Home maintenance is one of those things that’s easy to forget or put off, because many tasks only need to be done once in a while or a few times a year. If you’re not careful, though, you can end up being that house in the neighborhood with the overgrown yard, peeling paint, and a list of expensive, but possibly could-have-been-prevented repairs.
But what if you’re the busy or forgetful type? Turn to technology, of course. We’ve created a home maintenance schedule which you can copy, customize, and subscribe to in a simple click so you’ll never forget important maintenance again.
The truth is, I need this, too. Home maintenance checklists abound, but the problem are those that lack a reminder. I’ve downloaded and saved scores of checklists over the years, but honestly cannot remember the last time we checked our roof for repairs or had the chimney cleaned—basic things that I need my computer to nag me about. (If it’s not on a calendar, I’ve learned, it’s probably not getting done.)
Most of these tasks apply more if you own a house, but there are also some safety and other home maintenance tasks that even apartment renters or condo owners should keep in mind.
Maintenance you need to keep your home from falling apart
It sounds dramatic, but it’s the little things like caulking around the tub and making sure your gutters aren’t clogged that prevent bigger issues like serious water damage. Beyond checking that everything’s working, simple maintenance also extends the life of your appliances and the systems that keep your home running (plumbing, heating, and so forth), can save you money (e.g., weatherproofing projects), and also helps reduce threats to your home and family’s safety (e.g., twice-yearly fire alarm checks and making sure your dryer vent won’t catch fire).
These aren’t all things you need to pay for—some are just chores you have to remember to do. The problem is knowing what you need to do to maintain your home and when. Our solution: A one-click-to-subscribe Home Maintenance Calendar that lays out all the most common, necessary home maintenance tasks so you won’t forget.
How to use a home maintenance calendar
The Google Calendar embedded below will make sure recurring home maintenance tasks get done (or at least stay top of mind), plus you can easily share it with your partner, if you’re the delegating type. Or, of course, simply make your own that fits your needs.
If You Use Google Calendar
You can subscribe to a sample schedule in just one click with this link. If you want to customize the tasks that copy over to your Google Calendar, click any item and copy it to your own Google Calendar by clicking the “copy to my calendar” link, then adjust the dates as needed.
If You Use Another Calendar
If you don’t use Google Calendar, you can download the calendar in various formats from the links below. Below the calendar are descriptions of these repairs and tasks by season.
What home maintenance tasks should you include?
Most of the things you have to do to help keep your home operating smoothly happen in the fall and spring, when we’re preparing for the winter or giving it an annual spring cleaning and check-up.
What to do in the fall
When the weather starts getting colder, look to your heating equipment and weatherproofing. I’ve spread these tasks out in groups across two weekends in October and one in November, but, again, you can adjust for your schedule.
- Take down window screens to store (label them for quickly putting up in the spring, and repair or replace now, if needed). After you wash your windows, replace with storm windows.
- Seal windows and doors with weatherstripping and also check caulking (to help save on your heating bill). Replace seals as necessary.
- Check roof for leaks, damaged or missing shingles, and pests hiding in vents.
- While you’re up there, check chimney for leaks, bricks and mortar falling apart, and, again, pests.
- Yard cleanup. Trim trees and shrubs closer than three inches from your house.
- Check your outdoor faucet for leaks, then drain and turn them off. Store hoses.
- Clean gutters and downspouts. Gutter covers of some kind can also help keep debris out of your gutters.
- Clean, oil, and store garden tools. (You could also store them in a bucket of sand to prevent rust.)
- Clean and store patio furniture (or cover with weatherproof material).
- Check smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace batteries, if needed. Also check fire extinguishers. This is a good time to do fire drills and review your emergency documents.
- Remove air conditioners or protect with weatherproof cover (if applicable).
- Check attic for insulation, leaks, hiding squirrels, etc. A simple attic inspection is easy to do when you know what to look for.
- Flush out water heater to get rid of the sediment. Here are some instructions from DIY Network.
- Bleed radiators if you have hot-water heat. Don’t do this when the system is use, because the water will be hot.
- Inspect kitchen, bath fixtures, and cabinets for leaks, and prevent water damage by re-caulking or re-grouting countertops and tiles in the kitchen or bathroom as necessary.
Services to schedule
- Chimney cleaning
- Heating system and heat pump service
- Septic tank pumped
What to do in the spring
Spring maintenance involves many of the same tasks needed for fall. Now, though, we’re preparing for warmer weather and checking in with our home systems once more to make sure everything’s still running smoothly. I’m scheduling these for April and May.
- Wash windows and replace storm windows with screens.
- Check gutters and downspouts and clean if necessary.
- Check outside walls for damage or deterioration (e.g., brick work or siding repairs, peeling paint)
- Check your deck for water damage or stains. A pressure washer can help rid your deck of mold and moss.
- Check smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace batteries, if needed.
- Check basement for cracks or leaks, dampness and mold.
- Inspect kitchen and bath fixtures and prevent water damage by re-caulking or re-grouting countertops and tiles in the kitchen or bathroom as necessary.
- Check clothes dryer vents and rid them of lint.
Though not exactly a home maintenance task, now is also a good time to do some basic spring cleaning and get rid of things you no longer want or need.
More home maintenance scheduling resources
If you don’t like the Google Calendar method and prefer a pen-and-paper planner, you can use this printable household planner to track your household chores. Homespot can also help you create a list of home maintenance tasks (and also plan home improvement projects) and the web app links to Google Calendar or other digital calendars.
The important thing is that you actually remember to complete these essential tasks (so you’re not like me and suddenly find pigeons have been living in your attic all winter.).
This story was originally published in 2011 and was updated on December 28, 2020 to meet Lifehacker style guidelines.