Year-end home maintenance checklist


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As another year comes to a close, many of us are preoccupied with holiday decorating, entertaining, travel and other year-end diversions. But don’t wait for something to go wrong this season — and remember Murphy’s Law — to take care of necessary maintenance around the house.

Many up-keep tasks are recommended for your home annually — so if you can’t recall having done these jobs in 2012, now’s your last chance.


Check your foundation

Experts recommend checking your foundation a couple of times per year. Walk around the house, taking note of any small cracks (these are normal), and be on the lookout for widening cracks. Use caulk to patch small cracks or any other openings in the foundation where pipes enter or leave your home. If left unattended, these cracks could allow water and ice into your foundation.


Seal windows and doors

While you’ve got the caulk out, seal any open spaces around window frames or doors. Add weatherstripping to prevent heat loss through the gaps where windows and doors open and close. Don’t forget about the garage door and basement windows!


Clean your gutters and downspouts

Get all those fall leaves out of your gutters before they start causing any problems — like sending water into your foundation and basement instead of away from the home. While you’ve got the ladder out, take care of any other leaks or repairs the gutters may need.


Take care of roof maintenance

While you can hop up on the roof yourself to look for missing or damaged tiles, it’s recommended to leave repairs and annual maintenance to a professional. Take care of this now so your roof doesn’t spring a leak during a winter snowstorm. While you’re at it, have your chimney checked and maintained as well.


Check your siding for repairs

For wood siding, be on the lookout for any holes or rot, and be sure to first treat the cause of the damage before repairing it. If you have peeling paint, repaint the affected areas so that the underlying wood is sealed and protected from the elements.


Upkeep air conditioning and heat

Clean air conditioning vents and make sure they aren’t blocked by dust or debris. Have your heating system checked by a pro each year as well.


Test your detectors

Test the batteries in all your household smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. (If you have kids, now is also a good time to review what they should do in case of a fire.)


Be ready for anything

While we’re talking fire safety, go ahead and restock and refresh your disaster supplies kit and your first aid kit. Be sure you’ve got any other supplies you might need in case of a winter power outage (like flashlights, candles, firewood, etc.).


Check your porch and deck

Look for any rot or damage to your porch or deck, including supports. Be sure stairs and railings are in good shape as well. If your deck needs to be sealed or treated, do so now while it’s nice and cool, rather than waiting for summer temps. Clean your outdoor furniture, and if you live in a cool climate, store it for the season.