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As a homeowner, you know there will be expenses you can’t predict—but you can prevent some of them. Use this checklist to stay ahead of home repairs and unnecessary costs.


Cooler temps in the winter call for special precautions.

  • Cover your air conditioner unit on the outside of your house with a tarp to keep cold air from drafting in and save on heating bills.
  • Close foundation and crawl space vents to avoid drafts and lower the risk of freezing pipes.
  • Check gutters after storms for ice dams, and in warmer climates, clear them to avoid basement flooding.
  • Test, replace or purchase UL-listed carbon monoxide detectors. Between the furnace, stove and fireplace, you’re setting the scene for dangerous carbon monoxide buildup. Make sureyou have the proper protection to keep your family safe.
  • Vacuum your bathroom exhaust fan, refrigerator grill and freezer coils.
  • Make sure to 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.

  • Schedule an HVAC checkup to be prepared for the warmer summer months. It will be faster, and potentially save you money, to make air conditioning repairs before temps rise. Replace your air conditioning filters.
  • Inspect the exterior of your home. Check the roof for winter damage like broken or missing shingles, 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.
  • Clean window and door screens and power-wash exterior windows and siding.
  • Have chimney inspected and, if necessary, cleaned. This will be less expensive in spring than in fall.
  • Fertilize and aerate the lawn.
  • Clean out window wells.
  • Do you need cash to pay for home repairs or improvements? Consider a Navy Federal Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit.


Prep your home for warmer temps and outdoor living.

  • 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.
  • Open exterior crawl space vents to avoid the buildup of excess moisture.
  • Trim grass and weeds around your HVAC system to keep it working efficiently.
  • Lubricate the garage door opener chain, springs and door hinges.


Put summer to rest and prepare for winter.

  • Wash and store gardening tools, containers and decorative items.
  • Clean and cover your outdoor grill if you don’t plan to use it during the winter. You can leave propane attached.
  • Clear gutters of fall foliage to avoid ice dams during the winter months.
  • Inspect and maintain trees on your property to prevent fallen limbs.
  • Drain and winterize exterior plumbing, including garden hoses and sprinkler systems.
  • Test and replace smoke detector units and batteries.
  • 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.

For more helpful homeowner and mortgage information, check out Navy Federal Credit Union’s home articles and homeowner resources page.

This article 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.