According to one study, about 91% of Americans decide to “spring clean,” giving a fresh revitalization to their home as nature does the same outside.
But what about the other months? There are plenty of valuable tasks you should add to your home maintenance schedule to ensure that your house runs efficiently and smoothly. Home ownership saves money in the long run compared to renting, but only if you keep things in good condition.
So, what can you do to maintain your home, inside and out, throughout the year? Keep reading to find out!
When the cold of winter is gone, this season of new life is the perfect time to bring a breath of new life into your home as well.
We recommend that you start with your HVAC system.
If your house has central cooling and/or heating, the spring season is the perfect time to call a professional out to check on it. You should get it checked and serviced about twice a year.
They’ll be able to see if there are any issues that could soon cause it to stop working. If there are damages, they’ll schedule a time to fix it as well. But while they’re there, they’ll make sure that they service the machine and clean it.
In some cases, they’ll even clean the ducts and the vents as well. All of this will cost a few hundred dollars, but you will see some savings in increased efficiency and keep your home more comfortable throughout the year.
Your home’s plumbing is hidden and easy to forget — until something goes wrong. You should also check out all the pipes in your house on occasion to see if maintenance is required. Check under the sinks and around the showers to see if there is any leakage. It might be leaking only a little bit, which is hard to notice unless you’re looking for it. But preventative maintenance is always easier than a full repair job.
One sign that your pipes are leaking is if you find water stains on the wall. If the walls are dripping, or if you see water damage in your floor or ceiling, you should call a plumber immediately.
In addition to your pipes, you can also check the toilet and the flapper inside that plugs the top tank until you flush. The flapper tends to wear down over time. Once it’s worn down, your toilet will run more, causing water waste and frequent noise. Check your plumbing and fixtures regularly to catch small problems before they grow!
Spring is the perfect time to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. These detectors are critical in ensuring your prompt response and safety to any fires or carbon monoxide leaks that occur, so you should check them at least once a year and change the batteries. Again, this is the kind of thing that you may not actively think about much, but it will quickly be top-of-mind if something bad happens.
It’s better to check them now than be forced to in the middle of the night when they all start beeping to tell you the battery is low — or worse, dealing with the fallout of device malfunction when you need them the most.
After spring comes summer, a season perfect for outdoor checkups and maintenance. Why not make the most of sunny weather and clear days? There’s plenty to do, after all.
For example, you can start with a checkup of the landscape around your home.
Trim overgrown hedges and tree branches. Get rid of any foliage encroaching on your home, over pathways or into utility lines. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can reimagine your home’s exterior by planting new flowers, trees, bushes or succulents.
You should also look at your patio or deck to see if it’s still in good shape. If you have a wooden deck, you might find that it needs to be resealed to avoid future water damage and more costly repairs. If your patio is getting grimy with dirt and muck (as all do over time), you can rent a power washer from a big-box store to give it a nice, deep cleaning. Power washing is incredibly satisfying — truly one of life’s hidden pleasures — and we highly recommend it as a way to cheaply refresh your hardscape. Depending on the model and attachments, you can also power wash an old car, exterior siding, fences and more! Just be sure to do your research first, as the wrong setup could do more harm than good to grandpa’s trusty old Buick.
And if you DON’T have a patio or deck, now would be the perfect time to remodel part of your home and install one! Outdoor living spaces have always been popular, and for good reason. In 2020, the trend has exploded due to more people spending more time at home. A lush and comfortable exterior has never been more appreciated, and when the world opens up again you will love having guests over to enjoy your new space.
While you’re outside, take a good look at your home’s exterior to make sure everything is in decent condition. You may notice that there are cracks in the stucco, chips in your paint, or problems with the roof. Any of these issues could pose bigger threats down the line, and it pays to stay vigilant. The name of the game is preventative maintenance, so fix any issues before they grow and while the weather is good!
In the fall, you’ll of course have those typical fall tasks like raking leaves and strategically placing festive gourds for decoration. But those leaves don’t just fall on the ground, unfortunately.
If you see your lawn covered in leaves, that’s a good indication that your gutters are filling up with them too. It’s not the most glamorous job, but the fall is a good time to haul out your ladder and clear your gutters (or pay someone else to do it, we don’t judge!).
In addition, the fall is a good time to make sure that your heating system works — before the cold front comes in and you have to go to bed with five different blankets! Once you know your heating system is working fine, you should also make sure that your home is sealed properly. This way, you can make sure that all the heat you generate actually stays in your home, saving energy costs and keeping things cozy.
If you discover that warm air is leaking out, you can purchase sealers, insulation, or even install new windows or doors. Many older homes have outdated windows and doors that would actually save money over time by being replaced with newer, more energy-efficient versions.
If you have a fireplace, make sure that you check that as well. Clean out the flues and check around for any hazards that could spark a fire that you don’t want.
It’s not too common in most of Northern California, but perhaps the most widespread winter problem around the country is frozen pipes. If you live in high elevations, or if you have a vacation home where weather gets cold, this is something you need to consider.
When the water in your pipes freezes due to the cold temperatures outside, it can stop your flow of water (which is bad), but it can also damage and even crack the pipes (which is worse).
Once that ice in the pipe melts, it can burst and fill your home with icy cold water. Obviously, this is an issue, so make sure that you drain and shut off all of your outdoor faucets before the cold weather comes.
Pipe insulation is one good solution, and so is leaving a trickle of hot water running. Before you go to bed, leave your faucets on with a small stream of hot water to make sure that your pipes won’t be clogged with ice.
These are just a few things to keep in mind when you’re making your home maintenance schedule. Depending on the design and features of your home, there may be many more that you should add to your checklist! Take a look around and think about what might need work and what might cause problems down the line. It’s always cheaper and easier to act sooner rather than later.
For any homeowner, proper maintenance can help you get the most out of your home while you live in it, and it will keep things in good shape for when it comes time to sell. If you are thinking of selling your home, get started on maintenance now, and start looking for a great real estate agent who can help you determine the repairs and improvements that will yield the best return on investment. (That happens to be one of our specialties!)
If you need a recommendation for a local home repair vendor, or if you are wondering about your local real estate market and how best to sell your home in Bernal Heights, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re happy to help!