Owning a home means keeping up on all types of maintenance, inside and out. And while the growing grass will remind you to mow the lawn, other tasks are easy to forget about—such as changing your furnace’s air filter or testing your smoke detectors. It’s important not to overlook these items and to plan for the expenses that come with them. Use this checklist to stay ahead of home repairs and upkeep costs, and to avoid unnecessary expenses that can arise from overlooked maintenance.
We’d all love to hibernate when the snow starts falling, but there are chores to keep in mind when the winter season blows in. Cooler temps call for special precautions.
- Cover your air conditioner with a tarp to keep cold air from drafting in. Not only will this protect the unit, but it can also save you money on heating bills.
- Close foundation and crawl space vents to avoid drafts and lower the risk of freezing pipes. Locate these vents before winter arrives.
- Check gutters after storms for ice dams. In warmer climates, clear them to avoid basement flooding. Always practice ladder safety!
- Test, replace or buy UL-listed carbon monoxide detectors. Between the furnace, stove and fireplace, carbon monoxide threats are high in the winter. Detection is life-saving.
- Vacuum bathroom exhaust fans, refrigerator grill and freezer coils. You’ll improve efficiency and extend the life of these everyday installations.
- Save your 1098 form, which details the amount of interest and mortgage-related expenses you paid during the previous tax year. It may be included with the January mortgage statement from your lender, or may be available through your lender’s website. Need more tax filing tips? Visit our Tax Center.
Spring is a great time for homeowners to assess any damage from winter and tackle outdoor maintenance. There are plenty of springtime chores to keep you busy, both inside and outside.
- Schedule an HVAC checkup to prepare for the summer months. A simple tune-up could save you money by improving efficiency. Replace your air conditioning filters, too.
- Inspect the exterior of your home. Check the roof for winter damage and look for cracks in the driveway or sidewalks, and damage to exterior siding, brick or trim.
- Clean gutters again to make sure there’s no debris blocking the flow of spring rainwater. Make sure downspouts deposit water at least 6 feet away from your home.
- Clean window and door screens and power-wash exterior windows and siding. Check to make sure all window equipment works as expected.
- Have chimney inspected and, if necessary, cleaned. This is less expensive in spring than in fall, when other homeowners are gearing up for winter warmth.
- Fertilize and aerate the lawn. If you have a smaller lawn, you can do this yourself with a trip to the hardware store. For larger lawns, consider working with a local service.
- Clean out window wells and make sure they’re free of debris. If your wells are filled with stone, consider topping them off to improve drainage.
- Need cash to pay for home repairs or improvements? Consider your options for home improvement financing to help you get started on all those renovations you’ve been dreaming about all winter long!
Prep your home for warmer temps and outdoor living! This is the season of outdoor upkeep and maintenance services that will last you through the end of the year (and beyond).
- Inspect porches and decks, and make repairs. Tighten loose screws, pound in protruding nails, sand rough areas and apply a coat of paint or sealant.
- Check door and window seals and make necessary repairs to keep cool air in and bugs out. Don’t forget to repair those screens.
- Open exterior crawl space vents to avoid the buildup of excess moisture. It’s also a good idea to do an inspection for any signs of pests or moisture buildups.
- Trim grass and weeds around your HVAC system to keep it working efficiently. Make this part of your regular lawn upkeep if possible.
- Lubricate the garage door opener chain, springs and door hinges. If your door is older, call a service professional. Remember to disconnect the door power before servicing!
Put summer to rest and prepare for winter with fall upkeep chores. Cleaning, storing and winterizing are the hallmarks of this season, and they’ll make your life easier come next year.
- Wash and store gardening tools, containers and decorative items. Take this opportunity to clean and arrange your shed or garage, as well.
- Clean and cover your outdoor grill if you don’t plan to use it during the winter. Storing it is also an option. You can leave propane attached.
- Clear gutters of fall foliage to avoid ice dams during the winter months. Practice ladder safety at all times.
- Inspect and maintain trees on your property to prevent fallen limbs. Clip off dead branches where you can, and call a tree service to tame larger trees.
- Drain and winterize exterior plumbing, including garden hoses and sprinkler systems. Shut off the water inside and open the hose bib to drain any standing water.
- Test and replace smoke detector units and batteries. As a rule of thumb, you should have at least 1 detector per level of your home, between 2 points of exit.
- Cut the power to your central air conditioning unit air compressor to avoid damage if gets accidentally turned on.
- Check the exterior grade near the foundation of your home and fill in gaps and depressions that may trap water, causing moisture issues and foundation damage.
- Reassess your mortgage. If interest rates have dropped or your credit score has improved, it might be time to consider refinancing your mortgage.
Homeownership can seem like a never-ending list of chores sometimes, but ultimately, it’s extremely rewarding. Take the time to take care of your home and you’ll love every day you spend living in it!
For more helpful homeowner and mortgage information, check out Navy Federal Credit Union’s homeownership articles and homeowner resources page.
- Using the checklist above, schedule seasonal chores into a digital or other easily accessible calendar. Then, set up reminders that automatically tell you when certain chores need to be done throughout the year.
- Create a “home upkeep” fund. This can be a checking account or even a small stash of money at home that you use specifically for home improvement projects. Create a budget and track your spending.
- Sit down and plan in advance for larger, more expensive home improvements. Visit our Home Project Financing Center to help you determine your financing options.
This content is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.