Tips / TricksSeasonal home maintenance Checklist

Home Care Basics

You will need a few basic tools and supplies for everyday use in keeping your home in tip-top shape. Get a small toolbox, stock it with these items, and keep it in a handy place. You should also have a few standard power tools such as a rechargeable drill. Other tools can be rented or purchased as you need them.

  • Assorted nails, brads and screws
  • Sturdy pocket knife
  • Box cutter
  • Putty knife
  • Paint scraper
  • Claw hammer and tack hammer
  • Medium-sized adjustable crescent wrench
  • Standard hand pliers
  • Screwdrivers: small, medium, large, Phillips
  • Hand saw

Fire Extinguisher

Every homeowner should have at least one fire extinguisher. Each member of the family should be familiar with its location and operation. Have it checked annually to be sure it functions properly and is fully charged. Be sure you and your family know how to turn off electricity, gas and water, in the event of an emergency of any sort.

First Aid Kit

Keep a home first aid kit in a convenient location. Buy and keep with it a booklet on first aid and home safety. Check it regularly to be sure it remains fully-stocked.

Winter Tips

  • Clean the clothes dryer exhaust duct, damper and space under the dryer.
  • Have your roof inspected. Also inspect your roof for damages after storms and high winds.
  • Rearrange furniture to change flow patterns in rooms to save wear and tear on carpets.
  • Have your heating and cooling systems professionally inspected.
  • Test, clean and replace batteries in smoke detectors.
  • Test all ground-fault-circuit-interrupter (GFCI) type outlets.
  • Lubricate interior door hinges.
  • Inspect tile for loose or missing grout, cracks, chips, or damaged caulking. Regrout if necessary. Replace or repair broken tiles. Caulk damaged areas if needed.
  • Clean the kitchen exhaust hood and air filter.
  • Inspect shower and tub doors for proper fit. Recaulk areas if needed.
  • Inspect all electrical holiday decorations.

Spring Tips

  • Inspect exterior paint. Repaint if necessary, using the same color. If your home has a wood exterior, expect to repaint every two to four years. You’ll need to repaint more frequently if the walls receive direct sunlight in the morning and mid-afternoon.
  • Replace your ac unit filter.
  • Clean the kitchen exhaust hood and air filter.
  • Check your fire extinguisher.
  • Make sure the light bulbs in all your fixtures are the correct wattage.
  • Lubricate garage door hardware. Inspect to make sure doors travel smoothly.
  • Prepare your lawn and remove weeds.
  • Replace all extension cords that are brittle, worn or damaged.
  • Review your fire escape plan with your family.
  • Have a professional air conditioning contractor inspect and maintain your system as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Do a walk-around inspection of your roof; do not climb on your roof. If a closer inspection is needed, contact your customer relations specialist or a professional roofer.
  • Run through a severe-weather drill with your family.
  • Drain and flush your water heater.
  • Clean clothes dryer exhaust duct, damper, and space under the dryer.
  • Inspect and clean dust from the covers of your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Check/clean the gutters and down spouts.

Summer Tips

  • Check all recreational equipment and review outdoor safety tips.
  • Inspect air filters in furnace/air conditioning system for dust. Clean and replace filters as needed.
  • Weatherproof your wood deck if necessary.
  • Make sure there are working nightlights at the top and bottom of all stairs.
  • Check exterior siding for cracks, splits and tears.
  • Check all window and door locks for proper operation.
  • Inspect and clean dust from the covers of your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Check the water hoses on the clothes washer, refrigerator icemaker and dishwasher for cracks and bubbles.
  • Flush your water heater. Open the valve and drain a couple of gallons of water into a bucket or through a garden hose to remove any sediment that may have accumulated in the tank bottom.
  • Clean the clothes dryer exhaust duct, damper and space under the dryer.

Fall Tips

  • Check windows and doors on the exterior for possible air or water leaks - make sure the weep holes are clear at the bottom on the outside.
  • Inspect caulking around windows for cracks or separation from the window or building.
  • Check the roof for loose shingles, tiles or shakes. Make sure vents are in good condition and are not blocked with debris. If you have large trees or shrubs close to the home, make sure they are trimmed back to avoid branches from damaging the exterior of the home, the shingles or interfering with vents.
  • Check for leaves and debris in gutters and eaves troughs - check for blockages at the down-pipe connections.
  • Vacuum and clean out forced air registers (vents) and ductwork in your home.
  • Remove the hoses and any diverter manifolds or other attachments from the hose bib itself.
  • Check CO (Carbon Monoxide) detectors if installed.
  • Check all the vents outside your home; the combustion vent intake, the dryer vent and the range hood vent. Make sure they are all clear, functional and the screens are clean.

Spring & Summer Vactions

  • Have newspaper and mail stopped or regularly picked up by a trusted neighbor.
  • Ask a trusted neighbor to check on your home.
  • Make sure a neighbor knows where the water main shut-off is located in the event of a broken pipe.
  • Set timers on interior lights to deter burglars.
  • Unplug TV, computer and appliances susceptible to lightning and power surges.
  • Advise your alarm company and local police if you will be gone for an extended vacation.
  • Take jewelry and valuable papers to a safe deposit box.
  • Turn off water valves to your washing machine, icemaker and dishwasher.
  • Move your water heater thermostat to the vacation setting.

Fall & Winter Vacations

  • Set the heat in your home to no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • If freezing temperatures are predicted, allow water to drip from a faucet near an outside wall.
  • Locate and insulate pipes most susceptible to freezing. Typically those near outer walls, in crawl spaces and in the attic are the most vulnerable.
  • Open cabinet doors to allow heat to reach uninsulated pipes under sinks and where appliances are near exterior walls.
  • Move your water heater thermostat to the vacation setting.