A home is the most expensive purchase most people will ever make. Protect your investment by performing routine maintenance to keep your home in tip-top shape. Scheduling these tasks can help you fix problems before they start and identify minor repairs before they become major (and expensive) projects. Use this guide to help schedule your home's maintenance by season (along with a handful of monthly tasks). If any of the jobs go beyond your skill level or lead to more involved repairs, hire a professional handyman to help.

Every month:

  • Test smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, and all ground-fault circuit interrupters.
  • Clean or replace furnace or air-conditioning air filters (when in use), ventilation filters, humidifier filters, and range hood filters.
  • Inspect electrical cords for wear.
  • Vacuum heat registers and heat vents.
  • Check that indoor and outdoor air vents are not blocked.
  • Flush out hot water from the water heater to remove accumulated sediment.
  • Clean the garbage disposal by grinding ice cubes, then flushing with hot water and baking soda.

Every spring:

  • Remove debris from gutters, window wells, and downspouts.
  • Inspect roof, siding, trim, foundation, and chimney for damage.
  • Wash windows, window screens, and door screens.
  • Repair or replace caulking and weather stripping around windows, doors, and mechanicals.
  • Remove insulation from outdoor faucets and check sprinkler heads.
  • Test sump pump by dumping a bucket of water into the basin to activate the pump.
  • Have air-conditioning system serviced.
  • Drain or flush water heater.
  • Fertilize your lawn.

Every summer:

  • Oil garage-door opener and chain, garage door, and all door hinges.
  • Remove lint from inside and outside washer hoses and dryer vents.
  • Clean kitchen exhaust fan filter.
  • Clean refrigerator and freezer coils and empty and clean drip trays.
  • Check dishwasher for leaks.
  • Check around kitchen and bathroom cabinets and around toilets for leaks.
  • Replace interior and exterior faucet and showerhead washers if needed.
  • Seal tile grout.
  • Prune trees and shrubs.

Every fall:

  • Remove debris from gutters, window wells, and downspouts.
  • check in-ground sprinkler systems.
  • Have HVAC system serviced.
  • Check water heater for leaks.
  • prune trees and shrubs

Every winter:

  • Inspect the roof, gutters, and downspouts for damage after storms.
  • Vacuum bathroom exhaust fan grill.
  • Vacuum refrigerator and freezer coils and empty and clean drip trays.
  • Clean drains in sinks, tubs, showers, and dishwashers.