Homekeeping 101

Preventative home maintenance is the surest way to keep your bills down and your family safe.  Here’s our handy checklist.

homekeeping 101

Visions of a white picket fence, manicured lawn, and sprawling azure pool seem to fizzle in a cloud of dust—and bills—when home repairs start to be a problem. The best strategy? Prevent the problems. Although most home maintenance tasks are simple, it’s easy to forget what to do and when to do it. We’ve simplified the process with this monthly home maintenance calendar. Every home is different, so use it according to your home’s needs.  n  by C.C. Corriveau

january
• Check, lubricate, and repair doorknobs
• Perform seasonal pest control
• Clean range hood grease filter
• Clean drains

february
•  Inspect sump pump
•  Check exhaust pipe for leakage
•  Check attic for leaks and condensation;
    make sure vents are not obstructed
•  Check main electrical panel for rust or
    water marks
•  Clean faucet aerator
•  Clean dishwasher strainer, spray arm,
    and air gap
•  Check lawn mower

march
•  Clean gutters
•  Un-stick sticky
    windows and doors
•  Service A/C system
•  Trip main on electrical
    panel
•  Inspect all electrical cords
•  Inspect walls for cracks
•  Inspect and repair roof
•  Seed and fertilize lawn, tend to
    compost
•  Prepare flower beds, plant garden
•  Caulk and weather-strip doors
•  Check wall and ceiling surface cracks
•  Inspect exterior paint
•  Sharpen lawn mower blades

april
•  Clean ice makers
•  Repair cracks in concrete patios
   and driveways
•  Increase pool maintenance
•  Paint over water damage
•  Paint and repair rusty fixtures
•  Check ground fault interrupters
•  Turn off water to furnace humidifier
   and replace filter
•  Clean and paint garden furniture
   and accessories
•  Extend downspouts away from house
   onto splash blocks

•  Check grading for proper slope
   away from foundation wall
•  Inspect foundation for water
   damage
•  Inspect or treat exterior wood
    for damage
•  Perform seasonal pest control

may
•  Clean and seal decks
•  Check operation of attic fans and roof-
   mounted turbine vents
•  Burglarproof your home
•  Inspect basement for moisture and
   rotten wood
•  Check attic for water damage
•  Inspect exterior paint for cracking
•  Inspect exterior caulking
•  Clean and install screens
•  Inspect and clean siding
•  Cut back limbs overhanging the house
•  Clean faucet aerator
•  Clean dishwasher
•  Clean drains
•  Clean and repair (or replace)
   outdoor lighting fixtures

june
•  Wash exterior of the house
•  Inspect exposed plumbing areas
   for dampness
•  Fix loose or cracked caulking
•  Inspect appliance hoses and ventilation
•  Clean and lubricate sliding glass door
   and window tracks
•  Check all faucets, hose bibs, and
   supply valves for leakage
•  Wash hood range fan blades

july
•  Sweep chimney
•  Clean lint from gas clothes dryer
•  Perform seasonal pest control
•  Oil garage doors
•  Lubricate fan and motor bearings
•  Check fan belt tension
•  Inspect screens
•  Clean drains

august
•  Caulk exterior joints around windows
   and doors
•  Stock up on firewood
•  Drain and replace water in
   water heater
•  Test pressure valve on water heater
•  Inspect indoor and outdoor wiring
•  Check for loose or missing glazing
   putty
•  Clean hood range grease filter
•  Clean faucet aerator
•  Clean dishwasher

september
•  Clean gutters
•  Winterize roof
•  Check outdoor lighting
•  Prepare with products to de-ice your
   driveway
•  Clean or replace door entry lights
•  Clean entry coat closet
•  Service heating system
•  Check exterior caulking
•  Caulk and weather-strip doors
•  Check wall and ceiling surface cracks
•  Examine and repair decks
•  Clean out garage

october
•  Check doorbell, replace if necessary
•  Smooth out baseboards
•  Spruce up guest rooms and guest
   bathrooms
•  Clean tiles and grout
•  Check for leaks in plumbing
•  Check roof for damage
•  Lubricate hinges, locks, and moving
   door hardware
•  Clean upholstery, Venetian blinds, and
   draperies
•  Clean and repair wallpaper, antiques,
   and artwork
•  Repair wood scratches
•  Re-glaze windows
•  Check grading for proper slope away
   from foundation wall
•  Perform seasonal pest control
•  Trim, cover, or bring in outdoor plants
   as needed

november
•  Check and repair door sweeps
•  Clean and organize holiday decorations
•  Professionally clean curtains and
   drapes
•  Inspect and touch-up interior paint
•  Inspect and clean siding and repair if
   necessary; check joints between wood
   and masonry
•  Flush out drain-waste and vent system
•  Check thermostat’s accuracy
•  Cut back limbs overhanging house
•  Clean faucet aerator
•  Clean dishwasher
•  Clean drains

december
•  Inspect attic
•  Inspect exposed plumbing areas for
   dampness
•  Check ceiling areas beneath bathrooms
   for leakage
•  Wash range hood fan blades and
   housing

 

even more helpful tips

Seasonal Tasks
•  Replace filters in heating and A/C system
•  Check batteries on smoke detectors and
   carbon monoxide detectors
•  Check stairs and handrails for safety
•  Replace damaged or insulation-worn
   appliance cords
• Test ground fault circuits
•  Check bathtub and shower caulking and
   toilet seats
•  Check wood-burning appliances and flues if
   heating with wood
•  Add activator agent to septic systems
•  Inspect faucets for leaks
•  Inspect appliances
•  Clean/vacuum grill and inside compressor
   of central A/C
•  Check fire extinguishers
•  Flush sink and tub drains
•  Check garbage disposal’s safety valve and
   steam pressure gauge
•  Check attic insulation and ventilation

One-Time Tasks
•  Remove any wood/soil contact to prevent rot
    and insect damage
•  Have all chimneys inspected and serviced
    before operating any of these appliances
•  Install smoke detectors
•  Make any electrical improvements
    recommended in your home inspection
    report
•  Change the locks on all doors
•  Remove or correct trip hazards such as
    broken or uneven walks, patios, and
    driveways. Loose or torn carpet or flooring
    should also be repaired promptly
•  Correct unsafe stairways and landings (Treads
    uneven, too narrow, sloped, loose; risers
    irregular or too high; landings missing, poorly
    lit or too small; railings missing, loose, too
    low, etc.)
•  Locate and mark the shut-offs for the heating,
    electrical, and plumbing systems
•  If there is a septic system, have the tank
    inspected and pumped, if necessary. If the
    house is on a private water supply (well), set
    up a regular testing procedure for checking
    water quality

Do-It-Yourself Resources
Web sites
www.insidespaces.com 
www.hometime.com
www.doityourself.com
www.diynet.com

Books
Home Maintenance for Dummies by James and Morris Carey

The Black & Decker Complete Photo Guide to Home Repair from Creative Publishing International

Home Improvement 1-2-3: Expert Advice from the Home Depot by Benjamin W. Allen

The New Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual from Reader’s Digest

Home & Garden Television’s Complete Fix-It from Time Life Books

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