As a new homeowner, I am very interested in gathering advice from other homeowners on regular maintenance tasks that can keep your home and automobiles running smoothly – a bit of time on a regular basis is well worth avoiding a major disaster later on.
While I cast out requests from many of my friends and acquaintances, I was most interested in the list that my father used for maintenance around our house. Once a month, my parents would have a “maintenance day” where they enlisted all of the children and we all worked hard on home maintenance tasks. Generally, my father focused on mechanical issues around the house and things that could present a danger, while my mother took the opportunity for a thorough scrubbing of the house.
I acquired both of their lists of tasks, along with several other similar lists from other homeowners, and prepared a master list of tasks to be done on a monthly basis. Many of these aren’t really relevant to some homeowners, as they deal with both warm climate and cold climate issues as well as the challenges of shifting back and forth each year (Iowa weather ranges from 90-110 in the summer to well below zero in the winter, Fahrenheit).
Why do this? As a homeowner, your home is a tremendous investment, and regular maintenance helps to ensure that there won’t be significant damage down the road that can potentially cost you a lot of money. Consider that this regular maintenance can stop mold infestations before they cost you thousands. Instead, take the time to regularly inspect and repair little things and your house will keep going in tip-top shape for a long time.
I don’t know if I can do all this in a day! Spread them out – do a couple hour’s worth each Saturday or something to that effect. Just be sure to keep a schedule of what you’re doing so they get done regularly.
Home and Auto Maintenance Checklist
You should do all of these things once a month in your home and your automobile. I have double spaced them so that if you choose to print out this entry, there’s plenty of room to make notes. Some of these might apply to you; I also didn’t include seasonal maintenance tasks like waterproofing your deck and so on. Also, if you know of anything I missed, please say so in the comments.
Check the tire pressure on all cars and air them up to the recommended maximum
Check the oil on the lawnmower and sharpen the blades – well-sharpened mower blades drastically reduce mowing time
Check, clean, and perhaps replace the air filter on all automobiles
Check the fluid levels in all automobiles and adjust as needed
Check and fill all gas cans for lawnmowers, etc.
Check for squeaky doors and oil them as needed
Check and clean range hood filters
Check and replace furnace filters
Check and replace other ventilation system filters
Check and replace humidifier filters
Remove grills on forced air system ducts and vacuum inside the ducts
Examine the foundation for any cracks
Examine exposed wood (attic, etc.) for insect damage and do any insect preventative maintenance that needs to happen
Test all ground fault circuit interrupters
Check all vents (inside and outside) and make sure there are no obstructions
Remove screens, clean window wells, and dry them
Examine all outdoor items and see whether any seasonal maintenance needs to be done
Drain off a pan full of water from the clean-out valve at the bottom of your hot water tank (removes sediment and maintains efficiency)
Check your sump pump for any issues
Test all fire/smoke/carbon monoxide detectors in the house
Check all window and door locks to ensure they’re all in working order
Check your fire escape plan and make sure that furniture additions haven’t changed this
Check all faucets for dripping water and change washers if needed
Run all sinks, toilets, baths, and showers to ensure no problems (mostly just the ones not used frequently)
Check the gauge on all fire extinguishers and replace if needed
Use a pipe cleaner and baking soda to clean all drains
Check all gutters for blockage and clean as needed (bird’s nests, leaves, etc.)
Check all visible pipes for leaks (don’t forget under sinks, etc.)
Check and clean refrigerator and freezer coils (we did this about once every six months, if I remember right)
Check all caulking and repair as needed
Monthly Cleaning Checklist
This is the checklist used by my mother during her monthly “cleaning day,” which helped keep the house fresh. It might also be useful to you and, as before, the items are double spaced for printing and note-taking.
Clean all windows – remove the screens, clean the windowsills thoroughly, and also clean the windows thoroughly with Windex
Vacuum under all furniture – and vacuum all furniture, removing the cushions, etc.
Shampoo carpets as needed – this was usually done in a batch every few months
Scrub all non-carpeted floors – soap and brush on your hands and knees
Scour all sinks and tabletops
Sweep the garage floor
Put anything unused into storage (we had an annual “go through the storage” event, too)
Inventory all food staples (pantry, freezer, etc.), throw out what’s old, make a master list, and go to the store to replace what’s needed
Completely clean out refrigerator, thoroughly clean inside, then restock
Take a look at a more complete list of DIY home repairs you can make to lower your home insurance rates.