The ultimate home maintenance checklist

Some homeowners think of maintenance as something to perform after something goes wrong. Examples include blocked gutters that force water over the top instead of into a downspout, a furnace that issues a strange noise but no heat on the coldest day of the year or the deck that keeps tripping everyone because boards have warped.
These costly problems and many others like them are often avoidable by doing relatively inexpensive preventive maintenance throughout the year. Not only is it an opportunity to save money on repairs but the house will look great inside and out at all times. Here is a season-by-season checklist to follow:
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Spring is mostly about cleaning up winter’s mess
• Inspect the roof for winter damage and to make sure no pests have moved in underneath it.
• Clean gutters and use a water hose to make sure they drain properly.
• Trim back any branches that have grown close to the roof.
• Clean and replace window screens.
• Check the deck and paint or stain it.
• Remove any debris from flower beds and window wells.
Summer provides the ideal weather for exterior repairs
• Check wooden siding and do any painting that’s needed.
• Power wash vinyl siding to give it a fresh look.
• Clean and seal any wooden fences.
• Reverse ceiling fan vanes to help cool rooms.
• Check regularly for wasp and hornets nests and spray them.
Fall is the season to prepare the home for winter
• Hire a heating professional to do maintenance on the furnace.
• Reverse ceiling fans to distribute warm air collecting near the ceiling.
• Remove screens and air conditioners from windows.
• Get the chimney cleaned.
• Turn off the water supply to exterior faucets.
Winter is all about keeping damage to a minimum
• Check the roof and gutters for ice buildup, and use an ice-melt product to eliminate it.
• Look for branches that have fallen on electrical lines and call the electric company to remove them.
• Test the sump pump by pouring water into the pit.
• Catch up on all interior repairs you neglected during warm weather.
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Some maintenance tasks are ongoing
• Check the water softener and add salt.
• Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working.
• Soak shower heads and sink aerators in vinegar to eliminate sediment.
• Check the dryer vent for blockage.
• Ensure that safety functions on the garage door are working properly.
• Check heat registers.
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