There's a lot of annual home maintenance you could do around the home. There's also a lot of home maintenance you absolutely should do. This home maintenance schedule focuses on the latter. Here are the 14 big-ticket items that every homeowner should really consider adding to their schedule to save time, save money, avoid repairs, and perhaps most importantly... maintain or increase your home value.
And just a note: if you want us to generate a list that's tailored to your home you can sign up for a Homebuddy account. It's 100% free.
Tune-up your Air Conditioner
Air conditioners are complicated systems. There's some work you can do on your own (e.g. vacuuming the fins of the external unit)... there's a lot that should be checked by a certified professional to prevent your AC going down in the heat of summer. An annual tune-up will run you about $100 but will help you avoid expensive repairs in the future. You only need to lose your AC in July once to never want to go through that again.
Tune-up your Heater
Like with your air conditioner you should generally service your heating system once every year. This one will generally run $100 to $200 but could save you from losing your heat in the middle of winter. It's another one that's well worth it.
Flush your Water Heater
Have you ever taken a shower in a house whose hot water ran out really fast? It's often caused by sediment that builds up in the tank over time and, after a while, can become impossible to remove. You can prevent this buildup and remove this sediment by flushing your water heater once per year.
Clean your Gutters
Your gutters are there to channel water off your roof and away from your home's foundation. Over time debris will build up in this system and prevent water from flowing through. This could lead to cracks in your flooding (bad) or cracks in your foundation (really bad). You need to clean your gutters at least once a year (perhaps more often if you have tall trees overhead) to avoid those unnecessary repairs.
Inspect your Roof
If your roof is getting old you should make sure to inspect it once a year to catch any issues (e.g. loose shingles) before they turn into a major problem (e.g. a roof leak).
Sweep your Chimney
If you have a wood-burning fireplace and you use it then you should sweep your chimney it every year. If not, particles emitted from your fireplace can build up and eventually catch your chimney itself on fire... a very dangerous situation which, if not checked, could cause your entire house to ignite. But this is easily preventable with this annual service.
Clean your Dryer Vent
Some lint from your clothing always escapes from your dryer and builds up in your dryer vent blocking air flow. In the long run this lint is a safety hazard as it has the potential to catch fire. In the short run this lint will cause all your clothes to shrink as it takes longer and longer for them to dry. Cleaning your dryer vent both saves clothes and saves live.
Inspect for Termites
A termite infestation left unchecked can quickly destroy your home and all its value. You should check your home for termites once per year to catch any problems early... especially if you live in an area with a lot of termite activity (see US termite map). Many companies also offer preventative plans where they'll preventatively spray for termites every year and cover the extermination costs for any they find.
Repair your Driveway Cracks
If you have a paved driveway and you live in an area in which the ground freezes in the winter you'll probably notice cracks in your driveway. It's caused by the expansion and contraction of water in the ground it freezes and melts. Repairing these cracks after the winter prevents them from spreading further and helps your driveway last longer.
Winterize your Exterior Faucets
You'll do this one right before winter. You want to shut off the water to your exterior faucets and (remove and drain the hoses). If not, the water in your pipes could burst as it freezes in the winter. It can be a pretty messy and expensive problem to have.
Tune up your Garage Door
You want to tune up your garage door once per year to keep it working smoothly and prevent anyone from getting hurt due to a mechanical malfunction.
Test your Sump Pump
Your sump pump will pump any water inside your basement out of your basement if there's a leak or flood. Test your sump pump once a year by pouring water on it and making sure it pumps the water out.
Change your Smoke Detector Batteries
This last one is tiny but incredibly important. All smoke detectors have batteries--even hardwired smoke detectors have backup batteries to ensure they can still notify you of a fire during a power outage. Make sure you change your smoke detector batteries annually to make sure you and your family are safe.
And that wraps up the basics of the annual home maintenance schedule...
There's lots of tasks you could add to your maintenance schedule but this concludes the core annual items. And if you want to generate a full home maintenance schedule tailored to your home, including many of the monthly items we don't list here, you can do so by signing up for a Homebuddy account. We're working hard to make homeownership simple.