Household maintenance: When to do what.

Home / General / Household maintenance: When to do what.

Everyone deserves a healthy home, but so often, these small maintenance chores are forgotten in the hustle and bustle of our lives. Here are a few seasonal reminders that will help to keep your home functioning at its peak, keeping your family and your property as safe as possible.

Spring

  • Prepare your pool. Is the fence around your swimming pool intact and secure? And is it built to meet your state’s requirements? To make sure, check out the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s guidelines. Then, take a look at our tips for pool safety.
  • Check for mold and mildew. How often do you inspect your gutter system and downspouts? If you’re doing it only once a year, spring is an optimal season to get this job done. Pick a day to clean debris, and then ensure joints are sealed and water is being diverted away from your home’s foundation. Additionally, don’t forget to inspect your basement or crawl space for moisture or condensation.

Summer

  • Lighten your load. We all know to clean the dryer’s lint trap after every load of laundry, but did you know you need to vacuum the dryer vent at least a few times a year? For instructions on how to do this safely, check out Consumer Reports’ recommendations.
  • Get your grill ready to go. Summer is the time for cookouts and backyard barbecues, so get your grill ready by giving it a good cleaning and making any minor repairs. Scrub the grates, clean the burners, and brush up on the basic grilling safety tips.

Fall

  • Keep your chimney clean. Everyone loves a cozy fire in the fall, but how do you know your fireplace is safe? Once a year, chimneys need a professional inspection, because soot, creosote (what’s left over when wood burns), leaves and other debris can block your chimney and pose a threat to your home.
  • Drain the water you won’t need. Frozen water can cause a great deal of damage to your plumbing and irrigation systems, so make sure yours are properly drained – following your owner’s manual instructions. Don’t forget to remove water from above-ground sprinklers, and store your garden hoses to prevent water backup.
  • Give your roof an annual review. Fall is a great time to get a professional roof inspection. Damaged or missing shingles, mold and moss can lead to (or be symptoms of) a problem.

Winter

  • Start a stash of winter-weather supplies. Is your snow shovel in good shape? Do you have a large supply of salt? Don’t let the first winter storm sneak up on you and endanger anyone who is walking or driving on your sidewalks or driveway.
  • Confirm your sump pump is all set. Make sure your sump pump is working properly before a wet winter sets in.
  • Start the new year with new batteries. Every New Year’s Day, change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and don’t forget to test them monthly. According to the National Fire Protection Association, the risk of death in a house fire is cut in half when functioning smoke detectors are in place, and there should be a smoke detector outside of each sleeping area and on every level of the house.

Just a little extra attention each season can ensure you have a safe, comfortable home for yourself and for your family. Additionally, it can help you avoid expensive repairs if something were to go wrong.

For more information, the Center for Healthy Housing has a checklist of recommended household maintenance tasks, and your local, independent agent can be of assistance, too.