December 27, 2019

Annual Home Maintenance Checklist

With the New Year quickly approaching you may have made some resolutions like so many others do. Perhaps one is to be more organized. One stressor that many homeowners have is staying on top of all the maintenance and check-ups that need to happen to keep your house in its best shape. We are here to help! While no list can encompass ALL things that you need to do to keep your home in tip-top shape, we put together an annual home maintenance checklist that will hopefully take some of the stress out of 2020 for you!

Before we begin our list, let’s talk about budgeting. Experts recommend setting aside between 1-4% of your home’s purchase price to dedicate to home repairs and maintenance. If your home is newer (built less than 5 years ago) then you can lean more towards the 1%. Much of your home may still be under warranty. If you own an older home (25 years or more) then saving the 4% is more sensible. Seeing this annual home maintenance list all in one place may help you to know what to save for and how much to save each month so you are not blindsided by costs.

HVAC – At least once a year have your heating and air conditioning unit inspected by a professional.  They can stop minor issues from turning into major ones and increase the life of your system. Filters, although usually inexpensive, need to be changed monthly also.

Pest – An annual termite inspection is recommended and essential if you have a termite bond with your home. Putting this off gives time for termites to do major damage costing you much more in the long run. Be sure to get this inspection on the calendar! As you walk your property outside look for any insect activity or rotting wood. Keep an eye on any walls indoors for any dimpling of the sheetrock but pay particular attention to the outer walls. This could be signs of termites.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors – All the detectors in your home should be tested yearly and it is recommended that you change batteries every six months. It would be great to start connecting the fall and springtime changes with a reminder to change the batteries. For even more info on smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, check out our previous blog Fall Safety and Home tips.

Fire Place Inspection – The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends an annual inspection of your fireplace whether you use it or not. This inspection makes sure there are no gas or carbon monoxide leaks, maintains the integrity of your fireplace system, and clears out any debris where animals could have nested in your chimney. For more information and to find a local chimney sweep visit their site

Water Heater – If you have a traditional tank hot water heater it is recommended that they be drained annually to remove any mineral deposits. While this is something you can do yourself, many prefer to hire a professional. Tank water heaters have a life expectancy of around 8-12 years with the 10 year mark being the highest time of replacement. A leaking tank can cause major damage to your home. Local hardware stores carry a selection of water alarms that will alert you if moisture is detected so you can stop the problem before the major damage occurs.

Plumbing/Septic Tank – Always keep an eye out for any leaks or drips around faucets, showers, baths or toilets. These need to be addressed as even the smallest drip on the outside can cause major damage to floors and walls. If you have a septic tank, a yearly inspection is recommended and a complete drainage every 3-5 years. Keep the access area to the tank free clear and free of debris also.

Basements/Crawl Spaces – These areas should be inspected often for small cracks, moisture or even just a musty odor. Mold and mildew can take over quickly. Any changes in your basement foundation, walls or floor need to be properly inspected to rule out any water issues. If you have a sump pump, be sure to check it is on and test it every few months. Test it out with a cup of water to make sure it is working properly especially before the spring thaw and the summer rains hit.

Roof/Gutters – Be sure to keep gutters clear of fallen leaves and other debris. These can block the flow of water causing damage. While you are cleaning them be sure to look over your roof for any rotting shingles or other signs of damage. Roof shingles have an average lifespan of 12-20 years (more for different shingle materials) and keeping an eye on the shape of your roof yearly will help it last as long as possible.

This annual home maintenance checklist does not cover everything you need to do for your home but it is a great start. Your home is your biggest investment and maintaining it is essential. When you decide to upgrade to a bigger home or perhaps purchase your very first home, we hope you will consider Method Mortgage for all your financing needs!