Just like your car needs routine maintenance to keep it running efficiently, so does your home. Just as you take your car in for oil changes every 3,000 miles, there are things around your home that need the same kind of maintenance. Knowing what maintenance is needed and routinely checking the items that need inspection, cleaning and replacing, is the best way to protect you, your family, your investment, and costly repairs.

Pink Realty put together a checklist of items that need to be routinely inspected and maintained each year so you can keep your mechanical systems running efficiently and catch any trouble spots before they become a problem. Some maintenance items listed may be obvious, but others may not be.

To provide a common sense approach to home maintenance, we organized the checklist by season because there are definitely things you need to do to prepare for both the colder and warmer temperatures.

While this list is not all inclusive of everything that may need to be checked or maintained, feel free to add to this list depending on the different types of heating, cooling, sewer system, etc., that you may have.

•If you use your fireplace, have it cleaned by a chimney sweep. You should also check for any debris and cracks in the chimney. And creosote buildup and debris such as leaves and bird nests could become a fire hazard.

•According to the U.S. Fire Administration, heating is the cause of 27 percent of structure fires during the winter months. So make sure all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working in your home. And it's best to have smoke alarms in every room of your home, including hallways. Be sure that home maintenance includes checking the batteries in all alarms once a month is always on your home maintenance checklist.

•Clean humidifiers a few times during the winter season to keep it functioning properly.

•When water freezes, it expands and can cause your pipes to burst. To prevent frozen pipes, insulate pipes near windows, doors and in areas of the home that are unheated. Disconnect your garden hose from the outside faucet. Finally, set the heat to no lower than 55 degrees F.

•Check for air leaks around windows and doors, including cracks in caulking or weatherstripping. Also, replace caulk and weatherstripping if necessary.

•Your winter home maintenance checklist should include trimming any dead tree limbs so they don't fall and damage your home during a winter storm. And if you need to remove large limbs or remove a tree, it may be best to hire a professional.

•If you have ceiling fans, there should be a switch to make the fan blades run clockwise. Running the blades in a clockwise position during the colder months can push heated air down. This home maintenance task makes rooms with high ceilings more comfortable.

•Even though the condensing unit is built for outdoor elements, it can still be damaged by falling icicles and other debris. You don't need to invest in a waterproof cover (in fact many manufacturers recommend against it, because it creates a warm space for critters). Just place a sheet of plywood held down by a few bricks on top and your AC should be ready to work again in the spring. Don't forget! Your winter home maintenance checklist should also include removing and storing any window air conditioner units.

•Drain the clean out valve in your hot water tank to control sediment and maintain efficiency. To do this properly, please check your owner's manual.

•Keep exhaust fans, smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, and heating vents vacuumed. Dust and cobwebs can keep them from functioning properly.

•Vacuum radiator grilles on the backs of refrigerators and freezers to ensure proper air flow and avoid overheating.

•Check faucets for dripping and change washers when needed. If you have a faucet you do not use frequently, occasionally turn on the water to keep water in the trap.

•Clean drains in your dishwasher, sinks, bathtubs and showers.

•Test plumbing shut-off valves to make sure they work and to prevent them from seizing.

•Check your attic for any frost accumulation and check your roof for any ice problems near attic vents.

•Monitor outdoor vents, gas meters and chimneys for any ice and snow buildup.

•Check electrical cords, plugs and outlets, indoors and out. Replace worn cords, especially those on seasonal holiday lights.

•Keep snow away from gas meters, gas appliance vents, exhaust vents and basement windows.