The Home Maintenance Plan You Never Knew You Needed (But You Totally Do)

a plumber using a wrench on a J-pipe

Buying a home is both a financial and time investment. There’s a litany of home repairs and maintenance you need to complete to keep your home functioning and to avoid costly claims, like fires and floods. Since it’s difficult to know what to do and when to do it around the home, we put together this quick and easy home maintenance plan!

Of course, if you download the vipHomeLink app now from Google Play and the App Store, you’ll get personalized reminders for these tasks sent right to your phone!

Servicing the appliances in your basement or utility closet

Time to get your home into shape with these home maintenance tips!

Appliance maintenance

Head down to your basement or your utility closet to find your sump pumps! Test them to make sure they work, so you’re not bailing water during the next big rainstorm.

a handyman cleans out a dryer vent
Don’t forget about your dryer vent.

Dryer vents also need to be cleaned at least once a year for safety and energy efficiency. All the lint buildup in the vent can lead to a home fire, and if the damper is broken, it can allow not-so-welcome guests into your home.

Flush your hot water heater annually to prevent sediment buildup on the bottom the tank, which can burn out your heater, shorten the life of the unit, and create unsafe water conditions. Not sure how to do this? Our home app’s vipTIPs have a step-by-step guide to help you!

Heating tips

While you need to replace or change your HVAC system’s air filters as per manufacturer’s instructions – generally once every three months – you also need to get your unit serviced twice a year.

Rule of thumb is once in spring – before summer’s heat – and once in fall – before the winter’s cold temperatures. Get more HVAC service tips in The Spring HVAC Maintenance Checklist You Must Check Off.

Even if you live in warmer temperatures, have your system inspected or tuned up. You don’t want to lose your air conditioner in triple-digit heat. Get more home tips in How to Beat Extreme Heat – Home Edition.

a fireplace specialist inspecting a fire place with the help of a tiny camera
Prevent home fires by cleaning your chimney.

Don’t leave out your chimney. Fireplaces, woodburning stoves, etc. need to be inspected for leaks, cracks, and other issues. Also, get your chimney cleaned once a year, or all the buildup of creosote can lead to a home fire. (Just ask Rachel Ray.)

Servicing the main living area of the home

Kitchen tips

An important part of any home maintenance plan, check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly to ensure they’re working! You’ll never know when there will be an emergency, and working smoke detectors can save your life.

Clean your range’s vent hood filters monthly. Depending upon the amount of cooking you do, you may need to do this less or more frequently. Don’t forget to wipe down the vent weekly!

Dust accumulates everywhere, including your refrigerator coils! Use a wire brush and a vacuum cleaner to get this area clean. This should be done twice a year, maybe more so depending upon how many pets you have.

a kitchen sink faucet dripping in the daylight
Your faucets need a thorough cleaning.

Your water heater isn’t the only place where hard water can damage your home. Clean your faucets/showerheads at least once a season to make sure you’re getting all the water pressure you need.

Electrical safety

While an annual electrical inspection isn’t required, get an electrical check-up for your home when you notice a warning sign.

Common signs include:

  • Flickering lights (when there isn’t lightning).
  • Humming noises.
  • Smoke scents.
  • Hot switches.
  • Tripping circuit breakers linked to a certain socket or appliance
Have an inspection after completing a renovation project that included electrical work, though this is usually mandated by local governments. Learn more about home electrical projects in DIY Home Electrical Projects You Can Tackle (and When to Call in the Home Pros).

Window maintenance

Weather stripping helps to keep the cold out and the heat in – or vice versa, depending upon the season. Complete the “dollar test” to see if it’s time to replace your weather stripping. (If you can shut a dollar in a window or door and pull it free without drag, replace your weather stripping pronto.)

Clean your windows and screens at least twice a year. You should also check them regularly for any rips or tears, which can indicate a pest may have gotten into your home. Repairing this with a kit from your local hardware store is super easy. If you notice other issues, talk to a window professional.

With many of these tasks, you may want to purchase a home maintenance service plan or a home warranty! Learn more about home warranties and how they can help complete your home maintenance plan in The Ins and Outs of Home Warranties & Why You Need One.

Armadillo - Effortless Home Warranty

Take care of your home’s exterior

Head to the great outdoors and take a tour of your property. See if you have any water accumulation where it shouldn’t be, which can be an indication of a broken sprinkler line or even an issue with your septic tank. (Your nose can help you figure out which one it is.)

Repair exterior issues

Check for any cracks or breaks in your driveway or walkways, which need to be repaired. Before you host your first barbeque of the season, check that all the banisters, railings, and supports on your deck to make sure they were damaged or weakened by winter’s elements.

While you checked the inside of your chimney earlier, now it’s time to check the outside for any missing bricks or issues with the flashing. Also, check your roof for any missing shingles or other obvious issues.

a homeowner in orange gloves cleaning out the gutters
Your gutters are more important than you think!

Clear your gutters for seasonal accumulations at least twice a year – after the seeds fall and after the leaves fall. If you notice excess accumulation, then you might need to get up on that ladder – or call a professional – more often.

For safety and security purposes, replace any burned-out bulbs to your outdoor fixtures. If you notice your light bulb unscrewed, be on the lookout. That can be a sign that someone is “casing” your home. Get additional home security tips in ‘Tis the Season to Secure Your Home from Burglars and Porch Pirates.

When spring comes around, test your outside faucets and reconnect any garden hoses you put away for the winter. When fall returns, shut off your water to your outside faucets and bring that garden hose in again. If you do leave the water on or hose attached, any water in the pipes can create ice, expand, and cause expensive water damage.

Don’t forget to check your outdoor structures, such as garages and sheds. Make sure they are secure and the doors and windows work as they should. Your garage door needs to be serviced at least once a year but leave that to a professional.

Don’t forget about curb appeal!

a wagon filled with soil stands behind hands in a garden by a home
Keep your exterior looking spiffy!

That ever-important curb appeal is a year-round project. Consider hiring a professional to take care of it for you. Just make sure to iron out the details of the contract, including:

  • Is it a seasonal contract?
  • How many weeks is the contract?
  • What do you want done – just cutting the grass or pruning/shearing, fertilizing, seeding, and even pest control?
  • Does the service fee include cleanup?

Stay on top of your home maintenance plan

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