There's the popular saying, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." It's often used in terms of health, but it can certainly be applied to the home. Regular upkeep of your exteriors, interior fixtures, and heating and cooling systems can prevent problems before they happen, ultimately saving you money in the long run. Not to mention, annual maintenance will keep your home in tip-top shape, making it a more pleasant space overall.
But what does an annual home maintenance checklist involve, exactly? Let's explore the 11 tasks every homeowner should do each year.
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1. Furnace: Schedule a Service Checkup and Tune-Up
Annual furnace maintenance is key for keeping your energy bills in check. This involves scheduling an annual furnace inspection and tune-up with a technician. As a homeowner, you can also maintain your furnace by replacing the filter at least once a year. While you're at it, clean the flame sensor and standing pilot, if your furnace has one.
Visit our full furnace maintenance guide here.
2. Central Air Conditioner: Schedule a Service Checkup and Tune-Up
Similarly, a central air conditioning system requires a yearly professional tune-up. You'll also want to protect the outdoor unit before the start of each winter. To do this, cover the housing with a large piece of plywood, then place stones or bricks on top. This will help stave off mold growth and keep your air conditioning unit in good shape for the next season.
Visit our full air conditioner guide here.
3. Windows: Deep Clean
Give your windows and window screens a deep cleaning once, if not twice, a year. Not only does this allow you to remove dirt and debris, but it gives you a chance to thoroughly examine the fixtures. If it's within your budget, consider having this task completed by a professional.
Visit our full window washing guide here.
4. Garage Door: Lubricate Metal Hinges and Rollers
As the garage door slides up or down, the metal fixtures (i.e., hinges and rollers) naturally rub against each other. Without regular lubrication, however, these parts will produce an annoying squeaking or grinding sound. To keep your garage door in good shape, lubricate the hinges and rollers once a year. A white lithium grease will get the job done, unless the manufacturer's manual says otherwise.
Visit our full garage door maintenance guide here.
5. Greenhouse: Deep Clean
If you're lucky enough to have a greenhouse, give it a deep clean once a year. This involves removing everything (yes, everything!) from the inside, which will allow you to properly examine the structure. This is also an excellent opportunity to check your equipment — think: irrigation and ventilation systems — and get rid of any pests that might be hiding inside.
Visit our full greenhouse maintenance and repair checklist here.
6. Lawnmower: Sharpen the Blade
It's normal for the blade of a lawnmower to become dull over time. A dull blade will cut grass unevenly, so it's crucial to sharpen it once a year. Use a bench grinder or metal file to sharpen the blade or bring it to a hardware store to have it professionally sharpened.
Other yearly lawnmower tasks include inspecting the spark plug, cleaning the air filter, and changing the oil. Visit our full lawnmower maintenance checklist here.
7. Landscape: Pull Weeds in the Fall
As it turns out, landscape maintenance isn't limited to spring and summer. During the fall months, take some time to pull as many weeds as possible. This will help limit weed growth come spring.
Visit our full guide on seasonal landscape maintenance here.
8. Exterior: Power Wash the Siding
To keep your exteriors looking fresh and clean, pressure wash the siding once (if not twice) a year. In general, you'll want to do this during the spring and/or fall, when the temperatures are mild and comfortable to work in. Pressure washing your exteriors every year will prevent the growth of mold while maintaining the curb appeal of your home.
Visit our full guide on pressure washing here.
9. Gutters: Remove Debris
When it comes to gutters, the general rule of thumb is to clean them twice a year. However, it's a good idea to check them regularly, especially if you have large trees on your property or are expecting a storm.
Visit our full guide on cleaning gutters and downspouts here.
10. Water Heater: Flush
To keep your water heater functioning properly, you'll want to flush the appliance at least once a year. If you have a larger household that has a high water demand, make sure you flush the heater more often. This will prevent low flow, high energy bills, and discolored water.
Visit our full guide on how to flush a water heater here.
11. Fireplace and Chimney: Schedule a Service Checkup
Once a year, you'll want to hire a chimney professional to inspect your fireplace — even if you're regularly cleaning the structure yourself. This will not only ensure that your fireplace is working properly, but it will also give you the peace of mind that the chimney has passed a professional's safety inspection.
Visit our guide on how to clean your fireplace and chimney here.