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Home Maintenance Checklists (Including Free Customizable Downloadable Checklist)

You dreamed of owning a home and finally made it happen. Then you move in, settle down, and realize there is a lot you need to do. Far more than you thought. The tasks never seem to end.

But there is something to keep in mind the next time you curse under your breath while doing home maintenance. These routine chores keep your home safe and prolong its life. It also means you are preventing unnecessary, potentially expensive repairs.

In short, home maintenance chores often feel like a burden. But they are crucial. 

That leads some of us to wish for a handy home maintenance checklist that works. Something that banishes that overwhelming feeling and lets you feel in control. If this thought has crossed your mind, then this article is for you.

We organized the items in your home that require maintenance. The frequency and steps you can take are then detailed one by one. (Please note, your tasks may vary depending on your home style and construction, as well as where you live.)

Then, we summarized all this data at the end into practical, simple to use checklists. You can even copy or print out the checklists and customize them for your home and lifestyle.

Download Our Free, Customizable Home Maintenance Checklists

Please note that while our lists are comprehensive, every person and home is different. For example, you may not get snow where you live, so snowblower maintenance is not something you need to worry about. 

So, even though this article is quite extensive, we realized you might need to change a few things to make it work for you. You can download a set of lists that cover a full year. You can then tweak them as needed for your home and location. Enjoy!

Organize Your Home Maintenance Work

It may be obvious, but the first thing you need to do is organize your yearly maintenance chores. Keeping one long checklist is overwhelming and it makes you lose perspective. A year of work is a lot of tasks. Seeing it all together is oppressive.

Instead, break up the tasks into separate categories so you don’t feel like they are all “due” at one time. We do have a whole year to get things done, so there is plenty of time. Breaking things into “parts” or categories is your first step to gaining a sense of control.

You can split up your master list in many ways. But the most efficient is to use five categories based on the calendar; monthly, spring, summer, fall, and winter

If you think about it, the ebb and flow of four seasons present natural times for many home maintenance chores. But other tasks need to be done more often, and monthly may make more sense.

Have something that needs to be done twice a year? Then put it on the summer and winter, or spring and fall lists. You get it.

Then within these five categories. You can subgroup the to do items into sets like utilities, landscaping, safety, appliances, etc. however it makes the most sense for you and your home.

So, let’s discuss what should be in each of the five categories along with details about each of the subgroups and tasks.

Monthly

Some things around the home need constant upkeep. If you get lazy and let them linger, they have a way of becoming more serious problems. So, doing the following maintenance items once a month keeps things running smoothly and prevents damage to your home.

A general category makes sense to catch all those, well, general tasks. Then there are utilities, like electricity, water, cable, internet, etc. which can be grouped together into a subset. For simplicity, you can also include heating and cooling in the utilities category.

Also, Appliances are another group of to do’s you should have. These are important, expensive devices and you want to make sure they are running properly. Plus, taking care of them will help to prevent breakdowns and extend their useful life.

And of course, you want your home to be safe. So, keep a “safety” category to help remind you of the tasks you can take to maximize your family’s well-being. Monthly safety issues can be grouped together and this list can often be addressed over the course of a single afternoon.

General:

  • Inspect the exterior of your home and other structures. Note anything that you need to fix or repair. You can thenschedule it as a future DIY project or make plans to hire a contractor.

Utilities:

  • Check and clean your HVAC air filter. Replace it if it is unusually dirty. A clogged air filter is not healthy, and it stresses the system.
  • Vacuum heat registers, vents and refrigerator coils. Air must be able to flow over these, and dust or dirt prevents that from happening.
  • Inspect for leaks around all sinks, showers, washer machines, etc. A small leak can do major damage. Catch leaks early to minimize the impact.
  • Pour water down unused drains. This keeps the trap full and prevents foul, toxic sewage fumes from entering your home. It also helps to keep the pipes clean and free flowing.

Appliances:

  • Empty and clean the drip pan on your frost-free refrigerators. This task is ignored in many homes. But it can lead to foul odors and may even overflow.
  • Vacuum your refrigerator coils and air grills to maximize air flow.
  • Inspect your dishwasher. This appliance is also prone to leaks and other damage. You should also remove food or debris caught by the drain stainer/catch screen.
  • Clean the disposal to prevent your kitchen from smelling like a compost pile. You can do this by running some vinegar ice cubes down the disposal. It cleans and freshens it, as well as sharpens the blades. 
  • Clean the washing machine. It sounds crazy to some, but you do need to clean the washing machine, and often. Prevent problems before they occur by keeping it clean. If there is an off odor, you may want to use a commercial washing machine cleaner.

Safety:

  • Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are working. These are important devices to keep you safe in your home, especially when you are sleeping;
  • Test ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI). Testing your GFCIs is simple, simply press the test button on the outlet. Where outlets are near water, you need this life saving device doing its job to protect you if there is an accident.
  • Inspect fire extinguishers regularly. Yes, fet one and check it monthly to make sure it has not been tampered with. This is one piece of equipment you must have in the kitchen and it must be in working order.
  • Check for frayed wires, or other damage to electrical cords. They are everywhere in our homes and they can be damaged by vacuum cleaners, foot traffic, moving furniture, etc. If they are damaged or frayed, they are dangerous and you need to replace them.

Monthly Checklist:

Spring Maintenance

The snow has melted, and you are looking forward to the coming lazy beach days. But first, there is much to do after winter ends. Spring is a busy time around the home.

The winter season is hard on your landscaping, home, shed, and equipment. There will be repairs to make, and maybe an improvement or two. 

It is also a perfect time to transition your home from cold to warm weather. So, you will have a seasonal category on your checklist with “spring” related chores. 

Plus, spring is a great time to clean. Therefore, a cleaning category just makes sense. And of course, you will be outside more so you need to have a yard category. You will also have chores that fall under utilities, appliances, and safety.

Not all of these categories or tasks need to be completed on the first day of spring. So, schedule the jobs over the three months of the season in a way that makes sense for you. Your home will appreciate the attention after a long winter. 

Seasonal:

  • Store the snowblower away. The warm weather is coming and you don’t need it for a while. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to store it over the summer so it will be ready next winter.
  • Start and service the lawnmower. You will need to cut grass soon. Make sure your mower is running properly. Once you have done any needed maintenance, you are ready to make your yard look great and smell of fresh cut grass.
  • Install or repair weatherstripping (and exterior caulk) to prevent air leakage. The air conditioner will be coming on soon enough and you don’t want hot air leaking in around doors, windows, or other exterior wall penetrations.
  • Clean and inspect the roof. Winter is hard on your roof, so the spring is a great time to check it for damage and remove branches, leaves, and debris. Of course if there are missing or damaged shingles, you will need to schedule repairs.
  • Get contractor bids for repairs or home improvement work, if necessary. You may not be able to do all the repair work. So if you need a contractor, set them up now before they get too busy as the nice weather moves in.

Utilities:

  • Service the HVAC unit. Your air conditioning needs to be readied for work, warm weather is coming. Have it checked and tuned up to make sure it is in good working order. This is usually best done by professionals.
  • Change HVAC filters. Winter kept you in the house for most of the time. Those filters collected a ton of dust and debris. It is time for a fresh, clean filter to keep your air clean and your HVAC running efficiently. This is definitely a DIY job.
  • Inspect the septic tank. If you have one, you need to inspect and check it. When the solid levels exceed 25% to 35% of the tank’s volume, pump it to prevent a health hazard and sewage back up into the house. 

Appliances:

  • Check and clean your kitchen hood to keep it working correctly. The exhaust fan filter and fan blades can accumulate more dirt, oil, and debris than you think. This will also prolong its life. You might even need to do this more than once a month if you have a serious cook in the house.
  • Check the sump pump. Often overlooked, this is the time to ensure your pump is on and working. Melting snow puts a heavy load on all your home’s drainage, including the sump pump. Make sure it is ready for the spring and summer rains.
  • Replenish water softener chemicals. If you live in an area with hard water, chances are you have a water softener. They consume salts, and you must replenish the chemicals in order for the softener to work.

Cleaning:

  • Deep clean the interior. You were cooped up inside for the whole winter and it is time for spring cleaning. Dust or vacuum all those hard to reach places. Clean the clutter, remove the cobwebs, whatever is needed to get the inside spotless.
  • Clean the exterior of your home. If you have vinyl siding, you might use a power washer. But no matter how you clean the exterior and remove the mold, mildew, dirt, etc. that have accumulated and repair any siding damage. 
  • Clean the gutters. If your gutters clog, water can go just about anywhere and it often causes damage. Keep this vital component of your home in optimum working condition, even if it is your least favorite task.
  • Clean windows and repair screens. This should be part of your spring cleaning. But it is also a good time to check all of your screens for damage. In particular, holes or tears in the screens should be mended to keep the bugs out.
  • Clean and organize the garage. Every garage should be scoured once a year. Spring is the best time and it puts you in the mood to take on more projects.

Yard:

  • Repair, clean and reseal decks. The wood on your decks just took a beating over the winter months. Nail head pops, rotted wood, and worn stain/sealant all need to be addressed and fixed.
  • Landscape. Spring is the time to fertilize the lawn, rake leaves, trim trees, reseed bald spots, etc. Spruce up the grounds and make your yard presentable. 
  • Open the pool. If you are lucky enough to have one, late spring is the perfect time to take the cover off and get the water ready for swimmers.
  • Prepare outdoor faucets and sprinklers for use. Remove protective covers and insulation. Turn the water on and check for leaks. Make sure the water flows freely as the lines and hoses can mysteriously get clogged over winter.

Safety:

  • Change the smoke/CO detector batteries. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors protect your family, especially while sleeping. Spring is one of the two times a year to install fresh batteries. Keep them operating for the next 6 months.
  • Vacuum the dryer vent and exhaust line to remove lint buildup. This is a safety issue. Don’t think so? FEMA reports there are 2,900 home dryer fires each year with an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss.
  • Test your garage door auto-reverse. This feature protects pets and children from injury by a closing garage door. But the feature must be set right. Test the garage door to be sure it is working and reverses if an obstruction is detected.

Spring Checklist:

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Summer Maintenance

Once the warm weather moves in, your thoughts often drift to your vacation or the next outing on the water. So, your checklist may not be as long as it was in the spring. But there is still some work to do around the house in the summer months.

These tasks are important to keeping your home running right and preventing premature failures. It also keeps your family safe. So, ignore that urge to lie in the hammock again and check off a few things on your summer home maintenance list.

You have the time in your schedule to get each item checked off; you just have to schedule it and commit to completing the items. Then, you can enjoy that day out on the boat without worrying about all the things you left undone.

Seasonal:

  • Reverse ceiling fan direction. One of the first things you want to do in summer is make sure the fan is now blowing air down to maximize the cooling effect. Flip that little switch to reverse the blade spin.
  • Oil garage door and all door hinges. Your door’s hinges and closing mechanisms need a little help every now and then. Once a year, you should oil door hinges, and for your garage door, oil the tracks as well as the section hinges.
  • Make exterior repairs/improvements. Summer brings the perfect weather to do things like paint, replace shingles, repair foundation repairs, etc. Make the most of the short summer months and do those outdoor repairs or improvements.
  • Mitigate pests. Summer is great, but it is when the bugs, mice, spiders, etc. all appear in numbers. You can employ your own pest control strategies, or hire a professional. But do not wait, the sooner you start the more effective it will be.
  • Inspect your foundation for cracks or other damage. Winter can cause things to shift in the ground, including your foundation. Check for cracks or other signs of movement and settlement. Of course, any damage you find will need to be repaired.

Utilities:

  • Change HVAC filters. (Quarterly. See spring list for more details.)
  • Flush the water heater and test the relief valve. The hot water heater is one of the harders working appliances in your home. It accumulates sediment and rust over time you need to flush it out. Also, the relief valve needs to be working to make sure you do not build up pressure inside the tank.
  • Clean faucet aerators and shower heads to keep the water flowing freely. You can use vinegar diluted in water or a store bought cleaning product to get rid of mineral deposits left by hard water. 

Appliances:

  • Replenish water softener chemicals. (Quarterly. See spring list for more details.)
  • Check the dishwasher, sinks, and toilets for leaks. Summer is a good time to get under counters, and under the house if necessary, to inspect for leaks. Catching a leak early minimizes the associated damage.

Yard:

  • Landscape. Mow the lawn, trim shrubs, prune trees, reseed the lawn, tend to the garden. Summer is the time to get outside and enjoy the yard. But that means you need to keep it groomed and presentable.
  • Stay on top of the pool. The cover is off and people are swimming. That means you need to keep the water clean, the pH balanced, and the bottom vacuumed clean.
  • Test and repair sprinkler systems. If you enjoy the luxury of owning inground sprinklers, you are lucky. But they are finicky. So, turn them on. Inspect the heads and fix any that are misaligned or broken. Plus, check for leaks that are wasting water. Also, make sure they are low enough to avoid being hit by the mower blade.
  • Keep the HVAC compressor clear. Weeds, leaves and other debris can collect around the HVAC compressor. But if the vents become clogged, the unit will not function at full efficiency and you stress the compressor. In the worst case, it causes a failure.

Safety:

  • Test your garage door auto-reverse. (Quarterly. See spring list for more details.)

Summer Checklist:

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Fall Maintenance

The leaves are changing color and dropping to the ground. Crisp temperatures seem to make everything seem magical. It is a beautiful time of year.

But those changes also signal the need for you to get busy. Your home needs to be prepared for winter. So, fall is a time to pay close attention to your home maintenance checklist.

When the cold weather settles in and the snow falls, you want a clean, well-tuned home to keep you warm and comfortable. Plus, don’t forget winter brings the holiday season. You want your home at its best for guests. 

There are a number of seasonal to-do’s this time of year. Be sure to set aside time and schedule your work to avoid being overloaded at a particular time.

So, fall really is a busy time around the home, but it is worth it. Now let’s get into all that you should do during the colorful fall season.

Seasonal:

  • Inspect, clean, and repair fireplaces and chimneys. Nothing makes it feel like home more than a fire. But before you light that first log, be sure the flu, chimney, firebox, etc are all sound. Also, clean creosote build up to prevent chimney fires.
  • Install exterior sealant as needed around windows and doors. Nothing is more uncomfortable and annoying than a winter draft. So, stop them in the fall by eliminating voids around doors and windows, before it gets really cold outside.
  • Inspect and repair weatherstripping. (Biannually. See spring list for more details.)
  • Repair sidewalks and driveways. You should repair cracks and apply driveway sealer if necessary in preparation for the upcoming wintry conditions.
  • Touch up exterior paint. It will be a number of months till you can paint again once winter sets in. So, hit those areas that need help, now, to help the paint weather the winter a little better.
  • Inspect your roof. Repair missing or damaged shingles, or other forms of roof damage. You will not want to be on a roof making repairs once the winter weather rolls in. And you want a sound roof for the winter months.
  • Repair or replace damaged or missing siding. The siding needs to be watertight for winter, so fall is the best time to give it a once over and repair any damage you may find.

Utilities:

  • Change HVAC filters. (Quarterly. See spring list for more details.)
  • Tune up your boiler or HVAC system to ensure the heat is working properly. You want to do this in the fall, before it gets cold. You may want to hire a professional for this task.

Appliances:

  • Clean your kitchen hood to keep it working correctly. The exhaust fan filter and fan blades can accumulate more dirt, oil, and debris than you think. This will also prolong its life. You might even need to do this more than once a month if you have a serious cook in the house.
  • Remove/winterize portable or window air conditioners. These appliances are nice in the summer, but window units let heat out and portable units are bulky. Take them out and store per the manufacturer’s instructions for the winter.
  • Replenish water softener chemicals. (Quarterly. See spring list for more details.)
  • Clean/tuneup major appliances before the holidays. We all know there is going to be a lot cooking in November and December. So, get the stove in tip top shape. Clean out the refrigerator. Be ready. You might want to give the washer and dryer some love, too.

Cleaning:

  • Clean the gutters. Fall is a good time to ensure the water coming off your roof is handled properly. Once winter sets in, you will not be able to do anything about it if there is a gutter problem till spring. (Biannually. See spring list for more details.)
  • Deep clean the interior. (Biannually. See spring list for more details.)
  • Deep clean carpets. Spring is often recommended for this chore, but fall is better. You don’t have the mud seen during spring tracking in. And it is nice to have clean carpets for the long months you are inside during the winter.
  • Clean doors and windows. You will not want to wash windows in the cold winter months. So, fall is a good time to get the windows crystal clear before the bad weather. While you are at it, clean the doors, too.

Yard:

  • Rake leaves. We might as well start with the iconic fall task, raking leaves. It is necessary to keep things tidy. But it also deters pests and lets water drain away from your house. Plus, you don’t have to deal with the smell of rotting leaves.
  • Plant perennials. It is to overlook, but fall is the time to plant those bulbs. Then next spring, you will see pretty flowers pop up to celebrate making it through another winter.
  • Winterize the pool. Before the temperature becomes too cold, treat the water and get that pool cover on. Same goes for outdoor whirlpool baths and hot tubs.
  • Ensure your grade is sloped away from home with no depressions that can collect water.
  • Stock up on firewood. If you have a fireplace, you need wood to burn. Ideally, you have already done this all spring and summer. But if not, make sure to have some seasoned wood delivered before winter hits.
  • Winterize exterior plumbing. Drain and store garden hoses, insulate outdoor faucets, protect sprinkler heads, winterize fountains, etc. Freezing water does damage, even to things like your power washer lines or wand. So, make sure all lines and tanks are empty. Winterize anything that uses water outdoors.

Safety:

  • Test your garage door auto-reverse. (Quarterly. See spring list for more details.)
  • Change the smoke/CO detector batteries. (Biannually. See spring list for more details.)
  • Vacuum the dryer vent and exhaust line to remove lint buildup. (Biannually. See spring list for more details.

Fall Checklist:

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Winter Maintenance

Winter, we all know it brings cold weather. Cold enough in many places for snow to fall. What it all means is that we are spending more time inside the home. Good thing you got that fall maintenance checklist completed, right?

So, now you need to get through the November and December holidays, and New Years. It is a busy time of year. Luckily, your winter home maintenance checklist is a short one. 

But your to-do is not completely empty. Be sure to schedule some time for the items that do need to be done, maybe in January and February.

Since the weather is not conducive to landscaping, there is no yard category on your winter list. But that frees you up some for some annual chores that you might forget. Also, don’t forget the monthly checklist and it is a good time to little nuisance items you keep saying you want to fix.

Seasonal:

  • Keep the basement clean and check for leaks during thaws. Winter is hard on your homes drainage systems, and basements can flood. Make sure you have sensitive belongings stored properly so they are not damaged if there is a leak, and check for leaks often.
  • Check the roof for damage and inspect regularly for ice dams. Once an ice dam forms, water can back up under you shingles. This problem can cause extensive damage and you want to keep a close eye on the roof. Use a snow rake if needed to remove excess snow before a dam forms.
  • Start snowblower and tune it up. You want to make sure the snowblower will start when you need it. It should also be running in peak condition. Winter is its time to shine, so get it ready.
  • Stock up on deicers and snow shovels. If you live in an area that gets snow, you want these items ahead of time, not after the snow falls. So, stock up and be ready to keep your sidewalks and steps clear and safe.
  • Prepare for power outages. The electricity is more likely to go out in winter. So if a bad storm hits, you should have a generator as well as enough food and water to get by for a few days. You will need flashlights, a battery operated radio, and a camping stove or gas grill, too.
  • Fix broken or loose door knobs and deadbolts. You should make sure all door hardware is operating properly at least once a year. Winter is a good time for this chores since you are spending more time indoors. It is not a huge job, but it is a very important one as door hardware is worked hard and often.

Utilities:

  • Flush the water heater and test the relief valve. (Biannually. See summer list for more details.)
  • Fix slow or clogged traps. While you are spending more time than usual indoors because, well winter, tackle those pesky drains. There are many home remedies, or you can use a commercial drain clog remover. But spend some time at least once a year to keep drains clear.
  • Insulate susceptible pipes. Freezing pipes are a nightmare. So, don’t let it happen. Insulate susceptible pipes to keep them warm. Pipes under sinks in cabinets, exterior walls, crawlspaces, or other drafty cold places are the most susceptible.
  • Change HVAC filters. (Quarterly. See spring list for more details.)
  • Clean mineral buildup from shower and sink aerators. (Biannually. See summer list for more details.)

Appliances:

  • Replenish water softener chemicals. (Quarterly. See spring list for more details.)
  • Tighten all screws and bolts. This task applies to your appliance racks, knobs, legs, etc. But look around your home, there are more places that are bolted together. Spend a few extra minutes and tighten all the bolts and screws you can find. It is a worthwhile job.

Cleaning:

  • Clean bathroom exhaust fans. The bathroom exhaust system is important in winter. You should run the fan every time you shower to prevent condensation. But it needs to be running efficiently. So, this is a good time to vacuum to vacuum the grills to maximize air flow.
  • Clean faucet aerators and shower heads to keep the water flowing freely. You can use vinegar diluted in water or a store bought cleaning product to get rid of mineral deposits left by hard water. 

Safety:

  • Test garage door auto-reverse.(Quarterly. See spring list for more details.)

Winter Checklist:

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