- Things to do once a year
- Take a look at the ductwork connections
- Clean the dryer vent duct
- You need to drain the hot water heater
- Clean the gutters
- Check the foundation of your house
- Is there any water damage?
- Take a look at the pipes and sewage outflow
- Are there any gaps in your windows?
- Don’t forget about the porches, decking and the steps
- Check the roof as well
- Clean out the garage
- Watch out for the trees and landscaping too
- Clean the pantry
- What about your personal items and medications?
- Go through your home inventory
- Get over your homeowner’s insurance policy once again
- What do you need to do once a month?
Things to do once a year
Any smart homeowner knows that you should keep your house in tip top shape, no matter the season you’re in. Some things you need to do every now and then, whereas others only need to be done once a year.
Here are the main things to do around your house once a year. Check our list as you may have skipped something.
Take a look at the ductwork connections
Ducts in your attic or other crawl space around the house may end up sagging, which leads to loosen connection. Soon enough you’re going to have to spend the extra buck on some utility services as the air you’re paying is actually escaping from the loose ductwork going anywhere in the house but the in the bedroom (where you need it the most).
Clean the dryer vent duct
The back of the dryer is actually connected to a vent that goes outside. Lint builds up on the duct in time so not only that the dryer is having difficulties running, but it also raises your energy spending. It also poses a high risk for fire as backed up lint catches on fire really easy. Since the risk of fire can occur from multiple sources in the house, it may be a good idea to take a fire safety training crash course.
You need to drain the hot water heater
It’s only a matter of time until sediment builds up at the bottom of the tank, leading to corrosion. When you’re draining it, you’re going to get rid of the sediment too. The heater is going to run more efficiently and you’re expanding its life span too.
Clean the gutters
Pine needles and fallen leaves are going to rot and build up, clogging the downspouts and damaging the gutter, sooner or later.
Gutters are essential for the heavy rain flow and they’re going to collect debris as well throughout the year. This may also block the flow, causing overflowing. You should get in touch with a professional if your gutters are high and you need a special ladder.
Check the foundation of your house
One of the most expensive spending that you can have on your house is to repair a failing foundation. You need to constantly check the warning signs. Any cracks or gaps in your hardwood floors, cracks at the window frames or at the corners of door jambs are alarming signs and you should start the repairs asap.
Is there any water damage?
Water damage may cause serious problems when left untreated. Take a good look at your plumbing fixtures, evidence marks around the sinks or see if there’s any mold under the windows. Bubbling paint, caulking and leaking around sinks are also signs that you shouldn’t overlook.
Take a look at the pipes and sewage outflow
Not everyone owns a septic tank, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clean the pipes. When sewage pipes get too full, they’re going to burst and damage your yard. Even if the pipe may be a town or a city pipe, the city/town isn’t going to pay for the possible damage.
It’s great if you manage to identify the blockage before it turns into an explosion. The city/town is going to help you solve the whole problem. Get in touch with your local town/city hall sewage department and seek help.
Are there any gaps in your windows?
Damp and low temperatures are going to make the window frames swell. They’re going to get back to their original size, but this is going to lead to gaps. Not only your house is going to get all drafty, but you’re also going to spend a lot more on energy as you’re not able to warm up your home anymore.
You don’t want to wait for too long as you may have to replace the frames entirely, which doesn’t come cheap.
There are plenty of materials out there that can help you fill in the gaps. Mortar, decorators caulk, frame sealant are all great choices to keep in mind. However, you want to have the same material that you used in the first place.
Let’s not forget that a loose window is just the perfect invite for thefts.
Don’t forget about the porches, decking and the steps
This isn’t a step to forget about. You need to look for any structural damage and rot. Check the exterior steps so that the overall structure of the concrete/stones isn’t damaged in any way. You should repair any crumbling asap.
Check the roof as well
During severe weather, the roof presents the highest risk for damage and you want it to be in good shape at all time.
The roof may lose its longevity pretty fast as it can erode easy, causing stains on your wall, leaks and some flood damage. Go in your attic and look for signs of water damage. Any water stains on the walls or ceiling mean that you shouldn’t wait any longer on repairing your roof.
Any missing shingles or misplaced tiles are also signs that should worry you. In case you notice dimples on the surface of your roof, chances are your roof is damaged by hailstones. You need to replace the damaged/missing tiles as you don’t want to have any leaks getting inside your house.
Clean out the garage
Truth be told, we put a lot more than only our car in the garage. And we’re not only talking about the backup fridge or the extra sports, but we also think about the bugs and rodents too. You need to clean your garage once a year, taking out everything and really getting rid of things you don’t need or use anymore. Not only you’re going to help your garage last longer, but you’re also going to organize your garage. Nobody ever complained about having his/her garage too organized.
Watch out for the trees and landscaping too
Cold winters are going to weaken the trees, making them break at some point. Take a look of the trees around your home and identify any changes. If they’re leaning in a certain direction, you should check out the roots. Cracks in the surrounding earth are no good sign either- it means that the root has been dislodged already. When the trees hang over the house, it’s better to check for the loose/broken branches as they’re going to damage your house in case of fall.
When the situation gets serious, you should talk to a pro for doing all the trimming as you don’t want to take any risks.
Clean the pantry
This is something that you could do more than once a year. It’s not unusual to find expired food in your cabinets. As a matter of fact, it’s quite common for food not to make it on your plate anymore once it gets in the pantry. Keeping your pantry clutter-free is also important and you shouldn’t keep any expired food either.
Pull out each item and wipe down the cabinets as well.
What about your personal items and medications?
Don’t forget about the essentials you keep in your bathroom cabinets and drawers. You should get rid of expired hair and beauty products and remember that even makeup goes bad. In addition, it may also get infected so don’t keep nor use anything expired. Do the same for your medications.
Go through your home inventory
You should have a list of things you have in your home. We tend to get plenty of things in the house and you should have insurance policy for all the valuable items and the structure itself.
Get over your homeowner’s insurance policy once again
It’s not common for people to think of their insurance when they’re taking care of their house. It’s important to make sure that your policy is going to cover all sorts of weather hazards like the wind or hail. Take a look at your deductibles as you need an estimated price for replacing your roof, in case it was damaged in a storm. It may be a good idea to consult an online homeowners insurance guide in order to see all the possible options and to save on the cost of insurance.
What do you need to do once a month?
It’s better to be safe than sorry and you should take care of some things around your house once a month. You don’t want to postpone these things as you may have to pay a lot more when things aggravate.
- Check the automatic garage door safety shutoff
You should see if the features of the automatic-opening garage door are working just fine. Don’t forget about the safety beam that has to stop the door from closing when it identifies something in the door’s path.
- Lubricate the garage doors
Typically, the doors are a series of panels connected with hinges. They come with plastic/metal rollers on each side. You should use the right lubricant (for metal or plastic) so that the doors run smooth and nicely for a long time.
- Check the HVAC filters. Take a look at the shrubs around AC units as well!
You need to replace the air filter on your AC at least 4 times a year. You should also take a look at them once a month. You want to have the air healthy in your house and the system should run effectively. Clogs of debris or dust aren’t good for the filters or your health either.
It’s common for shrubs to grow around your AC unit, blocking the free air flow. The unit is going to have problems working, leading to damage. Trim the shrubs and remove the leaves too.
- Remove snow from oil fill pipe, outside vents and meters
You never want to have blocked outside vents as carbon monoxide builds up really fast. Take a look at the water heater vents, dryer and furnace once a month, especially after a heavy snow. The gas and electric meters should also be easy to access.
- Organize the refrigerator
It’s easy for the food to pile up in the fridge, whether you have a big family or not. Take out all the containers and perishable items, putting aside what you can still eat. Throw away what you’re not going to be able to use. Make an effort and wipe the shelves as well.
You also need to clean the grille on the top/bottom of your refrigerator. The dirt and dust building up in there may burn out your refrigerator’s cooling system.
- Evaluate your finances
Even if you’re not planning to go on a special exotic holiday, you should see where your money is going. You need to put something aside for the emergencies. Overspending is very easy to do and keeping a bird’s eye on your budget is going to help you manage your spending a lot better.
- Follow a monthly maintenance calendar
As long as you’re following a preventive maintenance calendar, you should be able to have a better control over energy costs, keep your home safe and to reduce the risk for sudden replacement costs.
- Check the tub drains and the sinks
When your tubs or sinks don’t drain as fast as before, some buildup may cause a blockage. You should remove anything that is blocking the pipe manually. Use a pipe cleaner to get the debris throughout the plughole. You should also pour a cup of baking soda down the drain and add some hot water afterwards. This should cleanse it really well.
- Clean the garbage disposal
You should clean out the garbage disposal with some white vinegar and baking soda. Mix a cup of white vinegar and one cup of baking soda. Pour the mixture down the sink and wait a couple of minutes. Continue with adding some hot water down. Use some ice cubes to fill the drain. You can also add some salt for removing debris more efficiently. Add some lemon halves to your disposal and let the water and the garbage disposal run.
- Make room on your cell phone camera storage
It’s useless to have a camera phone and not enough memory whenever in need. You should empty your phone pictures (do it with your digital camera too) and download them on your laptop/computer. Don’t forget to organize them into folders so the whole cleaning operation has meaning.