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Man maintaining home by removing leaves from gutter

Your year-round home maintenance checklist

It can be a struggle juggling work and family life, not to mention looking after a property. This handy home maintenance checklist gives you seasonal advice on the jobs you need to keep on top of each year.

Spring

Interior

Spring is traditionally a time for cleaning, but there are also some handy house checks you can do at the same time. In the living room and bedrooms, move furniture out from the walls to check for signs of damp and to allow air to circulate. While blitzing the bathroom, give extractor fans a good clean and check they’re in good working order. Check all the seals around baths and shower trays to remove any signs of mould and check for cracks. Reapply sealant, if necessary, to prevent leaks. At the same time, replace washers on any leaky taps. If you’re cleaning doors and windows, double check that all your locks are in good working order and test any security alarms. While you’re at it, test smoke alarms too and replace any low batteries.

Exterior

If the weather has been particularly stormy over winter, your roof – being the most exposed part of your house – may have some damage. If it’s safe to do so, check there are no cracked or loose slates or tiles, or damaged flashing. These are a priority to fix, as if left unchecked, could lead to water damage to your home. If you have a chimney, visually inspect the outer structure to check it is still in good condition. Check all your gutters, downpipes and drains are cleared, removing any twigs, leaves or debris which may have fallen into them.

Garden

Spring is a good time to give garden fences and gates a fresh coat of paint or wood stain and to repair any weather damage. It’s also a time to tidy the garden by clearing dead leaves and branches. If you didn’t manage to prune back trees, bushes and plants before winter, now is the chance to do it before they start fresh growth again. Make sure your garden tools are in good repair after a winter in the shed or garage by giving them a thorough wipe with lubricant oil. If you plan on putting new plants in the ground this year, prepare the soil by mixing it with compost or well-rotted manure. Get ahead of garden pests, too, by following the Royal Horticultural Society’s tips.

Summer

Interior

Warmer weather means that heating will be turned down or switched off, so it’s a good time to bleed radiators to remove any air bubbles. Check your boiler service record too and book a check with a certified installer. In summer it’s important to keep the inside of your home well ventilated, so open windows to air rooms and prevent moisture from developing. If you have a fireplace, August is a good time to give your chimney flue a good sweep, as nesting birds will have fled the roost.

Exterior

A period of warm, dry weather is perfect for painting, so touch up doors, exterior walls and windows. Just remember to clean off any mould first and repair any cracks in render, as painting over them won’t fix the problem. Then, give your windows a good wash. Avoid using too many soapy suds which will leave streaks. Instead, for a homemade solution, combine two tablespoons of white vinegar with a bucket of warm water. Once dry, buff the windows with old newspaper for a gleaming finish.

Garden

Summer is certainly the best time to enjoy garden spaces, but they need a little bit of maintenance too. As well as remembering to water plants, particularly potted ones that can dry out very quickly, prune back late-spring flowering plants and shrubs as soon as the flowers have fallen. This will encourage regrowth the following year. If you’ve got wooden decking, summer is a good time to give it a good clean by sweeping and then hosing it down or using a pressure washer. Apply an appropriate decking treatment, stain or oil to keep it in mint condition.

Autumn

Interior

Get your home ready for winter by using lagging to insulate pipes, which will prevent hot water pipes from losing their heat. While you’re at it, check your stopcock by turning it on and off again to prevent the tap from becoming stiff. If it is tough to turn, give it a spray with WD40 to loosen it up. Autumn is also a great time to identify and plug any draughts before it gets too chilly. If your house isn’t double glazed then weatherstripping tape is a good investment. Attach it between the frame and the moving parts of the window or door to stop air coming in. Weatherstripping tape can also be used to seal around unused loft hatches. If you have an unused fireplace, get a builder to cap the chimney. For more ways to cut your energy bills and keep the heat in with an open fireplace click here.

Exterior

Autumn is a beautiful time of year but falling leaves can wreak havoc with outdoor gutters and downpipes. Rid them of debris, then pour a bucket of water down afterwards to make sure they’re clear. Check drains, lifting covers and gratings to look for blockages and, if needed, use rods to remove any blockages. Take care while doing this and be sure to contact a professional if the blockage cannot be easily cleared. Also, drain garden hoses and disconnect from outside taps before storing them away. With the darker nights drawing in, it’s also useful to check your property is secure. Test burglar alarms, security lights and CCTV, if you have them, and ensure all entrances and gates to your property have robust locks.

Garden

As the weather starts to turn, give garden and outdoor cooking equipment like BBQs a thorough clean and make sure they’re dry, before stowing them away in a shed or garage. If you’ve got a greenhouse or outbuilding, clear out old plants and pots and give it a general declutter ready for next year. Trim back bushes and trees and remove any dead branches that could potentially cause damage during a winter storm. If you’ve got outdoor plants in pots, raise them off the ground to prevent them getting waterlogged. Regularly sweep decking and driveways of fallen leaves too, as they can become dangerous slip hazards when wet.

Winter

Interior

Exclude draughts and save money on heating bills by putting up thicker curtains with a good lining. Condensation can build up when the heating is on and it’s cold outside, so make sure you wipe down window frames and sills to keep them dry and prevent mould. Remember to also keep an eye on pipes for cracks and leaks, particularly after cold weather. If you’re going away for Christmas or New Year keep your heating on low or set to go on for a short period each day. This will prevent water freezing in the pipes and your home from getting damp.

Exterior

Keep an eye on roofs and exterior walls after bouts of stormy or windy weather and action repairs quickly to prevent further damage. As in autumn, regularly clear your drains and gutters to prevent a build-up of water. If you have outdoor water pipes, make sure these are insulated to prevent freezing.

Garden

If a storm is forecast, tie down or move any rubbish bins, outdoor garden furniture and children’s play equipment, such as trampolines, well in advance. Also check fences to minimise the risk of them blowing down in bad weather. Keep on top of tidying, by clearing away any fallen twigs or branches, and remember to cut back any precarious looking trees that could prove dangerous in a storm.

You may also like to read our article on easy ways to cut your energy bills here.

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