So you finally moved out. Nothing screams adulthood more than realizing your home actually needs to be cared for. You’re lost. Never been trained, not ready and have no idea what to do next. No fear, here is my home maintenance schedule for dummies that you can tinker and make your own. Some may be obvious, but I assure you, to many it’s not – including myself at one point or another.
Warning: It goes without saying that every home is different and this list is by no means meant to be inclusive of every need your home has. Take what you find useful and add to your own, or start from my list and add tasks specific to your own.
Final Note: My home has a humidifier & HRV System, everything else is fairly standard. If your home has additional upgrades, be sure to check their maintenance requirements and stack them on top of this list.
To be performed at start of every season.
- Change Air Filters. Arrow of filter faces the direction of the air flow. You’re welcome.
- Clean Washer. Some washers recommend monthly clean, but I do it quarterly because I’m coming from a never clean schedule. Every washer is different, of course, but this is how I clean mine. Take out drum and wash it thoroughly, wipe the rubber gaskets inside my Electrolux and then run a wash cycle with 2 cups of white vinegar (or Tide washing machine cleaner). Once done, run a rinse cycle.
- Change Seasonal HRV Settings. HRV’s are designed to increase the indoor air quality by cycling it with fresh air from outside. They are more common these days but chances are you if you’re coming from an older home, you’ve never seen one in your life. Here’s my cheat sheet:
- Summer: Turn off the system, go outside.
- Autumn. Turn on the system, humidity off , cycle low.
- Winter: Keep system on, humidity to 40, cycle low
- Spring: Keep system on, humidity off, cycle low
- Test Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters, Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors. Do this monthly actually, but I’m putting this here because I’m sure most of you have never done this.
- Remove Air Conditioner Covers. Not much to it. If you properly handled winter, then you need to undo winter. You definitely don’t want to start your A/C while the cover is on.
- Clean the gutters. Probably one of the least enjoyable maintenance activities since it involves a ladder and is preventative, but it’s necessary to ensure water flow can properly run off your roof during rainy days. The good news is if you don’t live in the middle of a forest, and you’re consistent with it, the task itself shouldn’t take long.
- Check for damaged roofing and flashing. While you are up there, might as well scan the area for damage.
- Replace Fridge Water Filters. These are typically changed every 6 months. Some fridge’s have indicators to remind you, so you could work off that schedule if yours does.
- Turn Humidifier Off. Follow the instructions of your unit, but for mine I shut off the water valve, close the damper and turn the unit off.
- Clean Humidifier Filter. Great, another filter. Once your unit is off, you can take out the filter and give it a clean. Chances are the water has calcified and you’ll notice the filter coated with white crystals. Give this a nice clean.
- Clean HRV filter. Annnd, another one. Since I’m down in the HVAC area doing some cleaning, I just take out my HRV filters and clean the unit as well. You’ll want this clean and fresh for the summer. Good thing these are reusable.
- Turn on Humidifier. Basically undoing everything you did in the summer to shut it down. As the weather cools, you’ll want to get this ready for showtime.
- Replace Fridge Air Filter. Again, some fridges will have a built in warning system, but if not, this is a good reminder to do your annual swap. Fresh Air Filters keep your produce and food fresh longer, and your fridge from developing odours. They aren’t expensive, so worth a go here.
- Clean the gutters. Repeat of Spring activity. Those damn leaves.
- Check for damaged roofing and flashing. Again, one of those things you can do while up there.
- Service Furnace. Best practice is to service this annually, so I have this on my to do just before winter. I’m sure most of you have never serviced your furnace before, but if you wanted to, this would be the time.
Heading into the coldest season of the year, this is the time to double check and make sure your house is properly winterized.
- Shut off and drain all outdoor water valves. Most shutoffs are in the basement. Simply shut the water off, then go outside and drain the pipe. If you have exposed outdoor hoses, I’d advise to dismount them after they are drained and store them inside.
- Wrap Air Conditioner with Cover. Cover your unit with a cover. I slip an empty plastic container under the cover so the top is sloped vs flat. This way, winter snow can run off instead of pooling on top of the unit.
- Clean the tracks on your window / doors. You may have trapped debris over time clogging your tracks. It’s a good idea to tackle this before it gets too cold. Make sure your drain holes are clear and cleaned as well.
That’s it for now. Let me know if you have any suggestions that I could improve, or add to my maintenance schedule. As you can see, what may feel like a thousand things to do can be quite manageable if broken down to a weekend every season. Adulting, am I right?
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