Homeownership is something most people dream of—but the reality of home maintenance can be a lot more work than you expect!
That’s why we’ve compiled a home maintenance checklist for every month of the year. By spacing out the tasks throughout the year, it makes home upkeep easier. Plus, it helps you avoid major, expensive problems down the road. (Keeping up with the small things prevents them from becoming big things.)
This month-by-month checklist includes common tasks to do inside and outside your home—as well as tasks for pest control. (Yes, pest control is an important part of home maintenance! Fun fact: it’s so important for your health and welfare in your home, it’s included as part of “home maintenance and chores” defined in the Ohio legal code.)
Keep reading for part one of the checklist. Part two is coming later this month!
If there are any tasks beyond your skill set, it’s always a good idea to consider hiring a professional.
In August, we experience the dog days of summer. We’re sure you’d rather relax, but there are a few chores that are important to do this time of year.
- Clean your air conditioning filter (at least once a month).
- Prepare your home for extreme heat: check that the weather stripping around your doors and windows is intact. Close the blinds or curtains on windows that receive morning or afternoon sun to help keep your home cool.
- Mow your lawn regularly (not too short) and dig up weeds.
- Water your plants and deadhead your flowers that are past blooming.
- Check that your sprinklers are working correctly.
- Clean your pool.
- If you want to paint the exterior of your home, repair your deck, or do similar projects, now is a good time!
- Mosquitoes: Mosquitoes thrive in hot weather, so August is part of peak mosquito season. In addition to mowing your lawn regularly, you should remove sources of standing water in your lawn and clear debris outside. For a big mosquito problem, consider calling in the professionals to treat your lawn or water features.
- Stinging insects: Wasps and other stinging insects are also out in full force. To keep them away, we recommend draining standing water, covering garbage cans, and cleaning up food spills immediately when picnicking outdoors. If you have fruit trees, clean up fallen and decaying fruit on the ground promptly.
In September, summer begins to wind down (though we still have some hot days). While the weather is still nice, it’s a good idea to finish any gardening projects outside and do any indoor home improvement.
- If you plan on updating or painting a room in your home, this is a good time to do it!
- Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace batteries as needed.
- Get your chimney cleaned and inspected before you start to use it in winter.
- If you have central air, get the system serviced.
- If you have window units, either cover them (to protect them and prevent drafts) or remove them from the window and store them.
- Plant any perennials, trees, shrubs, or bulbs. Reseed your lawn.
- Clean, close, and cover your pool. (If you have a pool maintenance company, call them to do the job.)
- Check your roof for missing or damaged shingles or leaks.
- Stink bugs & Asian lady beetles: As the weather starts to cool, you’ll find these smelly bugs congregating indoors. While they aren’t dangerous, they are a nuisance! To keep them outside where they belong, take some time to seal up cracks and crevices around your home. Repair or replace screens that have holes, seal cracks using caulk or weatherstripping, and install screens on vents.
- Spiders: Spider mating season occurs in the fall, which is why so many homeowners see them more often in September and October. Spiders come out of hiding or wander into homes in search of mates and food. To keep spiders out, it helps to seal up cracks where they can enter (just as we mentioned for stink bugs and lady beetles). It also helps to keep your home free of other pests that spiders will want to prey on.
In October, with fall in full swing, it’s important to prep for winter.
- Get your furnace and HVAC system serviced. If you use steam heat, get an annual checkup for your boiler and radiators.
- Test your thermostat to ensure your heat is working. Make sure your heating vents are open and nothing is blocking them.
- Check your windows and doors for drafts. Use caulk and weatherstripping wherever needed.
- Install storm windows and storm doors to keep the heat in and cold out.
- If you have a fireplace you plan to use, stock up on firewood now.
- Cockroaches: Cockroaches thrive in the heat, so you might think they’re just a summer pest. However, when the weather starts to cool, that’s when they head indoors! If you’ve done some pest-proofing in September (sealing up cracks, installing screens, etc.), this will help keep them out. In addition, it’s a good idea to keep food securely stored, wipe down countertops, vacuum/sweep regularly and take out your trash often. Also, we recommend fixing any water leaks. These tasks make sure your home isn’t offering roaches a buffet.
- Check your air filters and replace them as needed.
- Get your dryer vent inspected and cleaned by an HVAC specialist. (Most clothes dryer fires happen in the fall and winter, according to the U.S. Fire Administration!)
- Rake and bag fallen leaves (or mow over them once weekly to break them down).
- Clean your gutters and inspect them for any issues that need repaired.
- Drain and shut off your outdoor faucets before the first freeze.
- Roll up and store any outdoor hoses.
- Shut down your sprinkler system for the winter.
- Make sure your snow blower or snow shovel is in good working order.
- If you have a generator, make sure it’s in good condition and that you have fuel available.
- Termites: Termites are a problem 12 months a year. However, it’s a good idea to be extra cautious starting in November. Keep firewood in stacks away from the foundation of your home. Make sure that mulch isn’t touching your home’s foundation, either. Also, remove debris like cardboard boxes and crap lumber away from your house. If you suspect termites, we strongly recommend a professional inspection!
- Prevent frozen and burst pipes: your outdoor faucets should already be shut off and drained (see November’s to-dos). After that, insulate pipes where you can and keep your thermostat at a steady temperature. If you travel for the holidays, the American Red Cross recommends setting your thermostat to 55 degrees at minimum.
- Stock up on salt and emergency supplies in case of storms—including canned food and bottled water, batteries, flashlights, a radio, a first-aid kit, and medicines.
- Inspect the exterior of your house (along your roof) for ice accumulation. Rake away snow and ice with a roof rake. (Icicles might be pretty, but the resulting ice dams can damage your gutters, shingles, and siding—not to mention cause water backup into your house!)
- Rodents: Mice, rats, and other rodents are a common winter pest problem: they come inside in search of food, warmth, and shelter from the elements. (Don’t think that you’re safe from rodents if you have a cat or dog, either!) Just like with fall pests, sealing up cracks and crevices can help keep them out. In addition, it’s a good idea to put pantry items in glass or metal containers. (Mice can chew through paper, cardboard, plastic, and wood!) Mouse traps placed out of reach of kids and pets may also be necessary.
- During thaws, check your basement for any leaks.
- As needed, change filters on your heating system. If you have a boiler, keep an eye on the water levels in your boiler so they don’t get too low.
- Shovel and de-ice as needed.
- After storms, check your roof, gutters, and downspouts for any damage that needs to be repaired.
- Bed bugs: Come January, it’s a good idea to stay on guard for bed bugs. That’s because, though bed bugs are a year-round problem, the winter poses a higher risk for catching bed bugs. All of the traveling many people tend to do around the holiday season—taking flights, staying in hotels, having family visit, etc.—can expose you to hitchhiking bed bugs. When traveling, make sure to inspect the bed and surroundings for bed bugs. When you get home, be sure to wash and dry your items immediately. After the end of the holiday season, stay vigilant for signs of bed bugs to catch an infestation early.
Need Help with Pest Control?
Many home maintenance tasks just require a little bit of knowledge and elbow grease. Pest control, however, can sometimes require the help of the professionals!
If you have a pest infestation—from termites, to bed bugs, to rodents, and more—we’re here for you.
Contact Scherzinger Pest Control, a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We’ve been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or through our website, Facebook, or Twitter.