Your Annual Home Maintenance Checklist

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12 tips to prepare your home for all of the four seasons before they arrive.

Have you ever had your air conditioner fail on the hottest day of the year? Or your snow blower refuse to fire up during a blizzard? Prevent these scenarios from happening by taking a page from the Boy Scouts: Be prepared. Perform annual preventive home maintenance on time and make sure you’re ready for the season before it arrives. Here’s an annual home maintenance schedule to help you do just that.

WINTER HOME MAINTENANCE

1. It’s time for annual appliance maintenance — don’t put it off! Routine maintenance of appliances should be done annually. Why not get it out of the way in January? While you’re hibernating from the cold, clean those fridge coils, inspect hoses on the washing machine and dishwasher, hit the self-cleaning button on the stove and clean out that dryer vent.

2. Prep your lawn tools for their long winter’s nap. Make sure your lawn mower and other yard tools are stored correctly and in good working order for when you need to use them again in the spring. For your lawn mower, clean the undercarriage, making sure it’s free of grass, dirt and debris. Sharpen the blade and check for any damage, lubricate the metal on the undercarriage to stave off rust, empty the fuel tank, change the oil, and replace the fuel filter, spark plug and air filter. For other lawn tools like chippers and tillers, remove all grass, dirt and debris, and sharpen and lubricate the blades (WD-40 works great for this). If that all sounds like a lot of work you’re not comfortable doing (or don’t have the time), fear not. You can bring your push mower into a Sears drop-off repair center. If you need riding mower or lawn tractor service, we’ll come right to your home to perform maintenance.

3. Move the clothes that are draped over your treadmill and fix it, already! Any fitness equipment is too big an investment to let sit idle. Look in your manual for troubleshooting tips and simple fixes (replacing or tightening a belt, for example). But for more complex repairs, call in a professional. The Sears Appliance Technicians can repair treadmills, ellipticals, exercise bikes and other fitness equipment.

SPRING HOME MAINTENANCE

1. Keep cool. Spring is a great time to schedule professional central air conditioner maintenance service. For window models, you should brush off the coils and clean the filters. When the air is running like it’s supposed to, it’ll help save money on your energy bills.

2. Give your gas grill a check-up. Before you throw any shrimp on the barbie, clean the grates, burners, drip pans and outside of the grill. If you’re not comfortable servicing the burner assembly, call in the pros.

3. Spring clean! It’s not an old standard for nothing. Open the windows to let the stale air of winter out and the sweet-smelling air of spring in — but before you do that, clean the windows and deep clean the house, wash the floors, scour the bathrooms and kitchen, and shampoo the carpets.

SUMMER HOME MAINTENANCE

1. Inspect your home’s exterior. Is that a bird’s nest in your gutter? Walk around the house on the ground and compile your home maintenance checklist. Is paint peeling? Is the stucco chipped or cracking? What shape is your siding in? Also be sure to take a good, hard look at your doors. Replacing old doors with more energy-efficient ones can take a bite out of your energy bill, in both the summer and winter.

2. Stock up — it’s storm season. Summer can bring severe thunderstorms, tornados and hurricanes. Prepare for power outages by storing enough bottled water to get you through a couple of days, checking the batteries in your flashlights and changing them if necessary, keeping ready-to-eat food on hand and servicing your generator, if you have one.

3. Clean your chimney. Chim chim cheree! Prep for cozy fall and winter nights by the fire by removing all the built-up creosote, which can catch fire. Call in a pro for this job. He probably won’t dance on your rooftop like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins — but he’ll help make sure your chimney is safe to use for the rest of the year.

FALL HOME MAINTENANCE

1. Get your heating system professionally serviced. You can do simple things like replacing the filter yourself, but you really should get your HVAC system looked at once a year by a professional. Maintenance now can prevent repairs (and cold nights) later on.

2. Make sure you’re ready for the white stuff. First order of business: Maintain your snow blower. Replace the fuel filter, spark plug and oil, and eyeball the blade and other parts to make sure they’re not damaged. While you’re at it, make sure you have shovels, ice scrapers, salt and snow brushes on hand.

3. Caulk your windows. It’s a simple home maintenance tip and one of the least expensive ways to help reduce your energy bill. It helps to have a proper caulk gun and to remove the old caulk before you begin. Be sure to let the caulk set for 24 hours. Print out this annual home maintenance checklist and tack it onto your bulletin board, or note these dates on your home calendar, and you’ll be on your way to a well-functioning home, all-season round. If you need any assistance with maintenance or repairs on fitness machines, snow blowers, lawn mowers, heating and cooling systems, gas grills, and kitchen and laundry appliances, the Sears Appliance Experts are happy to help.