15 Essential Home Maintenance Tasks You Might Be Overlooking


Owning a home is a rewarding experience, but it comes with its share of responsibilities. While some maintenance tasks are hard to ignore because they stare you in the face—like a leaky faucet or a broken window—others are more in the category of “out of sight, out of mind” and easy to forget. If not attended to regularly, these overlooked tasks can quietly cause significant damage and lead to costly repairs. Here, we outline 15 vital home maintenance tasks that, if forgotten, can lead to significant headaches down the road. 

Clean Gutters Regularly


When leaves and debris accumulate and clog gutters, causing blockages that prevent proper water drainage, this can wreak havoc on your home in the form of overflows. Overflowing gutters can also lead to mold, mildew, and rot, compromising your home’s structural and aesthetic integrity. Ensure the water flows freely by cleaning them at least once a month, especially in the spring and fall. 

Inspect the Roof twice a year.


A well-maintained roof is the focal point for preserving your home’s overall habitability because it acts as the primary shield against the elements, protecting it from rain, snow, and harsh sunlight. Damaged shingles or leaks can quickly escalate into significant problems, such as damp walls and mold growth. Schedule a professional inspection bi-annually to catch problems early and address them promptly. 

Service the HVAC System


Heating and cooling systems require regular check-ups to ensure optimal performance and efficiency. Filters should be replaced, and ducts should be cleaned every few months to maintain clean air circulation and reduce strain on the system. Professional servicing, ideally before the heating and cooling seasons, ensures all components function correctly and can help pick out potential issues before they become significant problems.

Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors


For your home’s safety from fire incidences and air poisoning, functional smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are essential. Batteries should be replaced annually, and it’s recommended that each device be tested monthly to confirm it works properly. Install new detectors if any are outdated or malfunctioning, as these devices are your first line of defense in an emergency. 

Drain the Water Heater


Continued water heater use leads to sediment buildup, which reduces efficiency and can cause damage over time. Keeping the tank drained at least once a year ensures the heater operates efficiently and lasts longer. This process improves performance and can lower energy bills, as the heater doesn’t have to work as hard. 

Seal Windows and Doors


Unsealed windows and doors become drafty, which can significantly increase your energy bills by allowing heat to escape in the winter. Sealing gaps and cracks can improve your home’s insulation, making it more energy-efficient and comfortable year-round. Applying weatherstripping and caulk can make a noticeable difference that would preserve your home.

Maintain the Lawn and Garden


Lawn and garden maintenance transcends the aesthetic appeal it is usually intended for, especially with trees in the garden. Removing dead branches and debris enhances the appearance of your yard and also prevents accidents and pest infestations. Creating a routine for mowing, trimming, and weeding would help prevent overgrowths that may affect the building structure and maintain aesthetic appeal.

Clean Dryer Vents

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An often ignored fire hazard is lint and debris buildup in dryer vents. In addition to the more glaring reduction in your dryer’s efficiency, cleaning the vent regularly, ideally once a year, ensures safe operation. Dryer debris, being crisp and highly flammable, could easily cause a fire outbreak if there’s an electric malfunction of the dyer.

Inspect Plumbing for Leaks

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A pitfall for most homeowners is waiting for a significant leak to be fixed before plumbing services are engaged. It should be noted that some leaks may not be visible or only become visible when they have escalated. Consistent inspections under sinks, around toilets, and near appliances for signs of leaks or water damage are proactive routines that can save you money and discomfort.

Test the Sump Pump


For homes with a basement, a functioning sump pump is essential for preventing basement flooding, especially during heavy rains or snowmelt. Check your sump pump before the rains begin to ensure it will work when you need it. Maintaining the pump’s intake screen during the rainy season, including cleaning any debris, helps it function properly.

Clean the Refrigerator Coils


The refrigerator is one of the most ignored appliances in a home—and the one with the potential to be most missed. Dusty and dirty refrigerator coils force the appliance to work harder, reducing its efficiency and lifespan. Using a vacuum brush to clean the coils, typically located either behind or beneath the refrigerator, improves its performance and lowers energy bills. 

Test Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)

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Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) prevent electrical shocks, especially in wetness-prone areas like bathrooms and kitchens. Schedule monthly drills where you press the “test” button to check that the device trips, then press the “reset” button to restore power. Properly functioning GFCIs protect your family from electrical hazards which may lead to severe injuries. 

Maintain Garage Doors

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Garage doors can pass for heavy machinery in the home, and a well-functioning garage door is essential for safety, security, and convenience. Make it a point of call to Inspect the door’s balance and lubricate its moving parts to avoid mishaps that could put humans or cars at risk of accidents. Test the auto-reverse feature and replace worn-out springs and other components as needed to prevent malfunctions.

Service the Chimney


A well-maintained chimney allows you to enjoy a cozy fireplace (and provides a safer space for Santa Claus to slide in at Christmas). A clean chimney guarantees the safe operation of your fireplace, preventing dangerous buildups of soot and creosote that can lead to chimney fires. Besides securing the chimney cap, schedule a yearly inspection and deep-cleaning by a professional to maintain optimal functionality. 

Inspect the Foundation

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Cracks in your home’s foundation can lead to severe structural issues if not addressed promptly. Perform routine inspections of your foundation’s interior and exterior for cracks or water seepage. Address small cracks early by filling them with appropriate sealant to prevent further deterioration. Set up drainage at strategic points around your home to prevent water from pooling near the foundation, which can exacerbate problems.


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