This is a special guest post written by Mike Holmes. Lexis is a member of Holmes Approved Homes.
Your home is your biggest investment, so maintenance tasks are a must to make sure your home is safe and lasts longer. Keep on top of the small stuff, and your house will run like a well-oiled machine. Home maintenance can be intimidating. Maybe you have never changed your furnace filters, or perhaps you don’t know what to do if you see a foundation crack. So I, Mike Holmes, am here to guide you on what items should be on your home maintenance checklist to help you Make It Right!
Holmes Family: Left to Right, Sherry Holmes, Mike Holmes Jr., and Mike Holmes
Why is seasonal home maintenance important?
Don’t ignore small home maintenance tasks, as it could mean more grief and money put in your house down the road to fix a problem that could have been avoided. Like a regular health check-up, a home maintenance checklist is important for every home’s upkeep. Home maintenance keeps your home clean and your systems and appliances running longer. Even newly built homes need regular maintenance. And every season comes with its own list of maintenance items —filters for example should be changed every 3 months and once a month during the summer and winter.
What home improvements should you consider before summer?
#1 Inspect Your Deck
I’ve heard of many horror stories of deck collapses. As a homeowner, there are some signs of damage you can look out for:
- Ledger Board issues (Deck is improperly attached to the house)
- Visible rot
- Visible Cracks
- Insect Damage
- Rust on fasteners and connectors
- Loose Stairs Railing
- Rotten deck posts
- Wobbly deck
- Here is more information on inspecting a deck.
#2 Inspect Your Roof
Spring is a good time to add a new roof. Assess the damage that’s been done over the winter period. Look for curled or missing shingles, or granules gathering in the gutters —which can all cause water penetration problems.
Roofing contractors get booked up quickly, so spring is the best time to inspect your roof and book someone to come in and fix any problems.
#3 Reseal Your Asphalt Driveway
If you have an asphalt driveway, you can extend its lifespan by resealing it. Sealing your asphalt driveway will make it look new again and last longer. How often you reseal your driveway depends on the material, where you live, the climate, its installation, use and wear and tear; but as a guideline some pros suggest once every three years.
Summer Home Maintenance Checklist for The Outside Of Your Home
When I talk about home maintenance, most homeowners only think about the inside of their home, but the outside needs attention just as much (if not more). Remember, it’s what you do on the outside that will protect your home on the inside —and as I always say it’s best to work from the outside in. If you are thinking of doing any outdoor projects that will require hiring a contractor, like interlocking or re-grading, do not waste another minute. Start looking now before their schedules fill up!
#1 Plan Out Your Garden
Don’t Build a Garden Right Next To Your Home. Even the slightest shift in your grading can have a negative impact. If you are building a garden right next to your home, you will be disturbing the soil directly against your foundation.
With more airspace created by soil that’s not as firmly packed down, water has more opportunity to leak through to your basement. Water is your home’s #1 enemy, so it needs to drain away from your home’s exterior.
#2 Hire a Landscaping Professional
I’m a contractor, not a landscaper but I do care about landscaping. Why? Because landscaping affects a home on the inside, not just its curb appeal.
You can take on simple tasks such as painting, clearing yard waste and planting in your planters. But if your landscaping plans are more complicated than that, I recommend bringing in a professional.
For example, incorrectly laying down interlocking can create major issues. Without properly compacting the soil and gravel underneath the stone, that soil could sink, allowing water to pool – or worse, flow right toward your foundation.
A job done poorly on the outside of your home can actually cause big problems inside. I’ve seen this too many times.
Summer Home Maintenance Checklist for the Inside of Your Home
#1 Reverse the setting on your ceiling fans to counterclockwise.
Ceiling fans don’t make your air any cooler. However, running them counterclockwise allows the cool air to be pushed down. A ceiling fan, in conjunction, with your air conditioner, can help keep your thermostat a little higher. You will appreciate that extra circulation that will make you feel cool.
#2 Replace Your Furnace Filters
Our summers can get very hot, and that means running your AC frequently. Make sure you get your furnace serviced regularly. It will help keep the air in your home healthy and clean and use HEPA filters to help reduce allergy symptoms, too.
Mike Holmes Replacing a Furnace Filter
#3 Check the exterior of your home for possible entry points for pests
- Holes or cracks around window and door frames
- Holes in venting
- Tears in window and door screens
- Cracks in foundations, especially below windows and doorsteps.
Torn window screens should be repaired or replaced. If you have any visible gaps in your mortar or loose bricks (also known as tuck-pointing) get them refilled. I recommend hiring a professional, as this is a special skill that needs to be done properly.
#4 Analyze your home security system
Summer is a good time to evaluate your home’s security system. You may be going away on vacation, or you may be planning to be outside your house for extended periods of time. I am a big fan of smart security systems and smart lighting.
I also recommend installing automatic timers and motion sensors for both the interior and exterior.
#5 Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Check your smoke detectors and your CO detectors to make sure they are working. I recommend changing the batteries every season.
Mike Holmes Testing a Smoke Detector
#6 Clean Out Gutters and Downspouts
Remove any loose leaves and debris. Use a gutter scoop to remove any of the hard, stuck-on remnants. One thing I recommend is installing a gutter guard as it helps prevent buildup by catching big debris from getting into the gutter and clogging it up.
When your gutters are jammed, water can flow right over top, dropping it directly against your foundation – and that’s asking for trouble.
What is the most overlooked maintenance task in a house?
In my opinion and experience, homeowners often neglect to test their smoke detectors and CO2 detectors. I have seen a LOT of tragic incidents and I can not remind you enough -TEST TEST TEST.
What Home Reno Project Should Be Left To The Professionals?
When the projects go beyond DIY, hiring professionals is a safe choice. Here are some jobs you should leave to the pros:
- Repairing or installing a new roof
- Exterior waterproofing
- Electrical work (hire a Licensed Electrical Contractor)
- Plumbing (new or repairs)
- Installing water treatment systems
- Testing your indoor air quality
For more tips, check out these great guides by Mike Holmes!