One benefit of owning a home is you don’t need to wait for a landlord to get around to taking care of any problems for you. The downside, of course, is that you need to be the one staying on top of things. The best approach is to set up a schedule so that you can fix little problems before they become big problems.
First thing to do is to come up with a few different lists. Have one set up for things that you should a couple times a year, seasonal maintenance, and then things to check on every month. It can help to have a big whiteboard or other reminder system where you can see what still needs to be done this month.
- Clean everything: You should be cleaning your house regularly, anyway, but it’s just human nature to skip over some spots here or there. Clean out the fridge, wipe down baseboards and ceiling fans, scrub around sinks and drawers. A top-to-bottom cleaning will not only make you feel better in the house, but it can help you discover and address issues that were just out of sight.
- Check your water heater: If you’re not sure how to do this, there are several online how-to guides that will walk you through the basics. This can stop corrosion and leaks.
- Check your HVAC: Air conditioning units and furnaces both work pretty hard when they’re needed, and it’s always a good idea to get a professional out to look them over before you need to rely on them for the next several months.
- Fall: Rake leaves, put gardens to bed, make sure you’ve seeded and aerated soul and dealth with ponds. Clean out your gutters now, before they ice up. Replace caulk, find any cracks or leaks, and look at whether you’ll need to heat seal your windows. Outdoor equipment such as hoses, mowers, and the like should be drained and put away for storage.
- Winter: Cover the AC unit. Look for leaks in basement or attic, and keep an eye on your roof or gutters after getting snow or ice. It’s also a good time to clean up drains and sinks, and to check on your pipes–especially anything that runs close to an exterior wall or outside.
- Spring: Check your roof to see how it through the winter. Change the AC filter. This is a good time to clean and fix any damage to windows and doors, and wash the outside of the house down. If you need to repaint or retain anything, now’s the time. Check interior caulk and insulation, and might as well see if your showerheads and faucets are in good shape. It’s also time to assess what you need to do with your lawn and garden, especially fertilizing and planting.
- Summer: Check grout and tile to see if it needs to be touched up or replaced. Check for plumbing leaks, especially in out-of-the-way spots. Work on the deck or patio, and check any outdoor furniture or grills. Clean window wells, and might as well look at driveways, walkways, and foundation. This is also a good time to clean out the garage or storage shed.
- Filters: Check water and air filters to see if they need to be changed.
- Plumbing: Make sure the tubs, toilets, and sinks are draining properly. If there seems to be any issue, talk to a plumber before there’s a flood.
- Alarms: Check the batteries and functioantly in all smoke, carbon monoxide, or security systems.
Electrical: Take a look at plugs and cords, to make sure nothing seems too hot or otherwise not right. If you ever smell melting plastic or ozone, get a professional in.