You may be familiar with talk about the hidden costs of owning a home, but regular repairs, maintenance and improvements might be the most overlooked of them all.

According to a survey from Zillow and Thumbtack, U.S. homeowners spent around $3,000 per year on average‡ for maintenance tasks that required a professional.

It’s not a stretch to think that at least some of these costs could be reduced by tackling repairs and upkeep yourself. If you have the equipment, the ability and the time, use the seasons as a guide for planning out your household maintenance schedule in 2018.

Winter tasks

Any months that place more strain on your home’s central heating and cooling systems should include regular cleaning or replacing of air filters. It’s best to check the filters before the heating system starts working overtime to make sure your equipment is in the best shape possible.

If severe winter storms are a threat where you live, it’s important to prepare for the potential loss of electricity and other weather-related concerns. Consider buying a generator to run important appliances if power outages are a common occurrence, and be sure it’s in good working condition before winter fully sets in. Don’t forget to stock your emergency kit with first aid supplies, canned food, batteries and a radio.

Spring tasks

Spring cleaning is a rite of passage for homeowners, but it shouldn’t be limited to purging your closets and storage bins. Take advantage of warmer weather and get your outdoor space in shape for summer, too.

*Rake up any leaves remaining from fall and remove debris from flower beds and underneath any hedges.

*If you have trees, have them inspected by a professional arborist to see if they need any special care.

*Homes in colder climates needed to turn their outdoor water spigots off during winter. When the weather is warmer, turn these back on but watch for any leaks or potential fractures caused by frost.

Summer tasks

Almost everywhere in the U.S., homes need a well-maintained air conditioning system to keep cool during the hot summer months. Take time to clean or replace your HVAC filter, if you have one. Or, if you use window units for air conditioning, clean them and check if the coolant needs to be refilled.

Many homeowners begin major renovation tasks in the summer, but you might be able to save on cost if you can delay these until the fall. If you’re planning a big project, look into scheduling it now to take advantage of lower demand in the fall.

Fall tasks

The gutters and downspouts of a home are hard to see from the ground, but they are critical for maintaining the integrity of the roof and the rest of the home. If you can safely access your roof with a ladder, don your gardening gloves and get to work clearing debris out of your gutters. It might be wise to hire a professional to clean if that makes more sense for you and your family. A professional can  inspect your roof, gutters and downspouts for any signs of wear and tear, especially if you are in an area that can expect heavy snowfall in the winter.

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