Owning a home feels great, but home maintenance can feel like a chore – there’s often so much to do! Ideally, no one wants to spend Sundays mucking out gutters, cleaning windows, or doing any of the thousand and one tasks that houses throw up. But Mr. Cooper, one of the top mortgage lenders in the US, wants to stress the importance of these tasks to homeowners – after all, they are key to keeping your home in good condition and maintaining its value.
Left alone, home care tasks start to pile up, and before long, they’re likely to become a bigger problem. Periodic upkeep can help you avoid the stress of extensive maintenance work and ensure that minor issues don’t fester.
Here’s our yearly cleaning timeline, compiled with insights from Mr. Cooper, to help you stay on top of home care and keep your house in tip-top shape year-round.
Spring is when homes come back to life after the chilly winter lull. It’s also a great time to give your home a good once-over in preparation for warm, wet weather. If the winter that just passed was like most, you likely have pools to uncover, roofs to check, and lawns to maintain.
- Roof, gutters, sheathing, skylights. Check your roof right as the season starts, as winter frost might have left some damage. Cold temperatures can cause roofing components to contract, and this can turn hairline fractures into genuine breaks. Inspect for cracks in your shingles and check for breaks around skylights. Also, look around the sheathing on your roof (including gutters) for abraded insulation. Shifts or tears in the insulating rubber can cause leaks that might damage your walls, personal belongings, or home interior during storms.
- Lawn, trees, gutters, walls. An attractive lawn helps increase your home’s curbside appeal. Get ready to reseed and fertilize the lawn with warmer weather. Pull the lawnmower out of storage as well; conduct all necessary checks, so it’s ready for the new season. You also want to check your lawn gutters to ensure they’re clear and prepared to funnel rainwater down the drains. Inspect the trees around your home for winter damage; they could have become ice-weakened, making them a threat to your home and neighbors. Don’t neglect to inspect your walls. They might need cleaning or even a fresh coat of paint after a hard winter.
- Patio, deck, pool. If you have a patio or deck check, you probably didn’t use it much during winter, and it has likely collected winter grime during that time. Now’s an excellent time to hose down, so rot doesn’t set in with the warmer season. It’s also a great time to uncover and clean your pool – it will probably see a lot of use very soon.
- Plumbing and pumps. Give your pipes a thorough inspection. Winter can be hard on pipes, and leaks after the season are common. You might want to call an expert out for this examination. Also, have them look at your sump pump while they’re around, so it’s primed and ready to funnel water away from your home in heavy rains.
Summer is for backyard barbecues and chilled drinks on the porch. You should be enjoying the clear skies and cool nights instead of getting down and dirty with maintenance work. These maintenance tips will help you get the routine stuff out of the way so you can have more time to enjoy the season.
- Lawns, foliage, and sprinklers. Spring brings a lot of growth, and that continues into summer. Keep lawns and foliage neatly trimmed and cared for to prevent parasites. Also, keep your sprinklers in good shape, and don’t stint on the water. Dry lawns can affect your home’s foundation, leading to dry soil that might shift the foundation and cause cracks.
- Indoor cooling, ceilings, and roofs. In the past few years, summers have been getting increasingly warmer. So, you should ensure your indoor cooling systems and ceiling and roof insulation are in good shape. It’s probably best to have a professional come in and take a look, so you’re not letting in heat unduly.
- Pool, Jacuzzi. Pools and Jacuzzis see a lot of use during summer. But they also require vigilant maintenance, so they don’t become a source of injuries to guests or your family. Keep the pool clean and clear, and watch especially for the growth of algae. If you have minor children or have guests with little children, maintain a sturdy safety railing to prevent injury.
- Pests and bugs. Pests can cause tremendous damage that might lower the value of your home or create health problems. Unfortunately, they also thrive in summer, and so you must be extra vigilant. A pest control expert can help inspect your home to identify when there’s a pest problem or help prevent one.
By fall, the year is winding down to cooler weather, and it’s nearly time to batten down again. But not just yet. Most of your work at this time will be to catch whatever damage summer might have caused.
- Leaves, rot, and rust. Although golden leaves are beautiful to look at, they also make quite a mess once they fall. Sweep your lawns, gutters, and roof frequently to clear off dead leaves and prevent the rot they might bring.
- Boilers, heaters, and radiators. As winter’s around the corner, there’s probably no better time than now to ensure your heating works well. You have a higher chance of spotting potential problems and fixing them before the season starts. Have a professional come out and take a look at your heating system.
- Windows, doors, and dryer vents. Now’s also a good time to check doors and windows for drafts. Install storm windows and put up glass paneling on storm doors to insulate the home against cold. If you use a clothes dryer, have the vent inspected and thoroughly cleaned, as dry lint may pose a fire risk.
Winter brings an excuse to enjoy good books and hot chocolate. But it can also be the most damaging season to your home, especially if you’re not well prepared. So here’s what to look for as you care for your home through winter.
- Snowblowers, ice dams, and winter supplies. Prepare for snowdrifts by stocking up on critical winter supplies such as ice melt and a good snow shovel. Send your snow blower to the technician long before the season starts. Also, observe for ice dams as the season progresses. They can be very damaging to your roof, shingles, gutters, and siding, especially when they lead to cracks that let water in.
- Pool, Jacuzzi, gazebo. With the winter season well underway, all warm weather equipment should be packed up and shipped indoors or stowed beneath tarps.
- Pipes, heating. Frozen pipes are a common occurrence during winter. Spare your home the inconvenient leaks and burst pipes by shutting off outdoor faucets before the season and insulating pipes as much as possible. You might also open cabinets on frigid days to let in warm air.
Backup power. Winter can also bring downed power lines and blackouts. Prevent the risk of damage of leaks from thawed and spoiling food with a backup power generator. Keep it well-serviced before and during the season.