Long summer days are here—and it’s the perfect time to spruce up your home in time for outdoor barbecues and parties. To help you get started, we rounded up the top 10 home maintenance items to check off your list this season.
Like all maintenance, keeping up with home improvements is the best way to prevent mold, water damage, and expensive repairs. By inspecting, cleaning, and repairing your home once or twice a year, you’ll not only minimize damage—you’ll keep costs low and maintain your home’s value. Keep your peace of mind with these 10 home maintenance tips.
1. Clean the Gutters
While gutters are great at keeping water away from your foundation and flowerbeds, it’s easy for these systems to get clogged with clippings, twigs, and mud. Clearing away debris prevents water from dripping down your siding, flooding your foundation, or ruining your landscaping.
All of these water issues can contribute to expensive water damage, or a flooded basement. So grab some rubber gloves and a sturdy shovel—here’s how to clean out your gutters.
- Wear a long-sleeved shirt and work gloves.
- Get a scoop or shovel that fits inside your gutters.
- Use a stable ladder, one that won’t lean against your gutters.
- Put down a tarp to catch muck and protect your lawn.
- Clear out debris and check for dents or damage.
- Flush clean gutters with water to look for leaks.
2. Inspect Your HVAC System
When the weather is heating up in spring or cooling down in fall, it’s important to check your heating and air conditioning units. Maintaining your system will make your unit last longer and help avoid failures at peak temperatures—going without air conditioning in extreme heat can cause serious medical issues for young and old. Whether you have an outdoor or indoor unit, these are the steps to maintain it.
- Clean dirt and debris from inside the system cabinet.
- Check for proper refrigerant levels and adjust if necessary.
- Look over the base pan for clogged drain openings and clear any debris.
- Inspect the coil, cabinet, motor, and fan blades for damage.
- Examine the control box, wirings, and connections for wear.
- Scan the compressor and tubing for damage or wear.
- Inspect and clean the blower housing, wheel and motor.
- Clean or replace the air filters.
- Check the combustion blower housing for debris.
- Examine and clean the evaporator coil and drain lines.
- Look over the flue system.
- Scan the control box, wiring, and connections for wear.
3. Look over Your Roof
Roof maintenance plays a heavy role in home care—any serious leaks can spread water damage throughout your ceilings, walls, or attic. Oftentimes, roof leaks go unnoticed and repairs becomes increasingly costly over time. Apart from water damage, roof leaks create the perfect environment for mold and mildew.
Learn more: “10 Warning Signs Your Roof is Damaged”
To keep your roof in top-notch shape, here’s what to look for while up on the ladder.
- Missing or broken shingles
- Shingles that are warped, buckling, or blistering
- Missing or damaged chimney cap
- Cracked caulk or rust on flashing
- Worn or cracker rubber boots on vent pipes
- Masses of moss and lichen, which show extensive roof decay
4. Touch up Exterior with Paint or Primer
While we often think of mold living inside our homes, it can also grow on the exterior. As with any house, there are dark, warm places the sunlight barely reaches. (Think under awnings, beneath balconies, and behind landscaping). Mold and mildew can thrive in these areas, especially if you have porous wood siding. To prevent future growth and damaging stains, take these steps to clean mold or dirt from exterior of your home.
- Wash the exterior with a bleach solution or an environmentally-friendly cleaning product
- Let the solution sit for the appropriate amount of time
- Scrub the affected areas with cleaning brush and hose it down
- Wait for the surface to dry
- Touch up any stains with a mold-resistant paint or primer to prevent future growth
5. Check for Window Leaks
Protecting your home against weather is a tough task, so it’s crucial to examine windows for any signs of damage. Cracked caulk, rotten frames, and broken panes let in moisture, which can cause water leaks in interior walls. While checking the interior and exterior of your windows, keep an eye out for the following.
- Cracked or worn caulk
- Cracked or missing panes
- Broken or rotten frames, especially if made of wood
- Debris clogging drain holes
- Holes or tears in screens
6. Inspect doors and thresholds
Similar to windows, damaged doors and thresholds can let in moisture, water, unwanted pests, and outside air. Since these areas get heavy use, it’s important to check your door jamb and threshold spacing for gaps. Also, keep an eye out for this damage.
- Cracked or worn caulk
- Split or worn foundation
- Damaged door frames or locks
- Broken panes or splintered wood
Learn more: “How to Protect Wood Floors from Water Damage”
7. Examine Sprinkler Systems
As we mentioned earlier, a faulty irrigation system is one of the main causes of basement flooding. In combination with improper landscape grading, a leaky sprinkler system can saturate the ground—and drain water into your home.
To make sure water gets to your garden instead, spend some time checking your piping, sprinkler heads, backflow system, and spray patterns. For detailed maintenance, take a look at this in-depth sprinkler maintenance checklist.
8. Power Wash Home and Porch
After cleaning the gutters and checking for any mold on exterior paint, it’s an ideal time to power wash your siding and porch. An annual washing will help prevent mold growth, clear away dirt to see if paint touch ups are necessary, and wash away the muck from other maintenance projects.
Before spraying down your house, make sure you check for damaged siding, cracks in the foundation, or gouged wood. You don’t want to soak your house if there’s a possibility of water damage, so make any repairs before hooking up the hose. For decks, railings, and fences, it’s best to use a lower pressure (1250-2000psi) to avoid damaging the surface.
9. Scan Outdoor Lighting
While you’re outside working on other home repairs, remember to examine your outdoor lighting. If you have automatic timers or motion-sensing lights, check the bulbs and control panels. For other lighting fixtures, keep this maintenance checklist in mind.
- Damaged covers and broken bulbs
- Worn caulk on fixture seals that attach the lighting to your house
- Split wiring or faulty connections to prevent electric damage
10. Inspect Paths, Driveways, and Concrete Slabs
If you live in an area where the weather fluctuates from extreme cold to extreme heat, your pavement and concrete is more likely to crack and move. However, every homeowner should be on the lookout for large cracks and shifts. If you find one that’s cause for alarm, here’s what to do.
- Check that all exteriors slabs drain away from foundation to prevent water damage
- Fill in cracks with concrete or silicon filler
- When cracks are dry, lightly pressure wash the area and seal
Ready to Tackle Home Maintenance Projects?
Armed with our 10 Tips for Home Maintenance checklist, you’re ready to tackle the projects that make the biggest impact on home improvement. For more tips on how to maintain a healthy home without water damage or mold, subscribe to our social channels for the latest updates and articles.