Regular care can help prevent potential issues, which is why we schedule car tune-ups, dental visits and health exams. Our homes—most people’s single-largest investment—deserve the same attention. While household tasks can be daunting, breaking them down into seasons can help lighten the load.
INDOOR WINTER TO-DOS
- Start with the heating system. you don’t have a regular maintenance plan, schedule a cleaning and inspection—and look into securing a regular plan.
- Experts recommend changing your filter every quarter. If you have indoor allergies or frequently use a woodstove or fireplace, change it more often.
- If you have steam heat, you’ll need a plumber for regular maintenance. The most important task is to drain water to prevent sediment buildup.
- If you augment your system with space heaters, place them away from flammable objects, such as drapes and furniture. Never leave the units unattended.
- Household thermostat wars can get ugly, so agree on set temperatures. Energy.gov recommends 68 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re awake in the house. Lower it at night and when you are away. If you’re traveling, set the thermostat no lower than 55 degrees.
- Winter is a great time to pay attention to drafts around doors and windows. Use caulk or weatherstrip as needed.
- Pipes can freeze and burst in winter. Look for signs, such as low or no water pressure and damp drywall. Insulate exposed pipes near an exterior wall and keep sink cabinets open during a cold snap to help keep the pipe warm.
- When it’s cold, mice and other creatures like to find refuge in your home. Stay alert to the signs of pest infestation, such as mice droppings or scratching in the walls.
OUTDOOR WINTER TO-DOS
- The primary mission this season is to remove snow and ice from driveway and walkways. Slick spots are a safety hazard. Check your snowblower, stock up on ice melt, and make sure shovels are in good repair. (If you are a pet owner, be careful with ice melt as pets can ingest it; follow the ASPCA’s recommendations.)
- Severe weather can result in ice dams on the roof and in the gutter that can cause leaks and water damage. Use a snow rake to remove fresh snow from the roof.
- If you have a generator, test-run it even when it’s not snowing. Don’t wait until a power outage.
INDOOR SPRING TO-DOS
- Many cultures embrace periodic whole house—or deep—cleanings. Americans tend to do it in the spring. While washing windows, replace storm windows with screens. Also, tidy the attic before it gets hot.
- Spring and summer can mean heavy rain, so, test your basement’s sump pump to make sure it can handle the water.
- Now is the time for air conditioner maintenance. Come August, you’ll be thankful you did it.
OUTDOOR SPRING TO-DOS
- The bulk of your chores this season will take place outside. You turned off your outdoor taps for winter. Now is the time to turn the taps back on, attach the hose and look for leaks that can waste water.
- With the hose in working order, clean the deck, patio, outdoor furniture and siding. Or hire a professional to power wash.
- Remove debris from beds, outdoor spaces, gutters and the foundation, where brush and weeds can attract pests. Give the masonry, roof, siding and driveway the once-over for cracks and damage.
- When you put the snowblower and shovels to bed, take out the lawnmower and other yard tools before you need them—the lawnmower may require service. If you prefer a manicured lawn, consult Lowes blog on seeding.
- Now, prepare the beds: weed, plant annuals, water well and mulch. Remove any dead or diseased tree limbs, and consult an arborist or tree removal company when needed.
- If you have a pool, you may need a pool company to open it, test the water and ensure the equipment is functioning.
INDOOR SUMMER TO-DOS
- When the temperatures climb, set the ceiling fans to spin counterclockwise, creating a downward breeze, and change AC filters to improve performance.
OUTDOOR SUMMER TO-DOS
- Proper watering will ensure your beds stay beautiful. The amount and frequency will depend on the climate and the plant. But in general, water deeply in the morning. Keep up with the weeds; you may need to do it weekly or more often. And make sure weeds aren’t impeding the AC unit’s function.
- Don’t give the grass a buzz cut when it’s hot and dry. Longer grass is better for the roots.
INDOOR FALL TO-DOS
- For many, autumn is about preparing for cold weather. Schedule maintenance for your heater, chimney and woodstove.
- More than 17,000 chimney fires happen each year, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, so check your detection and alarm systems. Also, remove excess lint from the dryer vent to avoid fire hazards.
OUTDOOR FALL TO-DOS
- Wash and store outdoor furniture. Then, drain outdoor faucets, shut off the water to the taps, and store the hoses.
- Instead of raking, shred leaves with a mulching mower, and let them nourish the lawn and beds; however, you’ll still need to remove leaves from the foundation and gutters.
- Fall is still an excellent time to plant bulbs, trees and perennials, including hydrangeas. The activity puts the focus on the spring to come.