Seasonal Home Maintenance Checklist

Seasonal Home Maintenance Checklist

Routine upkeep is still a daunting task for most homeowners. To help you get started, we put together a short seasonal home maintenance checklist.

Home is more than a place to live. It is an investment — an asset for which people exchange money in hopes of owning something valuable. As such, we homeowners want to feel confident in and proud of our investments. That’s why we strive for curb appeal, invest in beautiful design elements, and stretch our budgets to afford luxury features.

Yet given the option, few homeowners would volunteer to spend a weekend doing routine maintenance for home improvement. While we talk a lot about home maintenance here at HouseSmarts, we recognize that it is still a daunting task for most homeowners — particularly those who are not building professionals.

There is no excuse for neglecting your home maintenance tasks, though  — especially if it is your biggest investment, as it is for most Americans. Failing to maintain your home will only allow it to deteriorate and diminish in value.

Our host, Lou, recommends checking in on the most important areas of your home once every few months to ensure everything is working correctly. To help you get started, we put together a short list of items that belong on your home maintenance checklist.

HouseSmarts’ Seasonal Home Maintenance Checklist

Protect your gutters from dangerous inefficiencies.

Gutter inefficiency can be one of the most major — but avoidable — causes of water damage to your home’s exterior. When gutters get clogged with leaf debris or jammed with ice, water can overflow the gutter system, spill onto the exterior of your home and cause it to deteriorate or rot. With that in mind, maintaining a free flow of rainwater through your gutters through the downspouts should rank high on your seasonal checklist. Plus, cleaning your gutters also helps to avoid nesting areas for termites, birds, mosquitoes, and other insects.

Usually, you need a ladder to work on your gutters. However, there are a number of tools that our host Lou recommends to help alleviate the process. Gutter guards are engineered by a variety of manufacturers with a consistently simple design. Plus, they are readily available at your local home improvement store.

Create an emergency escape plan to stay prepared for fire.

There is perhaps nothing more devastating than a fire in the home. Not only are house fires devastating both physically and emotionally, but they can destroy a family’s financial future and, sometimes, claim lives. Not every fire has to be deadly, though: Derrick Sawyer, Deputy Chief, Philadelphia Fire Department, believes no one should ever die from a fire. “The way you deal with it,” he explains, “is you make sure you educate the community.”

According to Chief Sawyer, there are many things that homeowners can do to both prevent and prepare for a fire. First, to stop a fire from lighting in the first place, do not leave heat-generating gadgets — such as stoves, candles, and space heaters — on while unattended. Secondly, make sure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that can alert you if a fire does start. Thirdly, always be sure to have an operating fire extinguisher in the house too. Finally, make sure you have an escape plan in case your smoke detectors alert you that a fire has broken out. Preventing a fire is great, but if an emergency arises, you need to have a means of getting out safely.

Clean out your chimney.

Speaking of fire…When it comes to supplemental heating in the home, nothing beats a fireplace. While it may not be the most efficient way to heat a living space, having a fireplace can instill a sense of timelessness into your home and help create a warm, welcoming ambiance. That’s why fireplaces are a mainstay in most homes throughout the U.S.; there are 35 chimneys in the White House in Washington D.C. alone.

Not every fireplace is ready for operation, though. According to Ashley Eldridge, Education Director, Chimney Institute of America, most fireplaces in both old homes and new construction require a chimney cleaning. . They may look great, but many of the things that affect the performance of a chimney cannot be seen. For example, there may not be enough space to allow sufficient airflow.

Eldridge recommends a number of safety precautions that homeowners should take before operating a fireplace. First, look for any loose bricks, or leaves and debris falling from the chimney, and promptly remove them. Next, complete the necessary routine maintenance and cleaning — including a certified serious chimney sweeps. No matter how handy you are, you want a chimney professional with the right technical expertise.

Change your air filters to improve your indoor air quality.

We all want a home where we can feel comfortable and relax. Usually, that means getting the temperature just right. Depending on the climate in which you live, you may spend hundreds of dollars each year on heating or cooling your home. You probably think nothing of it.

How often do you think about your indoor air quality, though? While you may assume the air inside your home is automatically sanitary, the Environmental Protection Agency warns that indoor air can be up to 3x more polluted than the outdoor air. Once a year it is a good idea to perform a little routine maintenance to keep it running right throughout the warm season.

There are things you can do to increase the quality of the air. First, change your filters; if you have been using those cheap, generic options, purchase a premium pleated filter — it costs a few extra dollars but makes a huge difference. Additionally, consider investing in an indoor air purifier. Though they are designed to work in a specific room, they will make a big difference in an individual room.

Make sure your windows are up to date.

While you may not interact with your windows every day, they are among the prominent features of your home — visible to guests, neighbors, and passersby. Not only do windows impact your home’s curb appeal, but they affect your health — ushering in fresh air and natural light, and capturing beautiful nature views that connect you to the outside world. That in mind, neglecting old windows can impact almost every aspect of your lifestyle.

Whether your windows are old, cheaply made, or just unstylish, a window replacement is one of the quickest ways to add incredible energy efficiency to a home, and update its overall look and feel. You don’t have to do all the windows at once — simply start with those that can return comfort to your home quickly.

Have a question about your next project? Go ahead and Ask Lou