Our home is our castle and yet, despite being our biggest investment, those pesky maintenance chores never seem to make it to the top of the priority list. This seasonal checklist will help you keep home maintenance under control all year.
A common rule of thumb is to budget 1 per cent of your home value for maintenance each year. For a $400,000 house, that is $4,000 — also known as a lot of money.
- help you spend that money wisely and, in many cases, even save you money by being organised
- ensure you consider all aspects of the house, not just the ones glaring you in the face
- help you be proactive instead of waiting for problems to occur and become costly
- keep it achievable by breaking the responsibility of home ownership into bite-sized chunks
Autumn home maintenance
- NSW Fire and Rescue is urging everyone to check their smoke alarms when they change their clocks back at the end of daylight savings. On Sunday, April 6, clean out your smoke alarms, test that they work and change the battery.
- Wipe the blades of the fans and vacuum the vents and change the filter of the air conditioner. It is a good idea to get your air conditioner serviced to ensure it continues to run at the lowest energy consumption.
- Walk around the house with a screwdriver and test all handles, knobs and anything that could have a loose screw.
- Remove the showerhead and clean it to remove sediment and calcium deposits.
- Check the caulking around wet areas and repair as needed.
- In the aftermath of any summer storms, check the roof for signs of leakage. Look at the ceiling inside and the soffits outside for signs of dampness, mould or water stains. Get on the roof and look for cracks in the tiles or places where leaks may occur.
- Clear gutters and drains of debris left over from summer storms.
- Fertilise the lawn and gardens.
- Prune all flowering plants and trim back trees to get rid of dead leaves, reshape and help the plants channel energy into creating new growth.
- If you have a pool, clean it properly, cover it and put it in winter mode.
Winter home maintenance
- Test and clean heaters and fireplaces before firing them back up for the year.
- Clean behind appliances, including the fridge, dryer, washing machine and dishwasher. Use the vacuum cleaner to remove lint and dust build-up on the coils.
- Clean the range hood filters.
- Check the seals on windows to ensure all the warm air inside doesn’t escape. Clean flyscreens, check for holes and vacuum up any debris in the runner along the bottom.
- Do a family emergency drill in preparation for storm season to safeguard against disaster. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher, an exit plan, accessible emergency numbers, working torches, first aid, a radio with extra batteries and non-perishable food items.
Read more: Do your kids know what to do in an emergency? >>
- Clean the gutters and drains of autumn leaf debris.
- Address weeds in the lawn. While the grass lays dormant in winter, weeds tend to keep growing, so nip them in the bud now, before they have the chance to take over next summer.
Spring home maintenance
- Clean all bedding by washing all linen, pillows and blankets. Air and vacuum mattresses and get that dusty area behind the bed while you’re at it.
- Check the air conditioner again if it is reverse-cycle.
- Get a professional pest and termite inspection and get them to check for dampness and mould that needs to be addressed.
- Deep clean by dusting high and low, wiping over skirting boards, getting in behind big furniture and cleaning out the fridge and oven — it’s time to address all those chores you never have time to do.
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- Fertilise your lawn and garden beds.
- Check outdoor lights to make sure they work, replace bulbs and clean them out.
- Outdoor timber needs to be regularly treated to prolong its life. Re-stain or oil decks and timber furniture. Check the exterior of your house for any touch-ups that need to be done.
- Pressure-wash concrete paths, the driveway, the sides of the house and anything that can get a build-up of mould.
- Weed the garden to make sure the weeds don’t strangle out the flowers coming into bloom.
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Summer home maintenance
- Windows — clean and check the seals and screens again.
- Clean behind the appliances once more.
- De-clutter — after Christmas is the perfect time to cull all of the treasures that are clogging up those cupboards and corners.
- Get the carpets professionally cleaned.
- Lawn mowing, weeding and pruning is unavoidable during summer so make it a regular part of the season. Make sure you trim any trees that are close to powerlines or the house and could be an issue if storms hit
- Clean and prepare the pool for use and ensure regular maintenance.
- Clear out the garage or storage shed.
- Barbecue maintenance — thorough cleaning of the hot plates and drip tray.
By taking pride in your home with regular maintenance and updating, you are also adding to the value of your property. Make it a priority to get started on your autumn home maintenance checklist this weekend.
What is your most/least favourite home maintenance chore? Share with us in the comments section below.