The Ultimate Home Maintenance Checklist For First Time Home Owners

Monthly Home Maintenance Checklist:

Performing these tasks will save you a lot of money in the future by preventing problems from escalating. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The best part is, many of these tasks are DIY and cost-friendly to perform. 

So, here’s what you should be doing each month to keep your home as pristine as it can be.

HVAC system filters check:  This will depend on whether yours are reusable or disposable. In either case, you’ll want to clean or replace them after around a month, ideally no later than 3 months. 

Check for Toilets and sink leaks. If you see water where it shouldn’t be, that’s your signal to check further.  Even a tiny leak can cost you hundreds of dollars per year! 

  • Check for grout and caulking. Make sure any voids or cracks in tubs or showers are sorted out.
  • Check outside. Inspect for any issues with foundation, vents, gutters or drainpipes and arrange to get it sorted if need be.
  • Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Test every month and replace batteries every 6 months.
  • Check the kitchen vent hood filter. Make sure it’s clean and replace it if necessary. If you have a chef in the house, you may want to check this more often. 

Each new season brings new challenges; therefore, your home will have differing needs depending on the season. Here’s what to do during each:

Winter Home Maintenance Checklist:

While many of us would rather hunker down during the cold months and await springs return, here are a few home maintenance chores that need attending:

  • Check for drafts. These cause cold air to slip through your doors and windows, thus skyrocketing your heating bills each month. Here’s a quick and easy method to check for drafts: light an incense stick and see if the smoke doesn’t rise but instead blows around; you’ve got a draft. 
  • Cover outdoor air-conditioning units. If they aren’t protected, ice and snow will do a number on them.
  • Check your sump pump. If you have a sump pump in your basement, be sure that it’s on by pouring a little water in the crock to make sure it starts. Many basement leaks occur during spring thaws, so it’s best to check now and be safe. Be sure to check the back-up battery too. 
  • Check that foundation vents are closed. While these are good in spring, summer and fall, closing them during winter will mean more money in your pocket by shrinking your heating costs. 
  • Check for ice dams. These are ridges of ice that build-up at the bottom of your roof. They trap snow and melting water behind them, which can cause the water to infiltrate your roof. We can help to ensure this doesn’t become an expensive cost for you in the future.

Spring Home Maintenance Checklist:

Winters are notoriously tough on homes. However, the job isn’t done just because winter’s over! Here are your springtime chores. 

  • Check HVAC. This is to ensure it’s nicely tuned up, ready to provide refreshing and rejuvenating air when it’s needed, which will be around the corner at this stage. This job is best left to professionals as it can easily go wrong and end up costing you a fortune. As always, we can help you out here. 
  • Check seals around doors and windows.  Again, check for drafts. Touch up any cracked caulking to prevent loss of cooled air during summer.
  • Check gutters. Thanks to the ice built up during the cold winter months, gutters will now be loose and saggy. When this happens, they don’t drain properly and will create drainage issues. When this is left for a few seasons, it may cause an unstable gutter that will spill enough water to destroy your foundation’s structural integrity!
  • Check sidewalks and driveways. You’ll want these repaired before they become a major issue.
  • Check your Roof. Winter snow and ice will often damage your shingles, resulting in leaks. The safest way to inspect your roof is with binoculars, don’t go up there unless you’re experienced! You don’t want to be part of the 500,000 group of people injured in ladder-related accidents each year. Roof repairs are best left to qualified contractors like us!

Summer Home Maintenance Checklist:

Since it’s now most people’s favourite time of the year, you’ll be tempted to indulge in vacationing and lounging by the pool. But the work isn’t done yet! Here are a few of your summer chores before you can chill by the pool guilt-free.

  • Test the lawn irrigation system. While these are super handy, leaks in the pipes or connections will cause your water bills to skyrocket. This is a job for a professional, and we’d be glad to help!
  • Inspect your decks. Summer is a great time to reapply a new coat of sealant if the wood is starting to show its age. Be sure to flatten any protruding nails and smooth any rough areas to ensure safety throughout the seasons.
  • Check siding. The best time for pressure washing vinyl or fibre cementing is when it’s warm. Pay extra attention to each piece of siding as you clean it, looking for cracks, soft spots and any other signs of trouble.
  • Trim around outdoor HVAC units. Grass and weeds growing around your units may reduce their efficiency and even cause expensive damage.
  • Inspect foundation and crawlspace. Be sure to schedule a repair from a professional if you see any cracks. Also, after heavy rain, check the crawlspace to make sure there’s no water getting in there.

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Before carving up some pumpkins or sticking the football on, reserve a few weekend hours to take care of these autumn tasks:

  • Check the HVAC system. Winter is around the corner; the last thing you need is your safe haven being unable to keep you and your loved ones warm during winter. Hire a qualified HVAC inspector to ensure it’s ready to keep you cosy all winter.
  • Clean gutters and check the roof. Remove all snow and water trapping debris during the winter. If you live in a single-story home, you can easily do this with a partner.
  • Check exterior grade. Make sure any depressions that can trap any water or snow are filled in. Otherwise, they could lead to damp basements, settling or damage to your foundation.
  • Turn off outside hose bibs. Assuming you’re not fortunate enough to own frost-free exterior faucets, you’ll want to shut them off then drain the lines during the winter to prevent freezing.
  • Check the fireplace. Before enjoying your first cosy night around the fire, it’s safest to have a professional inspect the wood stove and chimneys first. After all, 22,300 unsuspecting people each year experience a rude awakening when something goes awry and causes a dangerous fire!

Yearly Home Maintenance Checklist:

Although your house is not getting any younger, there are many things you can do to make sure it ages gracefully. Here they are:

  • Check for signs of termites. The earlier your spot these, the better. Otherwise, if you let a swarm of termites build-up, you’ll be staring at huge expenses. You can use a terminate primer from the EPA if you need help spotting them. 
  • Lubricate garage door springs. Greasing your garage door springs will make it much easier to operate and help it to last longer. It will also get rid of that screeching noise that causes the neighbour’s dog to start barking. 
  • Drain the hot water heater. Throughout its use, sediment will be collecting in the bottom of the heater, causing its longevity to decrease. 
  • Clean clothes dryer exhaust. Over 15,000 house fires are caused by lint build-up! If it doesn’t cause a fire, it will certainly decrease the efficiency, so make sure it’s clean!

Home Maintenance Checklist For Every 2 – 5 Years

Around your houses’ fifth birthday, several issues will pop up. Thankfully, most of these are pretty straightforward and inexpensive to handle. 

  • Replace caulking around windows and doors. Just like everything, unless it’s renewed, it will eventually get too old to do its job effectively. Doing this will also help to keep your home more energy-efficient. 
  • Clean heating ducts. Leaving dust and dirt to accumulate will eventually obstruct airflow and might even cause a health hazard. Call a professional to clean the ducts, repair or upgrade them if needed. We would be glad to help you with this.
  • Get a termite inspection. You should always be looking for any signs of termite damage, ideally every year. But now and again, you want a professional job, so nothing gets missed and instead gets spotted early before becoming major costs.
  • Seal grout. To help prevent water infiltration, be sure to add a fresh coat of sealant to your bath and kitchen tile grout. 

Home Maintenance Checklist For Every 5 – 10 Years

As your home starts to reach its first decade, here are a few items you’ll want to pay extra attention to.

  • Paint the exterior. Unless you’re a well-versed painter, it’s usually best to leave this to a professional.
  • Install a new dishwasher and washing machine. These will tend to last around 10 years. So now will be the best time to replace them. Look out for energy-efficient models as they will save both water and energy, which means more money left in your pocket.
  • Replace the microwave. Microwaves will usually wear out after about nine years. They will need replacing unless you want your food to come out like pieces of cardboard. 
  • Replace the kitchen sink. After around 5 years, steel sinks will start to show their age. Before 10 years, you’ll definitely want to replace them. This job is best left to pro’s as it requires specialised tools and working in tight places. 

Home Maintenance Checklist  For Every 10 – 15 Years

Here are more of the long haulers that will need replacing every 10 to 15 years.

  • Replace smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Even if these seem to be just fine, we recommend erring on the side of caution since these are the last things you want to fail on you when you need them the most!
  • Replace hot water heater. Gas and electric water heaters typically last around 10 years. We highly recommend a professional for this job.
  • Replace garage door. Depending on the frequency of use, most garage doors will last around 10 to 15 years. This, again, is a job typically best left to the pros.
  • Install a new refrigerator and range. Refrigerators and ovens typically last 13 to 15 years before things hit the fan. Ovens should be installed by a professional; however, you should be OK with a refrigerator, although we’ll be happy to help you out if you insist.

Home Maintenance Checklist For 15 Years And Beyond:

Even after the 15-year mark, there is still more work that needs doing! Since these are the tasks that only need doing a handful of times in one’s lifetime, they tend to cost a lot more and are definitely best left to pros!

  • Check the roofing material. Although the life expectancy of roofs tends to be around 20 to 30 years, it’s always best to ensure they’re still as efficient as they need to be in order to do their job correctly.
  • Replace exterior decks. How often this needs doing will largely depend on your local weather and how often you applied a protective sealant.
  • Install new HVAC units. As always, the life expectancy of your HVAC system will depend on how well they were maintained. Unfortunately, even if you ticked all the boxes in terms of care, they will start to look worse for wear at around 15 to 20 years old, often even sooner. 
  • Replace kitchen and bathroom faucets. After about 15 years, your kitchen and bathroom faucets should have had enough. If you’re a handy homeowner, you should be able to handle this project, assuming you have the right tools. Otherwise, we’d be more than happy to help.

If you plan to live in your home for a very long time or even sell it in the future, this homeowner’s maintenance checklist will help ensure your home is safe and secure or collects the biggest cheque it can should you sell it. 

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