The Definitive Seasonal Home Maintenance Checklist

The Definitive Seasonal Home Maintenance Checklist

Seasonal home maintenance is critical for ensuring the longevity and efficiency of a home’s heating and plumbing systems. In Alaska, where harsh weather conditions can take a toll on residential properties, regular upkeep becomes even more essential. Homeowners must stay ahead of potential issues by following a comprehensive maintenance routine tailored to the unique challenges posed by the Alaskan climate. This checklist offers a step-by-step guide for maintaining heating systems, plumbing, and overall home safety throughout the year.

Spring Maintenance

  1. Check and Clean Gutters
  2. Clear debris from gutters and downspouts to prevent water damage. Ensure water flows away from the foundation to avoid flooding and structural issues.
  3. Inspect and Test Sump Pump
  4. Test the sump pump to ensure it functions correctly. Clean the sump pit to remove any debris that could block the pump. Consider installing a backup power source in case of power outages. Check entire crawlspace for any standing water or dampness.
  5. Examine Exterior Plumbing for Leaks or Damage
  6. Inspect outdoor faucets, pipes, and hoses for any signs of leaks, cracks, or damage caused by freezing temperatures. Replace or repair damaged components to prevent water wastage and further damage.
  7. Inspect Furnace and Air Ducts
  8. Check the furnace for any signs of wear or damage. Clean air ducts to improve airflow and indoor air quality. Replace or clean furnace filters regularly to maintain efficiency.
  9. Schedule Professional HVAC Inspection
  10. Hire a professional to inspect the entire HVAC system. This includes checking for potential issues, ensuring proper functioning, and performing any necessary maintenance tasks. Regular professional inspections help extend the life of the system and prevent costly repairs.

Summer Maintenance

  1. Test and Flush Water Heater
  2. Drain and flush the water heater to help reduce sediment buildup. Check all connections, the pan, and pipes for signs on corrosion, leaks, or other water damage.
  3. Inspect and Clean Outdoor Faucets and Hoses
  4. Check outdoor faucets and hoses for leaks or damage. Clean them thoroughly to prevent blockages and ensure proper water flow.
  5. Inspect Insulation in Attic and Crawl Spaces
  6. Examine insulation for signs of wear, moisture, or pest infestation. Replace or repair damaged insulation to maintain energy efficiency.
  7. Clean and Inspect Furnace Filters
  8. Replace or clean furnace filters regularly to ensure optimal airflow and efficiency. Regular filter maintenance reduces strain on the system, improves indoor air quality, and helps prevent furnace failure. It’s recommended that disposable filters be changed, and cleanable filters cleaned, at minimum, every 3-6 months.
  9. Check for Signs of Mold or Mildew
  10. Inspect areas prone to moisture, such as basements, crawlspaces, bathrooms, and kitchens, for mold or mildew. Address any issues promptly to prevent health hazards and structural damage.

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Fall Maintenance

  1. Inspect and Clean Chimney and Fireplace
  2. Check the chimney for blockages, cracks, or buildup. Clean the fireplace and chimney to ensure safe operation. Hire a professional for a thorough inspection and cleaning if necessary.
  3. Test Heating System
  4. Turn on the heating system to ensure it operates correctly. Listen for unusual noises and check for uneven heating. Address any issues before the colder months set in.
  5. Check and Seal Drafts in Windows and Doors
  6. Inspect windows and doors for drafts. Use weather stripping or caulk to seal gaps and prevent heat loss, being careful not to seal windows shut. Proper sealing improves energy efficiency and reduces heating costs.
  1. Inspect and Clean Furnace Filters
    • Replace or clean furnace filters regularly to ensure optimal airflow and efficiency. Regular filter maintenance reduces strain on the system, improves indoor air quality, and helps prevent furnace failure. It’s recommended that disposable filters be changed, and cleanable filters cleaned, at minimum, every 3-6 months.
  2. Schedule a Professional Furnace Tune-Up
  1. Arrange for a professional to perform a comprehensive furnace tune-up. This includes checking all components, cleaning, and making necessary adjustments. Regular tune-ups, at minimum annually, extend the life of the furnace and help to ensure reliable operation during winter.
  2. Inspect All Outdoor Faucets
    • Make sure all outdoor faucets (hose bibs) are shut off, there are no leaks or drips, and all hoses are disconnected.

Winter Maintenance

  1. Monitor and Maintain Indoor Humidity Levels
  2. Use a hygrometer to monitor indoor humidity. Aim for a humidity level between 30% and 50%. Use a humidifier or dehumidifier as needed to maintain comfort and prevent damage to the home.
  3. Inspect and Maintain Boiler and Baseboard Heaters
  4. Check the boiler for leaks, unusual noises, or signs of wear. Having baseboard systems bled annually, to remove air pockets, will help ensure even heating. Schedule a professional inspection if necessary.
  5. Check and Clear Snow from Vents and Exhausts
  6. Regularly check outdoor vents and exhaust pipes, to ensure they are clear of snow and ice, and the vent caps are still attached. Blocked vents can cause dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide inside the home.
  7. Test Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors
  8. Test all carbon monoxide and smoke detectors to ensure they function correctly. Replace batteries as needed. Consider installing additional detectors as necessary.
  9. Review Emergency Heating Plans
  1. Ensure all household members know what to do in case of a heating emergency. Have backup heating sources, such as space heaters or wood stoves, ready for use. Keep emergency contact numbers for heating professionals handy.
  2. Gutter Cleaning
    • Ice damming has become a reality of our winters. Keeping gutters clean and free of debris can help prevent severe ice damming on your home’s roof.

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Monthly Tasks

  1. Replace Furnace Filters
  2. Check furnace filters monthly, and change them every 3-6 months, to maintain proper airflow and system efficiency. Clean filters improve indoor air quality and reduce the strain on the heating system. A lot of factors can affect how quickly filters can get dirty and plugged. For instance, how old your furnace is, if there are pets in the home, and how frequently whole home duct cleanings are done.
  3. Check for Plumbing Leaks
  4. Inspect all visible pipes, faucets, and fixtures for signs of leaks or corrosion. Address any issues promptly to prevent water damage, mold, and higher utility bills.
  5. Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
  6. Press the test button on all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are working. Replace batteries regularly and replace the units according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  7. Inspect Outdoor Vents and Exhausts
  8. Walk around the exterior of the home to check vents and exhausts for blockages, debris, or damage. Clear any obstructions to ensure proper ventilation and safe operation of heating appliances.

DIY vs. Professional Services

Tasks Homeowners Can Handle

Homeowners can perform basic tasks such as replacing furnace filters, checking for plumbing leaks, testing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and clearing outdoor vents and exhausts. Regularly inspecting insulation, cleaning gutters, and sealing drafts around windows and doors also fall within the scope of DIY maintenance.

Tasks Best Left to Professionals

Certain tasks require professional expertise. Hire professionals like the Anchorage heating and plumbing experts at Mountain Mechanical for comprehensive HVAC inspections, furnace tune-ups, and boiler maintenance. Chimney inspections and cleanings should also be done by certified technicians. Professional plumbers should address significant leaks, water heater issues, and extensive plumbing repairs.

The Importance of Professional Inspections

Regular professional inspections provide a thorough assessment of heating and plumbing systems. Professionals can identify and address potential issues before they become major problems, ensuring the safety and efficiency of the home. Their expertise helps maintain the longevity of the systems and provides peace of mind for homeowners.

Conclusion

Regular home maintenance is vital for keeping heating and plumbing systems in top condition, especially in Alaska’s climate. By following a seasonal checklist, homeowners can stay proactive and prevent costly repairs. Consistent upkeep not only ensures the home’s comfort and safety but also extends the lifespan of essential systems. Establishing a routine for these tasks will lead to a more efficient and resilient home.

For all your HVAC and plumbing needs, trust the experts at Mountain Mechanical. Whether you need a professional inspection, routine maintenance, or emergency services, our team is here to help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or get in touch with our knowledgeable technicians today. 

Download the Seasonal Home Maintenance Guide.