Whether you just bought a mountain home or are in the process of building your home, developing a home maintenance and upkeep routine will help to keep your home in excellent shape for years to come. One thing many people find so appealing about North Carolina is the presence of four distinct seasons. The change in temperature, colors, and wildlife can open up a world of outdoor activities to enjoy year-round. However, each season brings its own list of preventative maintenance and general upkeep duties.
To make your life easier we’ve organized the most common home maintenance tasks into monthly and seasonal checklists. Use the below checklists to ensure your home is ready for each season.
Budgeting for Home Maintenance
One aspect of owning a home that people often forget is budgeting for maintenance. The general rule is that you should save one percent of your home’s value every year for maintenance. How much you save also depends on how old your home is. Older homes will need more repairs, therefore you will need a larger budget. There are also varying levels of repairs. Replacing a window is completely different than replacing an HVAC system. It is also a good idea to begin saving for things you know will need to be replaced. For example, if you know something has a 7-year lifespan, setting aside money every year for the replacement means you will not have to fork out a large repair bill all at once.
Monthly Home Maintenance Checklist
While some maintenance depends on the season, others are more routine and require a more monthly maintenance schedule. Here are a few things we recommend you make time to service in your home.
- HVAC. Occasionally having your HVAC system inspected by a professional can keep you from being surprised by damages and repairs. A professional can let you know of any issues that may be a problem down the road and probable lifespan of your HVAC system.
- Change Air Filters. Air filters should be changed every 1 to 3 months depending on the size of your home, whether you have pets that shed, and any allergies in your family. Consistently changing air filters in your home on time can also ease the workload on your HVAC system, increasing its lifespan and saving you money on your power bill.
- Pest Control. Most professional pest treatments last about 2 to 3 months, so consistently checking on the number of bugs coming in can give you an idea about when it is time for the next one. Paying close attention to where they come in can help you find cracks you will need to seal with caulk.
- Look for Drafts. No matter what season it is, making sure your home is properly insulated will keep your family warm or cool and save you money. Replacing warm weather stripping and caulking cracks are a great way to seal them and make it a more energy-efficient home.
- Inspect the Roof. Making sure branches and leaves do not build and cause damage to your roof is something you should look for pretty often. Particularly after a storm, check for missing or damaged shingles that could lead water to leak inside and cause costly water damage.
- Check for Repair Needs. Developing a habit of constantly checking for what appears to be small maintenance issues can help you fix them before they escalate to large more expensive damages. Things like cracks, leaks, paint chips, and water damage are all issues to look out for.
- Safety Alert Check. Make sure to consistently check that all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms are operational, replacing batteries and checking wiring as needed. Doing so will mean a safe home and family, not to mention saving your wallet from expensive repairs.
Spring Maintenance Checklist
Encompassed by blooming flowers, crisp green trees, and active wildlife, the mountains of Western North Carolina are a great backdrop to the spring season. Spring home maintenance involves taking care of any repairs necessary after the freezing temps in the winter and preparing for the change in weather in the summer. Strategic preventative maintenance in the spring can result in financial savings down the road. Here are a few tips for upkeep in your mountain home this spring.
- Spring Cleaning. Take the time to spring clean both the interior and exterior of your home. Mold buildup can lead to dangerous effects on your health and cost a lot to treat. Taking the time to powerwash the sides of your house and clean windows can provide a welcoming feel to your home.
- Roof Inspection. Particularly after a long winter, inspecting your roof for water or ice damage is an important maintenance routine.
- Gutter Check. Check the gutter for damage that may have occurred due to thawing and refreezing. Remove debris and ice from the gutters and reattach any drain hoses that may have come undone.
- Driveways & Walkways. Clean any walkways and driveways by power washing and look for any major cracks that may lead to the driveway needing to be resealed.
- Test Irrigation System. You may not need to water plants, yard, or garden significantly yet, which is why it is a good time to test out your irrigation system. Look for leaks once you refill it and make sure the watering schedule works.
- Check Door & Window Seals. Check to see that all doors and windows are properly sealed and insulated. Replace old weather stripping and seal any cracks.
- Open Vents. Open vents in the crawl space and basement to allow warm air ventilation.
Summer Maintenance Checklist
The temperate spring weather has ramped up and the summer heat and sunshine make every creek, river, and lake look inviting. Take a dip in the lake or enjoy the summer with outdoor fun! The warm weather also allows homeowners to perform a number of maintenance tasks or larger maintenance projects alongside the continued landscaping upkeep. The main goal of summer maintenance is to keep your house cool, power bill low, and repair any damage from the previous winter. Here are a few maintenance tips for your mountain home this summer.
- Treat Porches, Decks, and Patios. Look for any damage to the deck, porch, or patio that may need to be fixed. Faded or chipped paint and dilapidated wood will only continue to worsen over time. Summer can be a great time to re-stain, paint, or replace your outdoor escape.
- Check Exterior. Look for cracks in the foundation or walls on the exterior of the home. Catching these early can help you plan and budget.
- Look for Water Damage. Top to bottom, check the house for water damage. Leaks in your basement can lead to flooding, mold, cracks, etc. If you have a sump pump, make sure it is working properly. Check the attic for leaks to prevent damage to valuables or insulation.
- Summer Landscaping. Maintaining the yard and plants are a big part of the summer. Prune trees and bushes and cut the grass. Besides, keeping your home looking great, overgrown trees and shrubs can hurt your home when branches fall or roots grow into the foundation.
- Clean Windows & Doors. Take the time to clean your windows to help the summer sunshine light your home and clean doors so they are inviting.
- Check Bathroom & Kitchen. Look for cracks and leaks in the bathroom and kitchen. Warm weather means you can handle any repairs before freezing temperatures. Caulking any cracks can keep water from seeping in and worsening things over time.
Fall Maintenance Checklist
Fall in Western North Carolina is a cathartic experience. The trees are painted in autumn colors, leaves begin to blanket the mountains, and a cool wind provides a welcome chill to the air. Enjoy picking apples, going to a fall festival, or a ride through the Blue Ridge Parkway. So, maintenance is defined largely by breaking down summer features, autumn leaves upkeep and preparing your home for the winter. Here are a few things to remember when maintaining your home this fall season.
- Prep the Fireplace. Prepare your fireplace for cold weather by cleaning out ash from the hearth and cleaning and opening the flues.
- Inspect Water Heater. Make sure the water heater is in working condition so that you won’t experience any delays once the weather cools.
- Roof & Gutters. Clear the roof and gutters of all fallen leaves. Remaining leaves will get wet and eat into the roof of your home.
- Check Exterior Perimeter. Seal cracks in the exterior base and wall of the home. Make sure that there are no dips in the ground against the base of your home where water could collect and cause rot and erosion. Fill in holes so that grade in the yard remains an adequate angle to allow drainage away from the house.
Winter Maintenance Checklist
During the winter, freezing temperatures and the potential for snow make preventative maintenance a necessary form of upkeep for any home. Whether you are planning an extended holiday getaway or curling by the fire with loved ones, winterizing your mountain home will prevent costly damages and high heating bills. Here are a few things to consider when preparing your mountain home for a North Carolina winter.
- Watch for Roof Obstructions. Dead branches, leaves, or even ice can cause dams to form and prevent the smooth flow of water from your home.
- Look for Drafts. If your house contains a draft due to not being fully insulated, warm air will continue to leak out of your home and cold air will blow in. Meaning you never get fully warm, and you pay a higher power bill.
- Close Vents. Close crawlspace and basement vent to prevent cold and freezing weather from entering.
- Outdoor Faucets. Check all outdoor faucets for cracks. Cover with insulation tape and hose bib that will drain water to prevent freezing in exposed parts of the pipes.
- Cover A/C Units. Using A/C covers or even tying a tarp over the HVAC unit can prevent damage from freezing.
- Tree Removal. Particularly for mountain homes, aging trees can be dangerous. Late winter and early spring, while the trees are dormant, is the best time to remove trees that have grown too large and could fall on your home.
- Winterize Irrigation. Drain the irrigation system in your yard to prevent freezing and cracks that could cause further damage to your yard.
- Insulate Pipes. Add insulation tape to any exposed pipes. During particularly cold times, leave faucets throughout the home on a drip.
Maintaining your mountain home can seem like a daunting task, but using this checklist can help you get started. There are some smart home gadgets that can help as well, including digital sprinkler systems and window cleaning robots. Maintaining your mountain home using preventative maintenance and general upkeep will keep your home in excellent condition and allow you to spend your time enjoying any number of activities available in Western North Carolina.