Buying your first home comes with a lot of responsibilities. You have to save enough money for a down payment, find a lender that will give you a good interest rate on a mortgage, and visit countless properties to decide which one matches your needs and budget. Unfortunately, the work doesn’t end after you and the seller reach an agreement. You need to maintain the home to keep your family safe and protect your investment.
The following list will help you focus on maintenance tasks that you should perform throughout the year. You’ll need to do some things more often than others, but each one is equally important. As long as you follow this schedule, you can keep your home in top condition. Doing so will give you a more comfortable place to live and help the property retain its value.
Monthly Schedule of Maintenance Tasks
Your monthly home maintenance schedule includes many simple tasks that usually only take a few minutes. Many people like to finish this checklist during the first weekend of each month. As long as you can set aside a couple of hours on a Saturday or Sunday, you shouldn’t have any difficulties finishing these tasks.
1. Inspect Your HVAC Filter
A dirty HVAC filter puts a lot of stress on your system, which will eventually lead to expensive repairs. Inspect your filter once per month to decide whether you need to replace it with a clean one. How often you replace the filter will depend on how much you use your heater and air conditioner, so you can expect to spend more time on this during summer and winter months.
2. Inspect Your Fire Extinguishers
Inspecting your fire extinguishers is one of the easiest things you can do to keep your home safe. Make sure the extinguishers are quickly accessible (you don’t have time to think when you need it), and check the gauges to make sure the extinguishers are fully charged. If any of them aren’t charged, you should replace them as soon as possible.
3. Clean Debris From Drains
Dirty drains turn into clogged drains. Clean them out once per month to prevent annoying clogs.
4. Flush Your Garbage Disposal
If you have a garbage disposal, you should flush it out at least once per month. Sprinkle about half a cup of baking soda all over the sink and add a cup of white vinegar. It will fizz like an elementary school science experiment. Wash it down the drain with boiling water. Finally, drop a cut lemon into the garbage disposal to kill bacteria and bad smells.
Every Three Months
Your quarterly home maintenance checklist includes diverse tasks. It’s best to do them during the same weekend instead of spreading them out over the months.
1. Test Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Walk through your home and test every smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. Testing these items usually just requires holding down buttons to make sure they still work.
2. Clean Faucet Aerators
Clogged faucet aerators won’t deliver full blasts of water, so you need to clean them quarterly. Unscrew the aerators, and remove any visible debris. If you can’t do it by hand, soak the aerators in vinegar for about 30 minutes.
3. Test Your Garage Door Opener’s Auto-Reverse Feature
All garage door openers made after 1993 have auto-reverse features that won’t let doors close on obstacles, including children and pets. You can test your garage door opener by placing a two-by-four piece of wood in the door’s path. If the door doesn’t detect the obstacle, you need to have your opener fixed immediately.
Every Six Months
Biannual tasks can take quite a bit of time, but they’re important parts of learning how to maintain a home.
1. Give Your Home a Deep Clean
This is probably the most time-consuming item on your home checklist. Deep cleaning means you have to move furniture and appliances to get at any dirt hiding behind them. You’ll also need to wash windows, clean your appliances and wipe out cabinets.
Expect to spend about a week completing these chores. If you spread the work out, you can stay motivated until the whole house feels like new.
2. Check Interior Caulking
The caulking on your windows and doors doesn’t last forever. Check these areas twice a year to maintain a good seal between the indoors and outdoors, which can lower your energy bills and keep bugs out.
3. Replace Smoke Alarm Batteries
This is an easy one. Even if your smoke alarms still work, you should replace their batteries every six months.
Once Per Year
You only have to do these things once per year, but they’re just as important as the other tasks on this list. Following this short checklist will make it easier for you to prevent damage to your home.
1. Clean Out Your Gutters
Remove tree leaves and other debris from your gutters so water can flow to drains freely. If heights make you uncomfortable, hire someone to do this job for you.
2. Replace Damaged Window Screens
Damaged window screens can’t do their jobs. Repair or replace them at least once a year.
3. Inspect Your Home’s Exterior
A close look at your home’s exterior can help you spot problems such as flaking paint, damaged vinyl siding and cracks in the foundation. The sooner you fix these issues, the less money you will spend on them.
Following a maintenance checklist is one of the most important things you can do to protect your home. It’s a good idea to print a copy of your list or put the tasks on your calendar to make sure you finish each chore on time.