Home Maintenance – Annual Checklist
Why does the hot water heater fail when you have out-of-town visitors – on a holiday weekend? I have no independent verification of this theory, but I suspect it’s the same reason the battery on the smoke detector inevitably announces its retirement by chirping between 2 and 3 a.m. Periodic maintenance will help keep the systems in your home working reliably.
If the convenience of having things work doesn’t justify maintaining your home’s systems, consider that it can be less expensive than the repairs or replacement required by neglect.
18-Point Checklist for Annual Home Maintenance
- Replace burned-out, dim or missing bulbs in light fixtures and lamps. Consider switching to LED bulbs.
- Dryer exhaust vents build up lint even though you may be cleaning the filter regularly, and this can be a fire hazard.
- Fire extinguishers need to be recharged or replaced after expiration date
- Establish a recurring appointment on your calendar to change filters in your furnace
- Replace missing or damaged caulk around sinks, bathtubs, showers, windows and other areas
- Clean gutters
- Schedule a pest control inspection once a year (this means termites, not ants)
- Schedule a chimney cleaning prior to using the fireplace for the first time in the season
- Keep all tree branches and shrubs trimmed away from the home (think rodents)
- Pressure wash exterior, deck, patio, sidewalks and driveway
- Keep levels of insulation in the attic above your ceiling joists
- Check appliances with water lines for leaks or worn hoses (ice maker • washing machine • dishwasher • others)
- Test all GFI breakers and reset
- Inspect all electrical outlets for broken receptacles, fire hazards or loose fitting plugs
- Have furnace and air conditioner serviced annually
- Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and change batteries
Early fall is a great time to take care of these items before the weather becomes harsh. OK, in California, “harsh” might be a stretch – but consistency is key to maintaining your home in peak condition. Whenever you choose to do it, you’ll be glad you did.
See other tips in our Better Homeowner series. We’re dedicated to helping you enjoy your home to the fullest and maintain its value.