Smart homes are becoming more and more popular, but with this convenience comes a lot of responsibility. Smart homeowners now have to take care of their property in ways that were not necessary before.
One way to keep your smart home in top shape is by creating a maintenance checklist for the different things you need to do throughout the year to maintain it properly.
We put together this guide that goes over what should be on your maintenance list and how often each item should be checked off as completed.
Home Maintenance Schedule
Instead of drowning in a large list of maintenance tasks, your home maintenance schedule could be broken up into different categories, inspect exterior, interior, appliances/technology, and safety.
Or you could go for seasonal home maintenance such as spring, summer, fall, and winter.
Whatever you decide when customizing your list, don’t put it off! Alright, let’s get started with the smarter devices around your home.
Smart Home Maintenance Checklist (Devices And Gadgets)
Here is a list of items to check off to help maintain your smart devices and smart gadgets:
Software And Firmware Updates
Update software and firmware on your smart devices, such as home hubs, smart thermostats, computers, smartphones, and anything electronic that you can update.
There are many benefits to updating these items regularly:
- It improves the stability of the device
- Updates help fix bugs or security flaws
- New features may be added (e.g., better performance with more memory)
- Updates allow for compatibility with newer hardware versions.
- Install Security Software On Your Mobile Devices
While many smart devices have security in mind, you may want to add an extra layer of protection. Since you will be monitoring everything in your home with your phone or tablet, ensuring that these devices are protected is extremely important.
Apple and Android-based phones are easy to have encrypted and install an antivirus app and anti-malware protection.
Restart And Test All Devices
You should restart and test your smart gadgets at least once a month to clear cache and update memory. Lots of data will get “clogged” in memory, and restarting is a great way to clear it up.
Adjust Your Devices For The Best Performance
Your home system settings are the brains of your house and should be checked every few months to make sure they’re running smoothly.
It’s possible that someone else has been messing around or software automatically changed settings, so it’s a good idea to get in and make sure everything is still set up as you want it.
Every device operates differently, so think about what kind of settings would work best for your home. If there are devices that have been on the same setting since installation and they may not be performing optimally.
Backups All Devices
Always backup your system settings if possible. This is especially important if you have invested in a custom home automation system that has been programmed to work with your specific needs.
If your device supports SSD cards, you can also use this to back up the system settings.
If your device does not support SSD cards, then make sure that you are backing up any important information on paper or files on an external drive regularly (just in case).
Many people find it useful to back up their passwords on paper and leave them in a safe location, such as in a physical safe.
Batteries In Smart Devices
Batteries are integral to any smart home, so it’s important to know how to maintain them and charge or replace them.
If the battery fails, the natural tendency may be to reset or reinitialize the device settings. However, this can cause problems when there are connected devices on which they rely for power. For instance, if a smart thermostat goes offline due to resetting the settings, all connected wireless sensors that rely on it for power will also disconnect and go offline.
When batteries start to fail — usually indicated by an increase in battery usage or unreliable performance from the device — they need to be replaced as soon as possible because there may not be enough power for the device to function.
Smart Device Wiring And Connections
Take a quick look at the wiring and connectors of your devices to make sure that they’re in good condition. Examine the wires for signs of damage, and look at any connectors to make sure there are no visible cracks or other issues.
If you find a problem with one device’s wiring, all connected devices will likely be impacted. You may need to replace an entire module if only one wire has been damaged.
This task should take less than 15 minutes and help prevent more significant problems from occurring later on.
Home Maintenance Checklist (Inside)
Emergency Kits And Fire Extinguishers
When it comes to personal safety, these two items are often neglected at home.
Both of these items should be placed in the kitchen, garage, and basement/storage areas of your home.
Emergency kits should have a first-aid kit with basic supplies like bandages, latex gloves, alcohol wipes, and gauze pads. Wipes, ointments, and other liquids are most likely to need replacing.
A fire extinguisher that is not only fully charged, with the pressure gauge in the green, but labeled with dates when it has been checked is also a good idea. If your extinguisher is close to expiring, it’s time for a new one. Check with your local fire department for more details on recharging and disposal.
Smoke And Carbon-Monoxide Detectors
Another top item to check off is your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
These devices are designed to detect dangerous levels of these gases in your home so that you can evacuate before the air becomes toxic or fire becomes inescapable.
Checking batteries monthly is a no-brainer and can be done in moments. They should have a test button located on the outside that you can press.
If your batteries are dead, replace them with new ones and test again before continuing to test other devices in your home.
Filters are found all around your home, some a little less known than others, so it’s a good idea to become familiar with these places by reading the maintenance and care recommendations of each appliance.
Some places you may find filters are in your:
- Air Conditioner
- Air purifiers or smart filter unit
- Water pitchers or filtration system
When should you change these filters? Well, it depends on the appliance and the filter. Some require monthly replacement, while some may last a year.
If you have pets or smokers in your home, you’ll probably have to replace filters a lot more frequently than the recommendations.
To save money, you might think of washing or vacuuming your filters, but unless the manufacturer specifies it, don’t. Vacuuming not only removes dirt and debris, but it can also damage them by removing the electrostatic charge that helps particles stick to them.
When was the last time you inspected your dryer vents? Venting and exhaust systems need to be cleaned regularly to not affect the dryer’s performance.
It’s important to clean both the inside and outside parts of a dryer vent.
Dryers work by pulling hot air from wet clothes through a condenser that cools it down and turns water vapor into liquid droplets (condensation) before returning it inside your house. If lint builds up in the lint trap (not just the one inside the dryer), it can block airflow and cause your dryer to overheat.
The best time of year for a vent cleaning is in fall or spring when the weather is nice.
Other vents around your home should be inspected to ensure rodents or birds have not made a home in any of them.
Cleaning your ducts is the best way to make sure your HVAC system runs efficiently and prevents any mold or bacteria from accumulating.
Every few years, you should have a professional clean them out for you, but in between those times, there are things that can be done at home to keep them fresh:
- Vacuum Your Vent Covers – You don’t need to disassemble anything, but you can vacuum the vent covers outside your house.
- Vacuum Around Baseboards – You don’t need a hose attachment for this, just a vacuum.
- Vacuum or Sweep the Air Return – This can help get rid of dust that might be accumulating on top of your ducts in corners and around furniture.
You should ideally clean these every few months, so they don’t accumulate too much dirt, but you should do it more often if you have kids or pets who might track in dirt.
When your air conditioner is running, it can be hard to tell if any problems are going on under the hood.
Check for leaks in plumbing connections, hoses, or any joints regularly to avoid overflow of refrigerant gas. Clean the coils from dirt periodically with an attachment designed for this purpose.
Grout and Caulking
When caulking fails, water can seep into the walls and cause mold to grow. When grout fails, it can weaken brick, concrete, or tile as well as the mortar between them.
It’s important to check caulking every three months and grout annually for cracks that may need repair.
These repairs are simple to do and can be completed within a few hours and within a day for larger repairs.
When checking for leaks, look for any wet spots or stains on the ceiling or walls. You should also check for dampness on concrete flooring.
For plumbing leaks, check joints in pipes under sinks for water stains. If you have a sump pump installed near your drain to keep your basement dry during heavy rainfalls, be sure that there is no standing water present.
If you cannot find any leaks but notice a musty smell coming from your home, it might be time for an HVAC inspection. Drainage problems can lead to mold and mildew buildup in your ducts and vents because no air circulation or cleaning is occurring inside them.
Windows And Doors And Screens
It’s important to regularly inspect the doors and screens on your house, as well as any windows.
Doors should be checked for signs of damage, such as a broken lock or hinges that need adjusting.
Window screens should also be inspected for holes or tears; if found, have them repaired immediately, so they don’t spread.
Windows and around windows are tricky to inspect, but they should be inspected for any scratches or cracks that could allow moisture or critters to get in. If you have a security system installed, it’s worth asking your installer to check for any problems with the window sensors.
It’s best to have these inspections at least twice a year and only take a few moments to complete.
Stairs And Flooring
Stairs and flooring are two parts of your home that you see often but might not think to maintain on a regular basis.
If you spot some discoloration or tears in the wood, then you may want to consider sanding and refinishing. But inspect carefully before making any small repairs because discoloration could result from ongoing water damage or dry rot.
Squeaky stairs and floors can usually be fixed by tightening screws or adding new hardware. For more serious damage, you may need to replace a few boards.
Flooring and stair repair can make a big difference in the appearance of your home and increase its value when it comes time to sell. So, thoroughly inspect stairs and flooring every month for damage to avoid costly repairs down the line.
Lights And Light Switches
One of the best ways to keep your home from becoming a dark maze is by making sure all your lights are working when they should be.
And if you’re looking to save on the electric bill, consider replacing those lights with LEDs. Instead of having to replace them every few years, they can last up to 20 years. They use less power and emit a better quality of light than other types on the market today.
To check your lighting fixtures for damage, look for cracks, loose wiring, and bent parts. If you notice any of these, it’s best to either replace the fixture or have an electrician come out for a thorough inspection.
If you hear any crackling or see burnt areas around your light switches, stop using the switch and call an electrician immediately.
In The Bathroom
You spend a lot of time in the bathroom, and it is important to keep it clean, safe, and functional. However, sometimes your bathroom needs some extra TLC.
Here are a few things you should pay attention to:
Look for leaks in the toilet tank or bowl. If you see water on the floor, it may be a sign that your seal is wearing out and needs to be replaced.
You might also need to replace the “float ball” flush valve inside of your toilet tank – this part sits at the bottom of your tank (where all the water is) and works as a shutoff valve.
You might also need to replace your toilet seat or lid if they are cracked or broken.
Check for stains in the shower. If any, you might have a buildup of soap scum or hair that needs to be scrubbed away before it starts corroding your grout.
You may also need to replace your curtain if it’s very mildewed and moldy – this will help prevent future bacteria growth as well.
Check for stains in the sink and clean appropriately. If you see any rust on faucets and fixtures, it might be time to change those out.
Clean glass and mirrors in your bathroom every week (more than once if you have little kids).
Kitchen And Dining Room
Before we get too far into this, it’s important to mention that the kitchen and dining room are two of the most high-traffic areas in your home.
So you can imagine that these areas will likely show wear more quickly than other parts of your house do.
Take a look at your table and chairs. Make sure the legs are screwed in tightly so they don’t break or have weakened over time, and make sure the chairs can support more than one person sitting down on them (especially if you have kids).
In the kitchen, check your countertops and under the sink for stains from spills and water rings.
Wipe down the stovetop after cooking – this will keep spills from drying up, which will make them harder to clean later. Again, take care of any big messes inside your oven to keep it from smoking or making it more difficult to clean later on. For a deeper clean, use your favorite oven cleaner every two months should do it.
Clean the inside of your refrigerator at least once a month by wiping it down with all-natural disinfectant or soapy water if you don’t have any on hand. This will help prevent food spoilage caused by bacteria buildup, which can happen when it’s not thoroughly cleaned. Don’t forget the baking soda in the back of the fridge to help absorb odors!
Clean the inside of your dishwasher every two weeks. A good way to clean the inside of your dishwasher is by using a cleaner that’s safe for use in your machine, like Cascade Automatic Dishwashing Tablets or Finish Powdered Detergent with Drying Action.
If anything needs repair, take it out of service, make a note of it for later, so you remember to fix it.
In The Attic
Check the insulation in the attic regularly. If you live in a climate with cold winters, at least once every three months, check for insulation that has crumbled or fallen and replace it.
Wiring in the attic can be a safety hazard. Look for exposed wiring, and repair it or replace it as needed
If you see any moisture in your attics, check if there’s an underlying cause like leaky roofing. Fix the problem as soon as possible to prevent mold from growing.
Home Maintenance Checklist (Outside)
Roofing, Gutters, And Solar Panels
If you see any noticeable damage, such as large gaps in areas where the roof meets the wall or missing shingles, call an expert who can perform emergency repairs and prevent structural issues from occurring.
Roofs are exposed to all kinds of hazards: sun damage, rain damage, roof leaks, and more. If you see a leak on your roof that is not caused by recent storms or heavy winds (such as one or two small holes), the culprit could be an old nail poking through the shingles.
Check and clean gutters and downspouts regularly. Cleaning gutters will prevent leaves and other debris from blocking the water flow, which can cause damage to your roof when excess moisture pools near its base.
Inspect your Chimney annually and repair or replace the top flue lining if necessary, taking care not to damage its interior walls with sharp tools. If you notice discoloration around the base of your Chimney or a less effective draw when starting fires, call an expert who can inspect it.
Solar panels will need to be inspected every year to ensure any seals that keep them watertight are still in good condition, and the connectors for solar panels may need a light coating of silicone sealant to keep them from drawing water.
Water Lines, Gas Lines, And Electrical Lines
Several types of plumbing and gas lines are either not replaceable or very expensive to have replaced.
These include water supply piping, natural gas supply pipes for heating systems, the connections from utility meters where utilities pass through your property to the street boundary of your land, and electrical service wiring that serves a residence’s electrical system.
Check for water leaks around your home, near the water meter, and at the tap. If you detect a leak, turn off the main valve to stop it from being turned on again unintentionally.
If there’s no sign of leaking plumbing pipes underground level but still notice dampness that smells like rotten eggs (hydrogen sulfide) near your water meter, you may have a gas leak. Check with the local utility company for more information about how to proceed in this type of situation.
If you notice electrical wiring that has been damaged, or is at risk of being harmed by outside forces like branches from trees rubbing against it, please contact an electrician as soon as possible.
The first step in smart home maintenance for your House Siding is to inspect it. You can do this by walking the perimeter of your property, checking for any damage or wear and tear that may have occurred since you last inspected it.
If everything checks out, you may want to pressure wash your House Siding, which will remove any debris and dirt that may have accumulated.
In And Around The Yard
The upkeep of a lawn is not always an easy task, especially in the summer months. But with some basic knowledge and the right tools, it can be accomplished regularly and easily.
Inspect your lawnmower blade. If it is dull, you’ll see that the grass will not be cut evenly and could even tangle on the blade because there’s less pressure being exerted by a blunt blade.
If this happens more than once in a row, your lawnmower may need to be sharpened or replaced before cutting again.
You can also clean your lawn mower after each use by removing grass and other debris from the blades with a broom, but make sure to always turn off the mower before doing so.
A blade that is too dull can cause damage if it catches on something while running.
If you have sprinklers installed in your yard, inspect them before your next use.
Check for any clogs or leaks in sprinkler heads, and replace as needed.
You will also want to make sure that the timer is set correctly, so they are watering at the right intervals- too much water can cause problems with certain types of plants, while not enough water could lead to a dry and empty lawn.
Fall is the prime season for having leaves in your yard, and they need to be removed before winter arrives so that you don’t have a lot of snow in the springtime.
If at all possible, try to get them out right away- what may seem like an easy task can quickly turn into a much more difficult job.
If you need to wait, make sure that they are not clogging up the yard’s drainage system- if possible, try and blow them out of drains or use leaves blowers for this purpose.
Like with your lawn care maintenance, it is important to keep trees healthy, which is done by pruning certain branches. Lightly trimming the tree’s main branches will help keep it healthy as well as make sure that its shape stays proportional over time- if you’re unsure of how to do these tasks, or don’t want the hassle yourself, call a professional!
If you want your home to last, it has to be properly maintained.
Remember, your home is a significant investment.
It should be treated as such by investing in the upkeep of your property to ensure it lasts for many years to come. There are plenty of ways you can keep up with regular maintenance without breaking your budget.