing. Include your driveway, pavers, and other outdoor surfaces when you power wash your exterior.
  4. Spring is the perfect time to check your deck for damage. Whether your deck is painted or stained; the rain, wind, and snow could deteriorate its surface. Quality deck finishes can last for years but eventually, resealing is necessary. If your paint is fading or your stain has lost its sheen, use spring as an opportunity to refresh your deck surfacing. It’s also a good idea to check railings and balusters for any damage. Basic repairs need little experience. Light damage to wooden decks can be repaired with a simple hammer and nails, or a product like Gorilla wood glue. For major damage or help with resealing, rely on a trusted local renovations team.
  5. If you’ve been using your fire all winter then spring would be the perfect time to reinspect it. Burn through a creosote log to remove light buildup while protecting your chimney from future deposits. Clean out the firebox again, and check that the damper is not blocked by any debris.

Your fireplace should be inspected and cleaned at least every 40 – 50 fires. Try to keep track of your usage so that you can adjust your own maintenance schedule.

5-Point Summer Home Maintenance Checklist

Towards the end of spring, the sun will get brighter and the warmer weather will settle in for the next few months. With most large projects and inspections taken care of, the summer will be relatively light on home maintenance. Some routine checks will keep your home in order all the way through to fall.

  1. Keep cleaning those filters. You’ll be using your air conditioner more during the summer, and there will be more allergens in the air. Keeping filters clean is a must. Clean your vents and lifetime filters. Replace any air filters that are one-time use. A clean air conditioning system in the summer will prevent allergies from pollen and dust, helping everyone in your home to breathe easy.
  2. You’ll be in and out of your garage and shed more often in the summer, so you’ll need to take care of door maintenance. Oil your garage door runners and chain, and check for any signs of sagging on the door. Open and close your garage door and ensure it is not sticking, grinding, or hesitating as it moves. A faulty garage door opener is not only inconvenient; it could become a security risk. Talk to a garage door professional for any major repairs.
  3. Check around your home maintenance exterior for any new problems. Sealing is again your best friend. Use caulk or foam to fill in gaps. If you’ve been keeping up with your exterior work in other seasons, then you should be rewarded with no major problems when summer arrives.
  4. Check for appliance leaks. Dish washers, washing machines, refrigerators, and other large appliances could develop leaks during the year. Sometimes, the change in temperature could cause hose leaks to become apparent. Tighten any gasket seals or replace hoses if necessary.
  5. Prune your trees and shrubs for the summer. Keep to the rule of having any tree limbs at least 8ft away from your house and roof. If trees have become dangerous over the winter, you may need to call a tree removal service. Leaning trees, rot, or cracked trees should all be inspected by a professional arborist.

Full Home Maintenance Made Easy with an Inspection Checklist

It’s a lot easier to plan your home maintenance when you break it down by season. Regular inspection and small household repairs can prevent expensive repair work in the future.

When the time does come that you need repairs, modifications, or even a full home remodel, you can rely on the team at HomeWorx Iowa.

How to Winter Proof Your Home to Protect Your Investment

We may have just got over a bitterly harsh winter, but it won’t be long before the next one rolls around. Winter proofing your home is something that you should perform during the summer to fall transition.

From checking for leaks and water damage, to clearing your gutters, some simple steps can protect your home. Follow our guidelines for winter proofing your home and enjoy a safer and dryer home later this year.

Protect Your Gutters

Leaves and other tree debris are the number one enemy of your gutters. Clogged gutters can cause water buildup and damage to your drainpipes. Roofing and siding damage is also possible if your gutters aren’t clean and clear.

Before winter begins, prune trees and any branches around your home that are at or above roof level. Tree limbs should be at least 8 feet away from your home. If you don’t have the tools or the time, hire a contractor. This will stop most leaves and debris from falling in your gutters and entering your drainpipes.

Regular roof sweeps throughout the fall will give you a chance to clear and inspect gutters. A tall ladder will be all you need for most two-story homes. If you aren’t comfortable with this, again, a contractor is recommended.

Gutter guards are an option to prevent debris from collecting. Guards are affordable and easily installed. You can pick up a complete home kit from your local hardware or home goods store. Professional installation is also an option if you want to do this quickly and conveniently.

Taking the time to inspect, clear, and maintain gutters is essential for winter proofing. Don’t ignore this step if you want to protect your home this winter.

Add Insulation to Walls and Floors

Chances are your home has insulation, but is it getting the job done? Older insulation materials deteriorate over time and lose efficiency. If your home is not fully insulated, or if the insulation is worn, then improvements should be made.

Full home insulation is a relatively costly project, but you need to consider the long-term benefits. Install the right insulation today and it will last for the lifetime of your home. Energy efficiency will increase, and your heating and cooling costs will decrease. You’ll feel much more comfortable in your home, and the air will be healthier and free of excess moisture.

If your walls and floors are taken care of, then it’s time to consider the insulation in your attic…

Insulate Your Attic

Well-insulated homes attics remain comfortable and dry during the winter months. If your attic is not insulated, then you should consider the project this summer.

You can inspect your current insulation for damage and deterioration. Older bat style insulation can break down over time. Foam insulation is a suitable alternative and a long-lasting investment. You can have foam panels installed, or, use a spray foam company for the most efficient insulation.

Spray foam expands and works its way into all cracks and crevices. This insulation will keep your home warm and dry in winter and reduce cooling costs in summer.

Insulation could also add value to your property in case you plan to sell in the future. This is one investment that you don’t want to skip when winter proofing your home.

Fill in the Gaps

Small cracks and damage to exterior foundations and walls could lead to big problems. Rain, snow, and slush could enter cracks and cause structural damage. Don’t let your home become a victim to moisture damage this winter. You can inspect the exterior of your home to identify cracks and other deterioration.

When you seal the cracks on your home’s exterior, you will keep moisture and air out. In addition to protecting your home from damage, you’ll increase its energy efficiency.

Small cracks can be filled with exterior caulking, which you’ll find at your local hardware store. For larger cracks and damage, use an expanding spray foam. This will ensure that cavities are fully sealed and insulated.

Filling in cracks and gaps can also prevent insect infestation. Don’t take any chances with damage you see on your home exterior.

Most foam and caulking products can be painted to match your home’s exterior. Check all manufacturer instructions if you are making larger repairs that will need finishing and painting.

Consider Replacing Your Doors and Windows

If your home isn’t energy efficient you will lose money over the winter. Windows and exterior doors that are poorly installed or insulated are a liability.

Consider new door and window installation if you want your home to be truly protected. You could even make this an excellent renovation project, adding value and curbside appeal.

When it comes to windows, invest in low-e glass. This is a special glass that is coated to increase energy efficiency. Low-e glass keeps warm air in your home and the chilly air outside. During the summer, it does the opposite to reduce your air conditioning costs.

Low-e glass also filters UV light, which can protect your interior furniture and surfaces. This one-time investment will benefit you next winter and throughout the lifetime of your home.

Storm doors will prevent air and moisture entry, and they can offer much needed peace of mind. These doors also provide an additional barrier, preventing damage to existing doors. Storm door installation is relatively affordable and a quick DIY project if you have the tools and time. Even if you choose professional installation, your investment will be worth it in the long term.

Storm doors can be custom fabricated to suit the look of your home, retaining both value and appeal.

If you don’t have the time or experience to replace windows and doors, rely on a local home renovation service. Professional labor and installation methods will ensure an investment that continues to pay off for many years.

Heat Cable Can Protect Against Ice Buildup

Cold snaps in the winter could lead to ice buildup around roof awnings and gutters. You can prevent this with a heat cable.

A heat cable (also known as heat tape) uses electricity from your home to warm a small area. You can run the cable around roof edges and gutters. You’ll need an outlet to connect the cable, but you will likely only need to run the system for a few days of the year.

Heat cable can also be used indoors on water pipes to prevent freezing. The cable can be affixed to pipes with 3M glass cloth tape, making for a simple DIY project. You’ll find kits through e-retailers and at hardware and home stores, which include all mounting accessories and hardware.

Heat cable is an effective and safe way to prevent ice outside your home or in pipes. Pick up some cable to winter proof your home after this summer.

Inspect and Clean Your Fireplace and Chimney

You’ll need a complete visual inspection if you use a fireplace to heat your home. The fireplace should be cleaned before the end of summer, along with the chimney.

Ensure that your damper is working correctly, and that air is flowing up and out of the chimney. This will prevent dangerous combustion gases from entering your home. You can check chimney airflow by burning hardwood kindling. Ensure that smoke is being pulled into the chimney, and that it is visible from outside.

You’ll also need to clean your chimney, so invest in a wire brush and extension pole to remove creosote. You could also use a creosote log to deposit cleaning chemicals in your chimney lining.

Any heavy creosote buildup will need to be professionally removed. If you don’t have the tools, time, or experience to clean your chimney safely, then call the experts.

Don’t forget about your chimney structure. Visually check outside for warping and leaning, or cracks and damage in the masonry. You’ll need a professional home repair or renovation crew to fix extensive chimney and masonry damage.

Check Your Home for Water Damage

Water damage can indicate problem points in your home. If you haven’t adequately winter proofed in previous years, you may already have signs of damage.

  • Check walls in your basement and throughout the home for water stains.
  • Sagging or discolored ceilings can indicate water damage.
  • Check around pipes, including inside cabinets, for any leaks or signs of previous damage.
  • Your basement is likely to be the dampest area of your home. Thoroughly inspect all walls and ceilings for mold or discoloration.

Any time that you spot water damage, inspect inside and outside for a point of water entry. Fill in cracks and holes if you discover them

Extensive water damage should not be addressed without a professional. Basement damage could weaken your foundations. Discoloration and mold could indicate damage from the previous winter.

If you are unable to identify the source of damage, then rely on a professional inspection. Any problem points could open an opportunity for remodeling or renovation this summer.

Clean Up Outside

Remove items from your outdoor living spaces during the winter. Outdoor furniture, barbeques, braziers, and other items should be stored in a garage or shed. Bring potted plants inside or keep them in shed storage where they will be protected from wind, frost, rain, and snow.

If you burn firewood for heating, keep it in a sheltered space and cover it with a waterproof tarp and tie-down rope. This will ensure that firewood stays dry enough for efficient burning.

Simple Steps for a Safer, Warmer Home This Winter

Winter proofing keeps your home safe and dry, while protecting it from costly damage. Don’t take any chances with your most valuable investment. Winter proof your home this year and look forward to a comfortable winter with complete peace of mind.