Part of living in your home is maintaining it. Home maintenance is one of the truest forms of the old proverb: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Following along month-by-month with these crucial home care checkups can save you massive headaches down the road. Many of these tips can be done any time of the year, so think of this as a guide, not a rulebook.
January — Wintertime Wall Work
New year, new you! And new walls, too. Take the time you spend inside hiding from the chill of January weather to fix up the inside of your home. Repair any interior wall damage you might have incurred throughout the year. Some places you should check are: around window sills, around your door, places where furniture is close to the walls, or any place with running water (check for moisture damage or mold). Also: check your smoke detector batteries! You’ll do it again in July.
February — Taking on Tiles
Start with a sweep, add a mop, and get a good look at all your tile surfaces as you inspect them for damage or leaks. A note of caution here: for most tile types don’t scrub with steel wool or you could damage the tiles! If you find any damage, make sure to re-grout the tiles and apply silicone sealer.
March — Airflow Checkup
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) are the systems that keep your home climate comfortable. And March is our pick for getting your furnace and ductwork inspected and serviced (if necessary). You need to check and replace your air filters every month, but you should also check all your vents for obstructions, and test that thermostat to make sure it’s humming like you need it to.
April — Keeping Up Appearances
As the weather warms up, and the flowers start to spruce up the landscape, you might want to take a look at your home’s facade. Do a 360-degree walkaround checking your siding for cracks, leaks, and damage. Note any damaged areas, and wash the rest with a hose for a new spring look to up your home’s curb appeal. You may need to repaint or refinish the damaged areas. Or, if it is severe, you may even have to replace a section of your siding.
May — Hit the Decks
At the beginning of the best season for porch-sitting, you’ll want to give your deck space a once-over to make sure everything is up to snuff. First, check for any loose nails or screws and hammer or screw them back into place. Take sandpaper around and smooth over any splinters or rough edges. And finally, you may want to add another layer of paint or sealant to any areas of your deck where the wood is showing its age. Then, all you need is a cold beverage to go with your deck chair.
June — Bugging Out
June is the month to wage war on the pests! Depending on the pest, the fix could be anything from a spray can to something more serious like animal control. First, assess the situation: do a lap inside your home and outside. Look for ant trails or small holes chewed into walls or siding. Double check your eaves, your vents, and any cracks or crevices. Termites, roaches, ants, bed bugs, and rodents can all compromise the integrity or value of your home. And it’s ideal to nip these problems in the bud before they get out of control.
July — Burn Prevention
Fire season is on the horizon, and there’s some smart preparation that every homeowner should undertake. Look around your home and clear any debris that could be a fire hazard. Dead leaves, branches, or even debris. After you’ve cleared the outside, head inside. Check all the batteries in your smoke detectors throughout your house. And, sticking with the theme, this is a good time to check the expirations on your fire extinguishers.
August — From the Ground Up
This month, you want to get on the ground level and check the condition of the bedrock of your home. This means the foundation, along with the interior floors and exterior driveway/walkways. Check your interior floors for scuffs, scrapes, and holes. For the exterior and foundation, you’re mainly checking for cracks or damage. You can seal small problems yourself, but you should contact a professional for larger jobs.
September — Avoid Dryer Fires
Did you know: dryers cause around 2,900 fires a year. And it’s because a lot of people don’t know or forget about proper dryer maintenance. To avoid fires, there are two main things you can do. The first you should do weekly: clean the lint trap. But the other, you can do in September. And that’s to clean your dryer vent! You can do it yourself if you have some help to move the dryer. But you can always hire a professional vent cleaner as well. And, while they’re visiting, this is the perfect time to have them check your furnace before you really need it through the colder months of the year.
October — Cut it Out
Pruning (which is removing dead stuff) and trimming (which is removing overgrown stuff) are both critical to maintaining your exterior landscape for both looks and safety. Vines and climbing plants can damage your home. Unchecked tree branches can be blown off and cause damage as well. Both can be home to a variety of pests and insects, too, so when October rolls around: cut them back! And, while you’re a few feet off the ground, October is our favorite month to check and clean your gutters before winter storms fill them.
November — Winter Storm Warning
Winter storms are getting more severe in more places. Which means that preparing for a severe winter storm is more important than ever. What’s that mean? It may depend on your location — storms in Alaska differ from the hurricanes in Florida. But some things are a good idea no matter where you are: check weatherstripping on windows/doors, prepare an emergency kit with first aid and non-perishable food for a few days, and review your property insurance to make sure you’re covered. This can also be a good time to consider larger, structural changes. As storms increase in intensity, consider upgrading your windows or even adding storm shutters.
December — A+ Attic
Whether you’re hiding presents or putting away your Thanksgiving decorations, the attic is an over-used but often neglected area in your home when it comes to maintenance. Keep it clean for Santa by taking December to head to the attic, check it for pests, check the insulation for leaks or drafts, and check any wiring to make sure it’s not been exposed. Just don’t get trapped up there!
Take these steps to maintain a healthier, happier, tidier, longer-lasting home. And, of course, in the event that something does go wrong (it always does), our monthly home performance plans have you covered. They combine rapid-response maintenance with the protection of a home warranty. Protecting you so you can home happy.