What's on your home maintenance calendar?
October 31, 2014 9:10 AM   Subscribe

I have a Google Calendar set up for different home maintenance tasks that benefit from being scheduled out (i.e., things that aren't necessarily visible, like "mow the lawn"). It's been just a few months since I moved in to my house and I haven't filled out the list as much as I'd like. What's on your home maintenance calendars that I might not be thinking about?

Right now, the list just has ticklers for cleaning the compressor coils on the fridge, cleaning the range hood filters, baking soda and vinegar to keep the drains clear, citrus peels to keep the disposals fresh, and a couple of other odds and ends. I know as well that people advise changing your smoke detector batteries when changing your clocks. And we have a water filter system in our house that needs to be changed every once in a while (and is long overdue). I'm sure I should be changing my furnace filter, and I know my alarm company recommends I take the system off line once a month, trigger an alarm to make sure the panel is working, and then bring it back on line.

Obviously, we're mowing / raking the lawn and things like that when we see it--but I wonder what I might be overlooking in terms of periodic preventative maintenance that calendar scheduling might be good for.

Are there good habit you've gotten into with your house? I.e., check fuses every month, clean bathroom ventilation fans every quarter, flush the ice maker line weekly, check the sump pump every other month, etc. Annual stuff is good too, but it's easier to remember "turn off sprinklers in the fall" than the bi-weekly stuff.
posted by Admiral Haddock to Home & Garden (24 answers total) 113 users marked this as a favorite
Depending on where you live, cleaning the gutters might be a seasonally frequent task.
posted by scratch at 9:15 AM on October 31, 2014 [3 favorites]

If you have a rarely-used bathroom or bathroom fixture (for example, the shower in our guest bathroom is rarely used), it's good to flush the toilet and run water down the drains periodically.

If you have ceiling fans, they should be dusted periodically - it's hard to see the dust that collects on the top. Also the direction on the fans should be switched seasonally.
posted by muddgirl at 9:16 AM on October 31, 2014 [3 favorites]

We change the furnace filter every three months. It also drives the air conditioning, so year round is a must. We change the filter in the whole house humidifier once in the fall.

Once a year, I clean out the dryer vent.
posted by advicepig at 9:25 AM on October 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you have a fireplace, and you use it, the chimney needs to be swept yearly.
posted by fancyoats at 9:27 AM on October 31, 2014

My washer/dryer is rubbish and goes a little bit on fire now and then if we don't run a maintenance wash (basically a hot, empty wash cycle) about once a month.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 9:29 AM on October 31, 2014

I do the same thing, mostly smaller stuff, but it's the small stuff I forget. Here's the things I haven't seen mentioned:

Rotate your mattress every couple of months and vacuum it every-month.
Clean your switch\plug plates every other month (or so).
Dust\vacuum the baseboard monthly.
If you've got windows that open side to side vacuum out the track they slide on occasionally.
Check the hinges on your doors a couple times a year, those pins can start to creep.
If you have plants, you may want to rotate them once a month or so. Otherwise they might start to grow towards the nearest window. Our 20 year old norfolk island pine was stationary for 15 of those 20 years and leans out a good three feet to one side.
posted by Gygesringtone at 9:37 AM on October 31, 2014 [4 favorites]

Butcher block kitchen counters, bane of my existence, are wiped down with linseed oil once a month.
posted by BurntHombre at 9:40 AM on October 31, 2014

Your dishwasher has nooks and crannies that fill up with horrors (small panels that pull out for cleaning, tubes, under the bottom lip of the door, etc... that everyone doesn't know about until it gets moldy and nasty.

check them out if you haven't already, clean them out and then run a empty wash of vinegar every couple of months.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 9:49 AM on October 31, 2014 [3 favorites]

Blow out the sprinkler system before the first hard freeze.

Bring it all back up in the spring after the last hard freeze. This also a good time to make sure it's all working correctly.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 9:54 AM on October 31, 2014

Aerate and overseed the lawn in the fall.
Flush your water heater once a month to remove sediment.
Cover your A/C compressor before the first snow.
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:23 AM on October 31, 2014

Annual termite inspection (if you live in an area with termites)
Check hot water heater and drain it and refill it
Go through pantry for outdated food, etc.
posted by govtdrone at 10:24 AM on October 31, 2014

Check washing machine hoses for evidence of leaks and physical condition, and cycle the isolation valves a few times to make sure they aren't (and don't get) stuck. I do the same valve thing with the main water shutoff valve for the house.

In the summer, check for wasps' nests. I don't mind finding those when they're small, but after the time a HUGE one found me, now I check.
posted by ctmf at 10:24 AM on October 31, 2014

If you have a septic tank you need to periodically add something like RID
posted by govtdrone at 10:27 AM on October 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Washer/Dryer preventative maintenance:

Deep clean lint traps, clean outside vent hose, remove lint from flaps and hinges.
Run a cleaning cycle on your washer w/bleach, clean drain hose traps.
If you have a front-loader, clean all door seals and unclog drain holes. Clean drain filter.
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:32 AM on October 31, 2014

Copied from my list ( some of them are copied from gardening columns, thus the formal wording):

clean washing machine (monthly)

Schedule maintenance check-up with Sears for the microwave, washer, dryer, fridge, dishwasher, oven (Annual)

Cut old fronds off Western sword ferns (February)

Turn on irrigation thingy (May)

Turn off irrigation thingy (October)

Furnace check-up and filter change (annual)

Cut back rose bush branches that stick out into the path (October)

"give your rose its annual 'Buhner' buzz cut" - Ciscoe (February)

Apply an organic-lawn food to the grass (late April)

Apply a synthetic, slow release fall- and winter-lawn fertilizer before December

cut sedums back by two thirds (May)

Prune the St.John's Wort Hypericum inodorum 'Kolmarest' in late winter after the treat of extreme cold has passed. (February)
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:38 AM on October 31, 2014

Wow, this is so grown up. I'm on my second house and I have no idea. It would be enormously helpful to have a generic home maintenance calendar with items like this pre-populated. Maybe a Google calendar, or something like that? Pretty please?

It's May 31 - Mefites everywhere are checking their washing machine hoses and cutting their sedums back (??)
posted by RedOrGreen at 1:03 PM on October 31, 2014 [5 favorites]

I always forget to run the gas out of the mower once mowing season is done.
posted by Twicketface at 4:11 PM on October 31, 2014

I try to do most things quarterly, and use the equinox/solstices to remind myself. For instance, turn mattresses head to foot on equinox, flip over mattresses on solstices. Every three months: Replace Brita water filter. Change furnace filter (during winter). Clean lint from everywhere in dryer. Vacuum fridge coils. Empty cat box completely and scrub and sanitize.

Regular preventative maintenance can save more money -- and trouble -- than you would believe. We have a 1992 car with 317,000 miles on it, going strong, and our mechanic attributes it to my obsessive oil changes every 3,000 miles (okay, it's an early Saturn, which helps). Change the oil in your car. Get your furnace cleaned once a year. Clean your gutters at least once a year, depending on your house and your trees. Check your roof for loose/lost shingles after winter & spring storms. Clean your washer and dryer, and check the condition of the hoses, once a year. Nobody's going to do everything they "should" but every bit you do helps your home.
posted by kestralwing at 5:31 PM on October 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Mine doesn't exist but I've often thought about creating one. There are websites/apps like Brightnest that seem really useful. A lot of websites also offer free templates(i think they call them printables more often than tempates) for this and also tons of other useful organization tools. Apparently home organization binders are quite popular.

I usually research the fuck out of every thingi want to do or my boyfriend wants to do... Decide which to go with, and then talk about doing it for a very long time but never vet farther than that until anxiety or necessity make it happen. I definitely don't suggest this method, but.. That's my method
posted by soitgoes at 1:11 AM on November 1, 2014

I use the Reminders application on my computer and phone, and it does the job (despite a terrible interface). One good thing about using a To Do list, rather than a calendar, is that it sits there taunting me until I get around to doing the dumb things I gotta do. When I use a calendar I forget about the tasks as soon as the new month starts.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:39 AM on November 1, 2014

I never did get a to-do list app that could handle routines to my liking. I've started using OneNote as my GTD-hybrid system and put routine checklists in tables, rows for tasks and columns for dates. So my daily checklist is actually a week's worth of 'day' columns side by side, the weekly items in four or five columns, one per week, etc. Instead of a checkmark, I enter the date when I accomplish something.

It's twice as shaming when I can see at a glance how long it's been since I actually did that "daily" task.
posted by ctmf at 2:43 PM on November 1, 2014

And now that I'm home and reading my list, I see a couple more:
check oil level in cars (and check mileage to see if it needs changing)
shampoo carpets
grease the garage door opener
posted by ctmf at 2:49 PM on November 1, 2014

RedOrGreen: Lifehacker has one for you! "How to Put Your Home Maintenance on Auto-Pilot and Keep Your Pad from Turning into a Money Pit" Better yet, it's already in GCal format!

Some of these tips are good for renters, too. I do a lot of small home maintenance tasks around my place because it keeps it in good condition, and the less I bug the maintenance staff for small stuff, the better they respond when it comes to the larger stuff.
posted by cardinality at 6:28 PM on November 1, 2014 [5 favorites]

Buy a new blade for your bow saw every spring.

You do own a bow saw don't you, and if you don't why not? Best yard tool ever.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 11:53 AM on November 2, 2014

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