Make an Annual Home Maintenance Calendar

Owning a home is rewarding, but it also involves a lot of work. Taking some time at the start of the year to plot out all the little tasks that go into maintaining a safe and comfortable home will keep you organized. Plus, planning ahead can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed while ensuring nothing falls through the cracks.

Give yourself a few minutes to fill your calendar with a year's worth of reminders for keeping your home in shipshape. Here are some of the jobs you won't want to forget:

  • Change or clean your HVAC filters. Most disposable filters should be changed monthly, but some pleated filters are advertised as lasting longer. Reusable filters should be cleaned every month.
  • Schedule annual HVAC maintenance. If you have both a furnace and air conditioner, you should have a professional visit twice a year to inspect your system and perform preventative maintenance. Air conditioners should be maintained in the spring, before it gets hot, and furnaces in late summer, before it gets cold.
  • Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Each detector should be tested monthly, and backup batteries should be replaced every six months. All detectors also have expiration dates, so if any of yours will be expiring next year, make a note to replace them on time.
  • Start your spring gardening. Pick a date to get fresh flowers, plants and herbs in the dirt, and consult the new year's Farmer's Almanac if you're not sure when the timing is right. You can also choose a day in late fall to pull up old plants and winterize your garden.
  • Trim the trees. It's best to do this during the colder months, because it's easier to assess and trim troublesome branches when the leaves are on the ground. If you prefer to hire an arborist for this job, go ahead and beat the crowd by making your appointment early.
  • Maintain your sprinkler system. Most buried sprinklers should be winterized each fall and dewinterized each spring. The exact time to do this depends on the precipitation in your area, as mother nature may take care of some of the watering for you.
  • Clean the gutters. It's important to do this every fall, but it doesn't hurt to do it twice a year, especially if you have lots of trees near your home.
  • Maintain your pool. If you have a swimming pool, choose a date in late spring to treat the water, change the filters and perform other start-of-season tasks. Pick another date in late summer or early fall to clean and cover your pool for winter.
  • Schedule chimney maintenance. A dirty chimney can be a real fire hazard. If you have an active fireplace, hire a pro to inspect and clean your chimney by early fall to make sure you're ready for the cozy season.
  • Change your ceiling fan direction. Remember to spin them counterclockwise in warm weather to create a cooling downdraft, then reverse them to clockwise in cold weather to help distribute warmer air.
  • Schedule the exterminator. If you have a professional treat your home annually to prevent insect infestations, get them on the books early to beat the rush.
  • Deep clean your appliances. At least once a year, give every major appliance some thorough TLC. You can spread these jobs out across your calendar to make them more manageable, or cluster them together for a major spring cleaning blitz.

Check out our Learning Center for more helpful tips on caring for your home.