Routine Home Maintenance Tasks You Need to Do Again (and Again and Again)

a maintenance worker fixes a homeowner's dishwasher as she watches

Home maintenance can feel a bit like the movie Groundhog Day. Over and over again, you need to complete the same tasks to keep your home in good-working order and avoid costly claims.

But which home maintenance projects do you need to do – weekly, monthly, seasonally, bi-annually, and annually? We’ve got you covered with this quick reference guide!

The weekly routine home maintenance checklist

These are the tasks you’ll need to complete approximately 52 times a year.

Cut the grass

a homeowner pushes a mower across their grass
Get your cardio in.

Keep your lawn looking vibrant and your curb appeal dazzling. Of course, you should play your maintenance by sight and temperature. Hold off cutting your lawn in extreme heat as short lawns tend to “burn.” Also, grass typically won’t grow in below 40-degree temperatures, so skip this task during cold weeks.

Vacuum the floors

This helps prevent dirt and dust from collecting and even mold from growing. It will also prevent little critters from wanting to eat what you’ve dropped.

Clean the stove top and vent​

Regularly degrease your hood to keep it sparkling, and clean your stove top to prevent any dirt and grim from collecting. If you find yourself with dried and caked-on food, use a sponge and warm, soapy water to remove it. For hard jobs, scrap away food with a plastic knife or spatula. You can also buy specialty cleaners or try a vinegar/baking soda mix.

Take care of your appliances

a homeowner in gloves cleaning the inside of a refrigerator
Clean where your food is.

Wipe down your refrigerator, oven door, dishwasher, etc. Also, don’t forget to clean out the dishwasher food trap. If your plates smell like “wet dog,” then run a cleaning cycle with white distilled vinegar.

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Clean off your window sills, TV stands, coffee tables, etc. to help reduce mild allergies and illnesses. After all, dust is made up of fungi, bacteria, pollen, dust mites, and even skin cells.

Examine the exterior of your home

It’s a good idea to get some fresh air and visually inspect your property. By catching small damage early, you can ward off expensive repairs or extensive damages to your home from falling or sick trees, missing shingles, and cracked foundation or walkways.

The monthly routine home maintenance checklist

Complete these tasks every 28 to 31 days.

Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors​

a homeowner stands on a ladder and installs a smoke detector
Every home needs working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

You can never be too careful with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Check them once a month to make sure they are in good working order and upgrade to a 10-year battery for extra safety. (Some states even require these.)

Practice your escape plan

Every month, hit the smoke detector button and practice your escape plan with your family. You’ll gain muscle memory in the event of a true home emergency, and your escape plan will help everyone get out safely. (Remember – get out and stay out.)

Do a deep dive into your cabinets​

Inside and out. Wipe down the exteriors and interiors, so dust doesn’t gather on your cutlery, dishes, favorite pot, etc.

Clean your sink drains

water in a sink going down the drain
Clear clogs before they happen.

Avoid the chemical drain cleaners as these can corrode your pipes and give off unhealthy gases. Instead run some hot water and add liquid dish soap. If you’re getting a terrible smell or still seeing buildup, reach for the baking soda and vinegar. If you have a sink disposal, grind up some ice and salt, followed by some lemon peels. Ah, springtime fresh! (Check below for when to clean your tub and dishwasher drains!)

Clean your manual filter in your dishwasher (if you have one)

To clean your filter, you’ll need to remove the filter on the bottom of the unit and handwash it with warm, soapy water. Grab a toothbrush to clear away any food particles.

Add salt to water softener​

a homeowner adding salt to a softener
Make sure your water stays healthy!

Most water softeners need salt added every six to eight weeks, but check the salt level first. If your tank is less than half full, refill until it’s over half. If the salt is wet or the water is drowning your salt, add more until you’ve reached the halfway point.

The seasonal routine home maintenance checklist

These are the tasks you’ll need to complete four times a year or approximately every three months. (But who’s counting?)

Replace or clean your HVAC/furnace filters

a handyman changes an air filter on an HVAC unit
Improve your air quality with routine home maintenance.

Replacing your air filters improves your air quality by removing allergens, dust, mold, and other items from the air. It also prolongs the life of your unit and keeps your heating or cooling costs down by helping your unit run more efficiently. Before changing your filters, check your manufacturer’s instructions. Some air filters need to be replaced every month or even every year, but most need to be changed every three months.

Prepare for major weather events​

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Get ready for weather events with the help of vipHomeLink!

Get ready every season for the most common weather events or emergencies – severe storms and hurricanes, snow, high winds, and extreme heat. Each of these has a separate set of steps to follow, so read up and prepare your home for Mother Nature’s wrath.

vipHomeLink now offers extreme weather alerts with home tips. We’ll let you know when high winds, temperatures, rain, or snow accumulation is on its way, so you can ready your home and avoid disaster. Save time and gain peace of mind with the vipHomeLink app! Download today!

In the event of a major storm, learn how to keep your appliances in good-working order (and out the water!) with these storm safety tips from PSE&G!

Check your emergency kit​

Replenish any items you’ve taken over the last three months and update any items you need, such as medicines, food, money, etc. This way, it’ll be ready when you need it.

Kick over your generator

a generator with snow in the background with a plug inserted
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

You never want to leave your generator idle for too long or it won’t be ready for a blackout. Ensure you have enough gas and complete maintenance as needed – change the oil, inspect the air filter, etc.

Clean the drains of your shower, tubs, and dishwasher​

Do a deep cleaning of your water areas to keep them smelling clean and sparkling like new. Use vinegar and baking soda as needed, and if you need some extra springtime freshness, grab some lemon juice.

Dust your light fixtures

a homeowner using a feather duster on a lamp shape
Beware of dust!

​​​Be safe as you dust your light fixtures, including your ceiling fans, and don’t forget to vacuum your bathroom exhaust fan grill. Change any light bulbs, and choose LED bulbs, which give off less heat and produce more light.

Polish wood furniture

While you may use mild soap to clean off some sticky spots, you’ll want to avoid using water to clean your wood furniture. Instead, use commercial cleaning products as needed and use orange oil and wax-based conditioner to prevent drying and cracking. If you find any scratches, use a paste wax or a touch-up pen to fill. For gouges, use wood filler.

Vacuum refrigerator and freezer coils​

Coils are now clean on the back of a refrigerator
Dirty coils shorten the lifespan of your refrigerator.

If the coils collect dust, they won’t be able to keep the cold temperatures as easily in the refrigerator and freezer. This can lead to spoiled food and a shorter lifespan for your appliance. Find the condenser coils behind the toe-grill at the bottom of your refrigerator or in the back. Make sure to unplug your refrigerator to vacuum this area and use a long brush to gather dust particles.

For any job you don’t feel comfortable completing, make sure to hire a home service professional.

The bi-annual routine home maintenance checklist

Twice a year, these are your routine home maintenance weekend projects.

Clear your gutters and downspouts

Red and yellow leaves gather in a gutter of a new home
Clean your gutters after the seeds fall and after the leaves fall.

Get up on that ladder in late spring (after all the seeds have fallen) and in the late fall (after all the leaves have fallen). By keeping your gutters clear, you’ll help to prevent ice dams and roof damage. You’ll also stop water from running along your foundation and seeping into your basement. If you’re not comfortable on a ladder, call in a roofing professional to handle this crucial task.

HVAC maintenance/service​

You’ll want to make sure your heating and cooling units are ready for the extreme heat of summer and the extreme cold of winter. Here’s a quick rundown of the HVAC maintenance you can complete, though you’ll want to call in a professional for the bi-annual service and inspection. If you live in the south, schedule your unit’s inspection before the triple digit temps arrive.

Switch your ceiling fan direction​

a homeowner pulls the cord to start a ceiling fan
Flip the switch on your ceiling fan.

​Ceiling fans help to bring down the hot air during the winter and to circulate cool air in the summer. With your fan off, flip the switch on the body of your unit, so your ceiling fan rotates counterclockwise in the summer and clockwise in the winter.

The annual routine home maintenance checklist ​

Plumbing inspection​

While some of these tasks can be DIY, we recommend having a licensed plumber inspect all your plumbing system, including your hot water heater, sump pump, braided metal pipes, toilets, faucets, and more. Your plumber can help you identify any leaks as well as any large repairs you may need to make, which can prevent even more costly issues.

Electrical inspection

An electrician works on wires near a wall
Be safe!

Have a licensed electrician run through your electrical system – from your outlets to your breaker box to your appliances. A home service pro can make sure your home is “up to code” and identify any major problems that may be fire hazards, such as knob and tube wiring and oversized fuses.

Chimney inspection​

A chimney fire can burn upwards of 2,000 degrees and consume your whole home. Avoid one with an annual inspection. The inspector will check for any damage, creosote buildup, soot, and any other dangerous materials and conditions that can cause issues. If the inspector notices dangerous amounts of creosote and soot, you may need to hire a professional chimney sweep to clear it.

Garage inspection​

a garage repair person works on the mechanism
Get your garage doors inspected at least once a year.

We absolutely do not recommend you inspect your garage door by yourself as any issues can be dangerous. Call a home service professional to inspect the parts annually, including but not limited to – hinges, spring, rail assembly, oil, sensor stability and alignment, lose hardware, cables, drums, and rollers.

Separate maintenance tasks you must complete annually

In addition to the inspections, here are the routine home maintenance challenges you need to complete every 365 days (or 366 days in a leap year).

Drain your water heater

a plumber kneels down to adjust the temperature on a hot water heater
Give your hot water heater some attention.

Sediments and minerals gather at the bottom of your water tank, so flushing your hot water heater at least once a year will help to keep it running efficiently and prolong its lifespan.

Vacuum your dryer vent​

More than 2,900 home fires each year stem from dirty or clogged dryer vents, yet they can be avoided by an annual vacuum. It’s a quick and easy DIY routine home maintenance project that can also help to eliminate any mold or mildew problems in your system. If you feel uncomfortable, a handyman or dryer vent specialist can take care of this task.

Touch up the exterior

a homeowner and his young son using rollers to paint the exterior of a home
Refresh your home’s exterior.

Get your home’s exterior in order. Touch up any exterior siding and replace any panels that warped throughout the year. Rent a power washer and give your home a quick shower. If you need to paint it – as it’s been a number of years – we suggest you do it in the fall, as that’s the best time for a smooth coat and quick drying.

Fix the “ways”

Fill your cracks in your driveways, walkways, and patios, as well as any railings that may not be up to par. This will not only keep you and your family members safe but also help to prevent liability claims. You don’t want someone tripping on your property and getting injured. Hire a professional for big projects, like repaving your driveway.

Inspect the foundation

a professional in an orange hard hat and yellow gloves smoothing a home's foundation
Fix your foundation.

Do a quick visible inspection of your foundation to decide if you need to call a professional. Any large cracks in your walls (interior or exterior), non-functioning doors, or if there is a large space between the ground and the home – these can signal a major problem you’ll need to get fixed.

Check your sprinkler system

Search for any leaks in your pipes, head, connection points, or valves. A well-maintained sprinkler system can last up to 20 years, so you’ll want to take good care of yours. Plus, a broken pipe or valve can lead to water waste and a larger-than-expected water bill.

Winterize your pipes​

copper piping frozen with icicles dripping
Don’t let this happen to your home.

Frozen or burst pipes is the second most common insurance claim and can cost thousands of dollars in damages. You can also find yourself displaced from your home for a long period of time, so you’ll want to get your home ready for the winter. Insulate pipes that are near exterior walls and you may even need to install heat tape. Keep checking them as temperatures drop to make sure water runs smoothly.

Check out these additional prevention tips to stop your pipes from freezing.

Apply or replace weather stripping

​Check for drafts to prevent the loss of cold air in the summer and the loss of heat in the winter. Close windows and doors on a dollar bill, and if you can pull it through without drag, you’ll need to add or replace your weather stripping.

Deep clean your carpets​

a new carpet in a recently renovated room
Steam clean your carpets.

Even if you keep your carpets relatively clean, dust and other allergens can get stuck. The best way to kill germs in your carpet is to steam clean them at least once a year. If you’re DIY cleaning your carpets, try a mixture of water and white vinegar with the help of a microfiber towel to dab.

Service your major appliances​

Washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, oven, and refrigerator – call in the professionals to service them. A quick tune-up yearly can help to extend the life expectancy of these appliances. Consider a home warranty if you haven’t already.

Clean and seal tile grout

Dirty, discolored, and crumbling grout is not a good first bathroom impression. To keep your grout looking new, scrub and re-seal annually, though you might need to re-seal every six months for those high-traffic areas.

Check your exterior doors​

a set of keys hang from a front door
Is your front door secure?

Your first line of defense is your exterior doors, so you want to make sure they’re steady and can handle any attacks that come its way. Plus, they’re imperative to that ever-important curb appeal, so it’s a good idea to clean and touch up them as needed.

Update your home inventory and homeowners insurance policy

Give your homeowners insurance agent or carrier a call once a year to run through all the changes to your home. These can include new appliances, new furniture or jewelry, or updates and renovations you’ve made. Your agent will be able to adjust your policy and make sure you have the coverage you need. Don’t forget to add any new items to your home inventory!

Stay on top of home maintenance

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