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Your First Year in Your New Home: A DIY Maintenance Checklist

Congratulations! You just moved into your new home. The first steps, of course, are unpacking, settling in and enjoying your new space. But what comes next?

This checklist will help you keep track of important home maintenance tasks, especially during your first year in a new home.

First three months

You’ll be busy enough moving in and getting settled, so we don’t recommend taking on a lot of work during the first few months. There are, however, a few things you might consider doing right away:

  • Change all the locks, and make spare keys

  • Implement energy-saving measures right away to save you money on heating and cooling costs:

  • Hang a clothesline in the laundry room and/or outside to cut down on dryer costs.

  • Lower the hot water heater temperature to 120 degrees F. This is generally the hottest water temperature that anyone would need, and lowering the temperature prevents scalding accidents.

  • Install a programmable thermostat, and learn how to use it.

  • If you make your home comfortable for kids and pets first, you’ll be comfortable too! Babyproof and petproof as needed.

Seasonal home maintenance

We organized the tasks by season, but some items are interchangeable. This is simply a recommendation, so make it work for you!


  • Install ceiling fans to cut cooling costs, or reverse the direction of existing fans. Run your fans counterclockwise in the warm months, and clockwise in the cool months.

  • Inspect the roof for missing, loose or damaged shingles. You don’t always have to climb up there to do this. In some cases, you can do this from the ground with binoculars.

  • Clean the roof and gutters of leaves and moss.

  • Fix large cracks in concrete or asphalt driveways. Do this during warm weather, when you can expect a few dry days for proper curing time.

  • Inspect air conditioners, and replace the filter if necessary.

  • Have the fireplace inspected and the chimney swept. You’ll likely pay less for these services by doing it in the offseason.

  • Clean and repair or replace window and patio door screens.


  • Seal cracks in windows and doors with caulk or weatherstripping.

  • Drain exterior plumbing, and cover outdoor faucets.

  • Clean carpets. You can do this anytime, but it’s nice to get it done right before the holidays!

  • Install a new furnace filter.

  • Replace batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. A good way to remember this task is to do it when you set the clocks back for daylight saving time.

  • Clean the dust from heating vents, and make sure vents are obstruction-free.

  • Inspect and replace — or add — outdoor lighting around the front of your home and walkways. This helps keep people safe when it gets darker earlier.


  • Clear drains of hair clogs using a Zip-It drain cleaning tool or a drum auger.

  • Clean the oven. While you’re at it, make sure all your kitchen appliances are in good working order prior to the holiday season.

  • Check the insulation in your attic or crawl space, and add more if needed. A good general guideline: Keep at least 12 inches of insulation in the attic and up to 16 inches if you live in a region with very cold winters.

  • Create a family fire escape plan, and do a few fire drills to make sure everyone knows what to do in an emergency.

  • Keep snow and ice removal supplies on hand, such as a shovel, snowblower, and salt or sand.

  • Compile an emergency kit for your household with extra water, food, medicines, flashlights and other necessities.


  • Clean and refinish (where applicable) decks, porches and patios to prepare for outdoor living.

  • Bring out the outdoor furniture, and clean grills so they’re ready for backyard barbecues.

  • Spring-clean all windows — inside and out.

  • Plant a tree. This is a fun family activity to do in your new home. Plant the tree strategically for shade in a particularly warm and sunny area of your home.

  • Once you’ve had the last fire of the season, close the fireplace damper to keep dirt and pests out.

  • Assess and inspect garden tools and lawnmowers to make sure they’re ready for a new season of working hard in your yard.

  • Because this is your first season in a new home, take some time to observe your yard before making any major changes. See where the sun shines at different times of the day. Watch which perennials come up at which times. Take notes about what you like about the current landscaping and what you want to change or add to the landscape.

Most importantly, enjoy your new home! Taking care of these few maintenance jobs will help you love your home for many years to come.

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