What day of the week is it? What did I do yesterday? These are simple questions that we all struggle to answer from time to time, but luckily there aren’t huge consequences to forgetting the answers to those questions.
Why do we struggle to answer such easy questions? Well, it’s simple. Everyone is too busy. Between work, running kids to sporting events or practices, or social obligations most people are just too busy to remember the small day-to-day details. This is not to say that being busy is bad, it is just a fact of life in today’s fast-paced hustle.
However, lost in the daily grind are some things that do carry severe consequences. Things like—getting the gutters cleaned out, servicing the AC and/or furnace, and inspecting your home’s roof can [if neglected] end up costing a homeowner thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.
To properly maintain a home you need a regular maintenance cycle, but no need to worry, we’ve put together a checklist for you.
Get Your Gutters Cleaned Every Six Months
Gutters are great, they move water off your roof and away from your house, however, they are not maintenance-free.
Every spring and fall you should go up on a ladder (be careful, if you don’t like ladders, hire a professional) and check your gutters – clean out any debris that may be accumulated. Common gutter debris includes sticks, leaves, particles from roofing materials, and the occasional passing piece of trash but whatever debris you need to clean, remove it before it blocks your gutter.
If your gutter does get blocked it can destroy your roof. Water will back up in the gutter and can leak under your roofing material causing rot or the water can run behind your siding and cause water to leak inside our house.
Check Your Deck or Patio Every Fall and Spring
A deck can be a grill master’s paradise, but a poorly kept deck can be a money pit and a major hazard.
If you live in the northern part of the USA, you only get to utilize your deck during the spring, summer, and fall months, but did you know that the most damage can be done to your deck when it is covered with snow? As the snow melts and freezes it can pull up nails, deteriorate stains/finishes, and create the perfect environment for wood rot.
Therefore, every fall regardless of where you live you should check your deck for signs of cracked boards, loose nails, and debris. Sweeping the debris off the deck will help keep the finish intact and the wood protected while hammering in loose nails can prevent injury and maintain the sturdiness of the deck.
After you have cleaned your deck it is a good idea to spray it with deck preservative to keep algae from growing on/in the deck boards and causing rot.
Note: This is only needed for wooden decks, most composite decks are algae resistant.
Change Your Furnace Filters and Make Sure Your Thermostat is Working Properly
The best time to check your furnace is before it gets cold and the best time to check your AC is before it gets hot—simple, but remember that!!
Many Americans neglect their heating and cooling systems until they need them which can be a big mistake. Did you know that old furnace filters can cause germs, must, and mold to spread throughout a house? If that’s not enough—did you know that clean HVAC ducts and a clean furnace filter lower heating and cooling costs? So basically, it’s a win-win.
Check your HVAC system before you need to use it, and you’ll be happier with your heating/cooling costs and potentially healthier!
Clean Your Dryer Vent or Have It Cleaned
This checklist item kind of goes in line with having your HVAC cleaned and maintained but requires its own mention because it is often overlooked. Dryer vents cause over 2,900 fires a year according to the US Fire Administration and can potentially destroy your entire home.
You may not have even known that your dryer vent needed to be cleaned, but trust us, you need to keep your dryer vent free of lint. It is recommended to clean or have your dryer vent cleaned at least once a year.
Replace the Batteries in Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Show of hands: Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night by a screaming smoke alarm or carbon monoxide alarm that has low batteries? I have. First, you panic thinking there’s a fire or poisonous gas, and after your heart slows down enough that you can count the separate beats you realize the batteries are just low.
Luckily it was just a low battery warning, but it never should have happened. Change the battery once a year in all your fire and carbon monoxide alarms and you will be able to sleep peacefully at night for more than one reason.
Inspect Your Roof and Siding Once Year
Buckets full of water aren’t considered “in” home décor so before the leaking starts look at your roof and have it replaced or patched when needed. One of the best places to find clues that you may need a roof overhaul is in your yard.
If you find roof shingles, tiles, nails, or pieces of tin in your yard you may need to have your roof patched or replaced. But look at it this way—Fixing a roof is much cheaper than fixing all the damage caused by a leak.
Once you are confident that your roof is in good shape give your siding a look. Siding not only protects your house from wind, water, and UV light, but also from unwelcomed pests like mice, ants, and spiders. If the paint on your siding is flaking off or siding pieces are sagging, you may need some repair work done or a fresh coat of paint. It doesn’t hurt to have a handyman you trust to look at your house once a year to make sure everything is in tip-top shape.
Now, do you want to read this blog every year to make sure you didn’t miss anything? Well, you should because this blog is gold, but to make it simpler here is a handy list you can print off to make sure you get all the items “checked”.