This guest post comes to us from Sage Singleton. Sage is a home and community safety expert for SafeWise and has written for a variety of audiences ranging from government sites to lifestyle magazines.
You could “spring” into frenetic activity every March or April to maintain and improve your home’s safety and appearance. Or, if you prefer a less stressful approach, consider accomplishing a few routine tasks every month for added benefits
. Use the checklist of home maintenance basics below to keep your house clean, safe, and secure, as well as save on monthly utility bills.
JANUARYInspect the water heater.
To prevent sediment buildup in your water heater, flush it out once a year. Doing so preserves the water heater’s life, preventing potential leaks and water damage. Test the toilets for leaks.
Use a simple trick to check the commodes and help prevent high water bills: add a drop or two of food coloring to the toilet’s back water tank at bedtime. If you see colored water in the bowl in the morning, it’s time to replace the flapper (or flush valve seal).
FEBRUARYGo for the deep clean.
Most people clean their homes during the spring, but the winter serves, especially if snow and ice keep you homebound. Take a weekend and scour the floors, clean out the oven and refrigerator, dust the nooks and crannies, and wash curtains and throw rugs. To keep your home in mint condition, consider buying a robot vacuum like an ECOVATS DEEBOT
(ranging from $180 to $700). Check the weather-stripping.
You might think of weather-stripping as a fall home maintenance activity, but checking it in the spring helps with energy efficiency and cooling costs. If you see any strips in need of repair around the windows or doors, set aside a couple of hours to replace them.
MARCHClean the gutters.
If you didn’t get to them in the fall, check the gutters and remove leaves and other grime before spring rainstorms become common. It’ll protect your roof and siding from water damage.
APRILLook at the screens.
If you plan to save on cooling costs by opening the windows to spring breezes, check the window screens for holes and tears. The last thing you want is to invite a swarm of mosquitos, hornets, flies, or any other unwanted pests into your home. Check for indoor mold and mildew.
To avoid conditions that allow mold to grow, invest in Wally
(around $35). The device is a smart home sensor that, if it detects an issue, sends a distress signal to your smartphone. Also remember to check caulking in the bathrooms and kitchen and replace it as needed to keep mold and mildew away.
MAY Service the air conditioning system.
If you live in a warmer location—like Arizona or Texas—you may want to perform this home maintenance project in March or April. You should hire a local technician to assess it for peak performance and replace any needed filters. The cost varies by whom you hire, but you shouldn’t expect to pay more than $200
for a three-bedroom home.
JUNELook out for insects.
Insects like termites, ants, bees, and cockroaches typically make their appearances in the spring and summer months. Deter their arrival by setting off a bug bomb or two and working with a local pest control service.
JULYPerform a security check.
Home burglaries often increase during the summer months, largely because robbers expect homeowners to leave for lengthy vacations. Because of that, check your fences, doors, and windows. Then, invest in a robust security system that monitors your home and notifies you if suspicious activity occurs. The cost varies, so think about your budget and needs prior to purchasing one system over another.
AUGUSTRepair the roof.
The end of August, with clearer weather, is an ideal time to repair or replace roof shingles. The late-summer, early-fall timeframe also guarantees that new shingles have time to seal and create an impermeable barrier prior to winter’s arrival. Your cost will largely depend on the service used, so scout around before setting up a contract.Cut the cord.
As fall approaches and TV networks air the newest seasons of each hit show, cut the cable cord, save up to $100 a month
, and switch to a streaming platform where you can watch all your favorite programs, while saving money in the process.
SEPTEMBERReady the fireplace.
Get your home ready for the impending temperature drop by hiring a service to clean and repair the fireplace and chimney. Doing so not only ensures efficient heating but also decreases smoke and fire risks. Call a few local service providers to get a sense of potential cost. Service your heating system.
Besides taking care of the fireplace, also request a technician to service the heating system, making sure the equipment is in proper working order and replacing filters, which increases energy efficiency and mitigates fire hazards. Again, the cost varies by provider, so shop around.
OCTOBERCheck the batteries.
If you plan to use the fireplace a great deal during the winter, you should change the batteries for your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors before lighting the first log. The cost for batteries fluctuates, but if you wish to be smart
about it, go with the Nest Protect
(for $119) or Roost Alarm
(starting at $59.99). Assess the paint.
Walk around the outside of your house and look for peeling or blistering paint. If you see any, it’s time for a paint job. Left alone for the winter, the remaining paint will fail and potentially cause damage to your home’s siding.
NOVEMBERMonitor your energy usage.
You can accomplish this project any time of the year, but November works well since the heater and lights cause energy use to spike. You could track your energy manually or you can simplify things by investing in CURB
(listed at $399), a home automation device that attaches to your circuit breaker to monitor and manage energy use.
DECEMBERVacuum the refrigerator coils.
Your refrigerator consumes a sizable amount of power, so trim its diet by cleaning the coils. It’ll keep the refrigerator running longer and potentially save money on utilities.
With the variety of undertakings listed here, you should find plenty to do every month. The key is really working at it every
month to make it easier on you. What other home maintenance and safety tasks do your keep on your checklist?