Your Back-to-School Home Maintenance Checklist

Let’s be honest: every parent feels a slight twinge of relief knowing that the kids will be back in school soon. These “thank god it’s back to school time” tweets don’t write themselves, after all. But regardless of how you feel about the upcoming school year, your kid’s first day back serves as an important reminder that you have some home upkeep to do. In between school shopping and packing lunches, make sure to schedule some time for the following maintenance tasks—to keep your home running smoothly all the way until summer vacation!

school bus on a shelf

Inspect Your Roof

Summer storms often spell disaster for your roof, which has the job of standing up to rain, wind and hail. Make sure yours is in tiptop shape by getting it inspected by a professional roofer. The pros know how to safely navigate your rooftop and to seek out telltale signs of shingle damage, leaks and rot. These indicators can be sneaky, so it’s important to have yours checked frequently; experts say every six months to a year is ideal. It could mean the difference between a leaking roof and one that’s solid for years to come!

Trim Back Overgrowth

Summer is prime growing season for trees and shrubs, so yours can probably use a little trim. And cutting back overgrown foliage gets you ready for the winter storms ahead, when falling branches can cause all kinds of havoc. Prune away any dead or weak branches or foliage that hangs over your roof or sidewalks. If you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, call in a professional tree service for some backup. Whatever you do, though, don’t trim any branches near utility wires—this is a job for city or county employees only.

Clean Your Kitchen Appliances

Now that the summer heat is finally waning, using the oven seems a lot more appealing. To prepare for the home-cooked meals ahead, consider giving your fridge, oven and dishwasher a deep, thorough clean. Need a quick refresher on how to do just that? This post from Martha Stewart has pretty much everything you need to know. Of course Martha would know how to do kitchen cleaning right!

Get Your Water Heater Up-to-Snuff

No one likes a cold shower—least of all when it’s freezing outside! With colder weather on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to give your water heater a little TLC. More specifically, you’ll want to flush your water heater’s tank with a garden hose. This frequently overlooked home maintenance task rids your tank of sediments that build up over time. Left to their own devices, these mineral deposits not only reduce your water heater’s performance, but can also cause leaks and other expensive, irksome problems. Save yourself a new hot water heater and clean yours out following the instructions in this video from Rheem.

Deep Clean Your Floors

With the kids spending more time inside, messes are sure to follow. Meanwhile, the rainy and snowy days ahead mean they’ll be tracking mud and dirt inside at epic levels. To keep your home presentable, it’s not a bad idea to give your floors and carpets a deep cleaning now before the weather takes a nasty turn. Regardless of the type of flooring you have in your home, Real Simple offers tips to get it sparkling clean—at least until the kids get to it, that is.

Check Your Furnace

Speaking of nasty weather, if your home gets its first frost sooner rather than later, you’re going to want to give your furnace some attention now. A little routine maintenance, such as changing the air filter, cleaning the vents and testing the thermostat will go a long way when the temperatures plummet. In fact, you may even think about calling in an HVAC specialist for a professional tune-up. A pro can check your electrical connections and give your system a more thorough cleaning—and inspect all the parts to make sure they’re working properly. After all, parenting is hard enough without a broken furnace to worry about!

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