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Home Maintenance Tips

Home Insurance

By Joanne Lemna | July 19, 2017

Owning a home comes with responsibility and neglecting this can be an expensive and a possibly dangerous decision. Regularly checking inspecting and tuning up your home ensures you and your family are kept safe and helps prevent small problems from becoming major ones. According tothis MoneySense article homeowners should budget 3-5% of the value of their home yearly for maintenance and repair costs.

This can feel very overwhelming especially for a first time homeowner.  Where do you start? What should you be checking and when? How do you know if something needs attention or repair? Can you do it yourself?

Don’t worry. We can help. We’ve put together a list of routine home maintenance tasks and provided instructions and links that will guide you through the process. Lowe’s also provides an excellent checklist  for home maintenance.

Monthly Home Maintenance

There are some things you should be checking or doing monthly in and around your home to ensure it’s running in peak condition. This includes:

  • Inspect your heating ventilation and air conditioning filters and change them if they are dirty.
    • You’ll probably need to change them every 2-3 months.
  • Check the air intakes for blockages debris and insects.
  • Check your range or stove hood filters and clean if needed.
    • You can use hot water and soap or a degreaser to soak the filter for a bit then rinse.
  • Clean your garbage disposal if you have one.
    • You can use cleaner products but vinegar ice cubes work really well and have the benefit of both cleaning and sharpening your disposal unit. Just freeze vinegar in an ice cube tray then put them down the disposal as it’s turned on.
  • Clean your drains and change any washers and filters.
  • Inspect clean and lubricate at least one major appliance per the manufacturer’s instructions.
    • Don’t forget the seals.
  • Run water in your unused spaces.
    • For example if you rarely use a downstairs bathroom make sure to flush the toiled and run the water from all the faucets.
  • Quarterly Home Maintenance

    You should check on the following items with every season:

  • Inspect your fire extinguisher and replace if needed.
  • Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors .
    • Don’t forget to change the batteries if needed. Generally this will be about every 6 months.
  • Check your water softener and add salt if needed.
  • Unhook your furnace from its power source and open the panel to visually inspect that the belts and fans are in good condition.
  • Deep clean your flooring . This increases its lifespan and keeps it looking good!
  • Seasonal Home Maintenance

    The following tasks should be carried out according to the season.


  • Inspect the exterior of your home.
    • Pay special attention to the paint siding roof and foundation. You’re looking for damage such as loose pieces cracks chips et cetera.
    • If you see damage you can repair it yourself or call a professional depending on its location severity and your own skills (and willingness!).
  • Clean out your gutters .
  • Check exterior drainage .
    • A lack of drainage or water being directed towards your home can mean problems. Make sure water drains and that it moves away from the house.
    • If you have any drainage issues you can address them by better grading an improved drainage system and the installation of equipment such as sump pumps to prevent damage done to your home.
    • For efficient drainage paved surfaces should have a minimum 1% slope while grass or landscaped areas should have a minimum slope of at least 2%.
  • Check your sump pump .
  • Check the weather stripping around doors and windows replace if needed.
  • Check the window screens and replace or repair them as necessary.
  • Clean up the yard by removing dead plants and leaves.
  • Check your trees and make sure there is no interference with the electrical lines.
    • Call a professional to trim the trees if there is any interference.
  • If you have an air conditioning unit get it ready for the summer season.
    • You may want to have it serviced.


    • Powerwash the exterior of your home.
      • Unless it’s brick – power washing can damage brick and the surface requires cleaning less often. If it is dirty contact a professional brick-cleaner.
    • Clean out the garage and sheds .
    • Lubricate the garage door .
    • Clean and repair your deck/patio .
    • Clean out any window wells .
    • Inspect plumbing .
      • Clean the aerators on your faucets.
    • Check and clean exhaust vents.
      • For example the dryer vent should be checked while the dryer is running and the exhaust should smell of fresh laundry. Bad smells can indicate mold or another problem.
    • Take care of insect problems before they become major.


  • Check your roof and replace any loose shingles.
  • Check your attic’s insulation .
  • Inspect your driveway pavement and foundation for cracks.
    • Reseal before winter to prevent expansion.
    • Use epoxy for cracks and holes and re-caulk foundation seams.
  • Winterize your outdoor space .
    • Flush and store your hoses.
    • Flush and  turn off outdoor water faucets.
    • Winterize your sprinkler system if you have one.
  • Winterize your air conditioner .
    • Remove and store window units.
    • Cover an outside unit with a tarp and secure.
  • Prepare your heating system .
    • Check for leaks in windows and doors.
    • Open heating vents.
    • Consider getting a furnace inspection.
  • Flush your hot water heater and remove sediment.
  • Get your chimney cleaned if you have one.
  • Clean out your gutters .
  • Winter

  • Check for ice dams and icicles . Break them off or remove them if you can.
  • Make sure all your outlets work.
  • Tighten any handles knobs and racks .
  • Check locks and deadbolts .
  • Check the caulking around showers and tubs.
  • Remove showerheads and clean.
  • Deep clean and inspect the basement .
    • Take care of any cracks immediately.
  • Check light bulbs and replace any burnt out bulbs.
  • Complete any other interior projects .
  • Biannual Home Maintenance

    There are a few items you only need to check and do twice a year including:

  • Deep clean the interior of your house including your appliances windows and even the basement.
  • Test your water heater’s pressure relief valve .
  • It’s not hard to see how maintenance repair and replacement costs can add up! MoneySense breaks down the annual costs on yearly maintenance as well as those essential one-time or periodic replacement costshere.

    While basic home maintenance is perfectly doable for most people if you are too busy or are unable to carry out the work don’t worry. There are plenty of companies that provide general maintenance services and will take care of this. As proper home maintenance prevents expensive claims some insurance companies even offer home repair programs – you canlearn more here. Some cities also offer senior and disability programs for those who may struggle with taking care of home maintenance themselves.

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