Top 7 Home Maintenance Checklist: Do These This Spring!

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I’ll be honest with you–I’ve never enjoyed home maintenance. I never even knew what home maintenance tasks were most important. Because I haven’t been as scheduled about it, I’m not always up to date with my home maintenance. I should call them home maintenance chores because that’s what it feels like: a chore! Because they’re typically not fun, it’s easy to put them off in lieu of the more interesting things to do around the house: room makeovers…painting a piece of furniture for your bedroom… heck–even pressure washing!

But let’s face it: the better you maintain the most important home maintenance tasks, the less damage to your house. And what does less damage mean? It means less stress, less money, and more time to enjoy your home instead of feeling like your home is an albatross around your neck!

That’s why I’m sharing with you the most important home maintenance tasks (and providing a home maintenance checklist) you should be doing every year (and some of them, more than once per year!) to make sure everything is in tip top shape. 

You don’t have to do all of these maintenance tasks in one day, or even one weekend, but you definitely want to make sure they get on the schedule (save them as “Reminders” in your phone!) and make sure that you’re doing them yearly, at least!

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7 Home Maintenance Tasks You MUST Do Today! - If you don't do these things, you risk expensive home damage! - Read the post for the checklist!

Home Maintenance #1: Have You Ever Cleaned Your Dryer Vents??

Yes, yes….we all know to empty the dryer lint screen each time we start a new load of clothes in the dryer. But that’s not what I’m talking about with this task.

I’m talking about the long metal tube that connects from the back of your dryer to the dryer vent that leads to the exterior of your house.

THAT dryer vent should be cleaned every year! (And I’ve even seen some websites suggest every 3 months!!).

Dryer vent cleaning kit - Thrift Diving
Look behind me….that long metal tube and vent should be cleaned yearly with this dryer vent cleaning kit!

In the 14 years I’ve lived here, I’ve literally only done it one time. So it’s definitely time for me to do this! Here’s how you do it:

How to Clean Your Dryer Vent Every Year

STEP 1: Get yourself one of these dryer vent kits from the big box store. It’s only about 27 bucks. It’s got rods that connect with this brush on the end, up to 12-feet. But I have seen these kids with rods that can extend even longer.

Dryer vent cleaning kit with extension rods and brush attachment - 7 Home Maintenance Tasks - Thrift Diving

Dryer vent cleaning kit with brush attachment - 7 Home Maintenance Tasks - Thrift Diving

You can use a drill if you want, just to give it a little bit more power. 

Dryer vent cleaning kit with extension rods and using a power drill. - 7 Home Maintenance Tasks - Thrift Diving

Even if you don’t think you have a blockage of lint, and if it’s been more than a year, you’ve got to get this home maintenance task done. If you start noticing things like:

  1. Your laundry room or laundry space gets super hot when the dryer is running….you might have a blocked dryer vent.
  2. If your clothes are taking longer to dry….you might have a blocked dryer vent.
  3. Your clothes are really hot to the touch when you pull them out….you might have a blocked dryer vent.

STEP 2: Remove the locking clip with a screwdriver that’s attaching the tube, and gently pull it away. It should just loosen right off.

Removing the dryer hose before cleaning dryer vents. - 7 Home Maintenance Tasks - Thrift Diving

STEP 3: Remove the vent tubing from the back of the dryer. It will have the same type of locking clip that can be easily loosened with a screwdriver.

Removing the dryer vent. - 7 Home Maintenance Tasks - Thrift Diving

STEP 4: Run the dryer vent cleaning kit brush through the tubing and see what comes out the other side. You might notice a blockage preventing the cleaning brush from going all the way through. It’s helpful to have a leaf blower on hand to blow out what you’ve loosened up. It’s super gross and can get pretty dusty! Wear a dust mask if necessary, and be sure to do these steps outdoors!

Cleaning the dryer vent. - 7 Home Maintenance Tasks - Thrift Diving

Using a leaf blower to clean the dryer vent. - 7 Home Maintenance Tasks - Thrift Diving

STEP 5: Insert the vent dryer cleaning kit brush through the vent, to the outside. You’ll likely see a bunch of lint coming out the other side, and some will fall back into the laundry area, too! Be sure to clean off any lint that’s stuck to the outside vent.

Using a dryer vent kit to clean the dryer vent. - 7 Home Maintenance Tasks - Thrift Diving

Cleaning the exterior dryer vent. - 7 Home Maintenance Tasks - Thrift Diving

STEP 6: Re-attach the dryer tubing to the vent, securing the locking clip over the edge and using a screwdriver to lock the clip and tubing into place, and you’re done! Congrats! You don’t have to do this again until next year! 🙂 LOL. Just be sure to ADD A REMINDER to your calendar to pop up no later than a year later and remember to get it done next spring!

Attaching dryer hose to vent. - 7 Home Maintenance Tasks - Thrift Diving

Home Maintenance #2: Don’t Breathe Dirty Air – Change Your HVAC Air Filters!

I am notorious for forgetting to change my air filters in my HVAC! They should be changed every 3 months, but I admit that when I’ve gotten lazy, it’s sometimes been–GULP–a year before I have changed them!

And look at the difference between a nasty, dirty air filter and a clean, fresh one.

Dirty air filter versus clean air filter. - 7 Home Maintenance Tasks - Thrift Diving

What happens when you forget to change your air filters, you ask? Well, all the dust, debris, viruses, mold, dander, and whatever else could be floating through the air, is not properly being filtered out. Which means your family is breathing that junk in. YUCK!

Removing dirty air filter. - 7 Home Maintenance Tasks - Thrift Diving

My HVAC system uses larger filters, sized 16″ x 25″ x 5″. Because of that, I have always felt it was an inconvenience to have to order them online (since big box stores don’t sell this size in-store and can’t just be picked up on a whim when I remember!). The result is that I would often forget to order them, and then end up not changing it routinely.

To eliminate forgetting to change my filters, I have started buying my air filters in bulk from

Buying Filterbuy filters.

Even before I connected with Filterbuy as a sponsor for Thrift Diving, I was buying all my filters online from them. The only thing is that I didn’t realize that I could order my filters in bulk, meaning ordering a year’s supply at once (4 filters) so that I am never left trying to remember on my own to order replacements.

Dirty air filter being replaced. - 7 Home Maintenance Tasks - Thrift Diving

Plus, with Filterbuy, when I order in bulk it saves me an extra 5%. And I set up auto-shipments so that every year, 4 filters will arrive on my doorstep and they just charge the card I have on file. The shipping is free. And when I say that the shipping is fast….. My goodness. I placed my order on a Saturday at 2:16 p.m. And by 3:01 p.m. that same day, I was already getting notification that the order had shipped! LOL. I mean….45 minutes to go from click to ship??! I wish all things shipped that quickly!

Buying air filters at - 7 Home Maintenance Tasks - Thrift Diving Filterbuy receipt purchased online. - 7 Home Maintenance Tasks - Thrift Diving

Here’s a little tip, too: Once you put in your new filter, set a reminder on your phone for 3 months out so you change the air filter on time!

Home Maintenance #3: Check For Water Leaks and STOP the Damage!  

The most scary thing for a homeowner to discover is that they have a leak they didn’t know about and it has resulted in thousands of dollars in damage! The first thing you think is, I should have known! or I wish we had known!

This actually happened to us a couple years ago when the piping behind our refrigerator (for a water line that we never connected to an ice maker) slow-leaked behind the fridge. By the time we realized it, the damage to the floor, sub-floor, and base cabinet had already been done. 

Thankfully, the insurance company picked up part of the tab and we were able to stop the leak, in addition to fixing the flooring in the kitchen. But it drove home the importance of doing two things:

  1. Checking for active leaks every few months, and,
  2. Placing leak detectors next to every area in your house where water leaks or floods can happen!
Placing a leak detector next to the washing machine. - 7 Home Maintenance Tasks - Thrift Diving
Placing a leak detector beside my washing machine in case there is ever a leak.

If you haven’t done so, take a moment to go through your house and check the following places for wetness, dampness, active leaks, and leaks that may have dried up:

  • Behind the fridge.
  • Near the dishwasher.
  • Behind every toilet.
  • Under every sink.
  • Near floor drains.
  • Around the hot water heater.

Essentially, place a leak detector any place where there could be a water leak:

All the places where leak detectors should be placed in the home. - 7 Home Maintenance Tasks - Thrift Diving

These leak detectors work well because if water touches the sensors on the bottom, they’ll start beeping and won’t stop until the leak detector is pulled away from the water and dried off. Which means if you keep hearing a beep around your home, you know it will keep going for as long as the detector is touching water (and for as long as the batteries don’t die!). 

Leak detector next to the toilet. - 7 Home Maintenance Tasks - Thrift Diving

These leak detectors are super cute, so if you have kids, you might want to place them in places where the kids can’t get to them. Oh–and these aren’t “smart” leak detectors, meaning, they’re not going to email you or text to let you know there is a leak. You physically have to be home to hear them. That won’t necessarily save you if your washer is leaking and you’re not home (not that you should be washing clothes while you’re not at home–you don’t do that, do you?? Nor should you run the dryer when you’re not home, in the event of a fire!).

Cute leak detector bug. - 7 Home Maintenance Tasks - Thrift Diving

There are “smart” leak detectors that will email or text you when there is an active leak detected (this one will also notify us if there is low or high humidity). This is the one that I had placed in my basement. It used to be by Honeywell, but has since been taken over by Resideo. 

Smart leak detector in my hand. - 7 Home Maintenance Tasks - Thrift Diving

Another area you want to check for leaks is at your water main. Our house is old, built in 1973. The shut off valves on the water main are the original turn-style valves. However, shut off valves today that are installed are simple ON/OFF shut-off valves. We were told that we need to replace that, at a tune of $1,200. And we also need to get a new water heater, too.

And we actually do have an active leak at the water main. If you look closely, you can see that there is a little bit of water in a really slow drip. So this has to be taken care of, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. 

Leak at the water main. - 7 Home Maintenance Tasks - Thrift Diving

Home Maintenance #4: Are Termites Chewing at Your House?? You Need to Know.

No one wants to think that right at this moment, thousands of termites are going back and forth from their next to your house, chewing on the wood framing of your house. But it happens. And it happened to me! I’ll tell you more about that below, but if you’ve never had a termite inspection for your home, you need to get one today. In fact…you need to get one every year.

You may not know this, but if you do have termites or termite damage, that damage is not covered by your home insurance. It can cost thousands of dollars to repair termite damage to the wooden structure of your home. The best option (and least expensive!) is to prevent it from happening.

Call a reputable exterminating company for the termite inspection (TIP: If you’re in the Maryland, DC, or Northern Virginia area, call Bug Boys. That’s why I use and highly recommend! Ask for Rory, the company owner. Tell Rory that Serena from Thrift Diving told you about them!).

After getting my home treated, they placed these wooden stakes along the perimeter of my home. 

Wooden stake next to the house to check for termites. - 7 Home Maintenance Tasks - Thrift Diving

What are these wooden stakes for? Well, these are the stakes that the exterminator had inserted for the termites to make sure that, every year, they check them to make sure that they do not have termite damage. Termites love wood. So if you’ve got wood next to your home, if there are termites, they will eat it. Along with your house. 

But after treating your home for termites, when they come back to check these wooden states, if the stakes are still structurally sound with no damage, then you can rest assure that the termite treatment is still keeping termites away from your home.

How Is a Home Treated for Termites, Anyhow?

 Watch this video to see how Bug Boys, the exterminator company that I use, treated my house for termites. If you’re getting your home treated for termites, too, do not allow a company to come and simply put bait stations in the ground. They don’t work. You need this type of treatment, where they apply pesticides a couple feet below ground, along the perimeter of your home. It should be pumped into the soil, where it will kill the termites that walk through it on their way to and from your home.

 I know that finding termites in your home is scary, but it’s better to ensure that you’re home is protected than to put your head in the sand and think that it won’t happen to you. To treat my entire home, it was about $1,800, I believe. I pay about $150 per year for an annual termite inspection and during that time, if the exterminator were to find evidence of termites after my home was treated, they would come and do it again at no cost. And I think the entire perimeter must be treated every 5 years.

Home Maintenance #5: Does Your Roof Have Storm Damage You Don’t Know About? 

If your roof isn’t in good condition, how would you know? Well, you can calculate how old the roof is. If you’ve lived in your house for years and it’s never been replaced, that’s one indictor that your roof might be old.

What about leaks? That’s a sure-fire way to know whether your roof isn’t in good condition or that there is an area that needs to be addressed.

Leak stain on the ceiling. - 7 Home Maintenance Tasks - Thrift Diving
Ceiling in my sons’ bedroom showed that there was a leak from the roof or chimney.

But I would rather not get to the point of having an active leak in order to find out that there is a problem. A better solution is to get an annual roof inspection to be proactive and take care of areas that might have:

  • Wind creases in the shingles that indicate high wind damage.
  • Lifted shingles due to high winds.
  • Missing tabs (where parts of the shingles are blown off or fall off. Sometimes you can see these lying around your yard after a big storm).
  • Shingle granule loss (where the granules on the shingles have worn away).
  • Hail damage (which looks like indentations in your roof from the force of the hail).

Roof inspections. - 7 Home Maintenance Tasks - Thrift Diving

Some of this damage you can see for yourself by standing in your yard or across the street, looking up at your roof. But some of the damage you’re not going to be able to identify on your own. This is where you need a professional to climb up there and inspect your roof. Keep in mind that some roof inspection companies can even submit claims on your behalf with your insurance company if they find storm damage and that storm damage happened within a reasonable (perhaps 1 year) length of time from when the storm came through. 

Most homeowners worry about their insurance rates going up if they file a claim, but a roof inspector told me recently that even if you don’t file, the fact that you’ve got neighbors in your area filing, your rates will go up, too. Therefore, not filing a claim is not a sure-fire way to keep your rates low, especially if it’s been a particularly stormy season; if the neighbors are filing and have damage, you might want to consider filing for your own damage, considering that your rates are going to rise, anyhow. Just something to consider….

Roof inspection needed once a year. - 7 Home Maintenance Tasks - Thrift Diving


Home Maintenance #6: Broken or Clogged Gutters Will Destroy Your Foundation

When we first moved into our home, we had 5″ gutters, and they were not in the best of conditions. But gutters were the least of our concerns. We had wallpaper to remove…rooms to decorate…and more. Who had time to think about the gutters??

Downspout into the gutter - Clean gutters twice a year. - 7 Home Maintenance Tasks - Thrift Diving

Well, we should have. Because we dealt with lots of water leaks, most of which we were later able to determine were caused by gutters that were too small to hold the amount of rain we were getting. And the gutters were full of leaves all the time (my house is like the vortex of where all the leaves in the neighborhood come to land!).

Blocked and small gutters caused rain to pour next our foundation, which then soaked through to the basement. It happened way too often. We later paid for new gutters (at a tune of about $2,500), and we also got larger gutters, with 6″ mouths on them, to hold more rain. We also got inexpensive gutter screens installed, which was only about $250. The screens have kept out the leaves, thankfully! But those still should have an annual cleaning, at least, to clear out the gunk that can settle on the bottom of the gutters.

Make gutter cleaning an annual, preferably a semi-annual home maintenance in the spring and fall to prevent water damage and leaks coming into your basement!

Gutter screens on gutter. Clean your gutters twice a year. - 7 Home Maintenance Tasks - Thrift Diving

Home Maintenance #7: Your Smoke Detectors Might Have Expired!

Some people don’t know that smoke detectors do expire. And you might have an expired smoke detector in your home right now and may not even know it. Guess what happened to me while recording this video of me doing these home maintenance tasks? You guessed it–I discovered that the smoke detector in my kitchen was–gasp!!!–expired!

Smoke detector dates - 7 Home Maintenance Tasks - Thrift Diving

First of all, the smoke detector says, “DO NO PAINT.” And what did I do?? Painted over it. [insert palm slap here. lol]

But thankfully, I can clearly see that I had installed this kitchen smoke detector on 10/25/2013. This smoke detector is the type that will last for 10 years and has a built-in battery. Therefore, it should have been replaced last fall. But I had no idea. And if I hadn’t written this blog post, I likely would have continued to use that smoke detector, thinking we were responsible homeowners for at least having a functioning smoke detector. Hmph….

While the smoke detector in my bedroom still has a few more years, I want to be sure that I don’t miss this date of August 2028. Therefore, I placed a reminder on my Google calendar for August 2028 to “CHANGE THE SMOKE DETECTOR.”

Replace smoke detectors every 10 years. - 7 Home Maintenance Tasks - Thrift Diving

Remember–you want to have smoke detectors (I like the ones that are dual carbon monoxide detectors, as well) at the following places in your home. So if you don’t have them in these locations, be sure to install them here:

  • Every level of the home.
  • In the hallway outside of the bedrooms.
  • In each bedroom, on the ceiling near where the door is. Smoke entering under the door should set it off.
  • In the garage, especially for any potential combustable products that might be stored there.
  • In the shed or any outbuilding.
  • In the basement.

Also, make sure to get fire extinguishers for each level of the home, as well as fire blankets, which are helpful at putting out fires without the mess or the need to know how to use a fire extinguisher (perfect for kids!).

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7 Home Maintenance Tasks You MUST Do - Avoid expensive repairs later down the road by doing these important home maintenance tasks. - Thrift Diving

I know home maintenance isn’t a sexy topic at all. It’s not something we like to routinely think about. It’s more exciting to think about room makeovers and painting furniture and other fun projects around the home. But let’s not neglect the things that we know we need to do for our home maintenance so that our homes can serve us for years to come, without the fear of unexpected, expensive repairs!

This post was sponsored by Filterbuy–a big thanks to them! Buy all your filters from Remember, you can get an extra 5 percent savings if you order your filters in bulk, like I do. Also remember to put your filters on auto-subscription and have them show up on time each year, with free shipping!

So now, I want to hear from you: Which of these home maintenance tasks are you ready to tackle this weekend? Leave a comment down below and let me know!

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