If you're buying your first house or relocating to Idaho/Washington, there are some seasonal maintenance items you will want to stay on top of. Winters play a big role in the Pacific Northwest; make sure you're prepared!
VACUUM + DUST..the overlooked areas.
Beyond your typical chores, you'll want to thoroughly clean major vents and air returns. They collect a lot of dust during winter when the house is closed up and the furnace runs non-stop. Use the dishwasher for an easy way to clean the vent covers.
CAULK CRACKS & CREVICES.
Bugs are coming out of hibernation mode and will need somewhere to call their "home". Hopefully it isn't inside of yours!
The temperature changes can often cause damage to areas such as decks, concrete, rooftops, etc. Don't let a tiny crack turn into something bigger (and more expensive) when it could have been repaired early on.
SUMMERIZE THE SPRINKLERS.
Have a professional prep your sprinkler system for use. Some cities even require a "back flow" test so make sure to inquire. *Maintenance records/service receipts are something a Buyer will commonly ask to see.*
As soon as Spring arrives shrubbery can get out of control. Stop overgrowth before it starts. Make sure to trim everthing close to the house or it can start to grow behind siding, collect water near the foundation, damage sidewalks, and so forth.
CLEAN RAIN GUTTERS.
Fall/Winter bring dead leaves and branches. You'll want your gutters clear before April Showers (which in our area is any time from Feb-June). Make sure the down spouts steer water AWAY from the house.
PROTECT THE PIPES.
Remove all hoses and drain the hose as well as the faucet. Cover each outdoor water faucet with an insulator ($5-$10/ea). Check all pipes in/under/above/outside the home. Cover any exposed pipes with insulation; this includes the water heater.
TEST THE TEMP.
This one is easy. Check your thermostat BEFORE the cold weather hits to make sure that it actually works.
PLAN FOR INDOORS.
You'll be indoors - a lot. Nothing like breathing stagnant, musty air that hasn't been filtered. Change your air filters and make sure your furnace is serviced. Plan ahead as HVAC companies get extremely busy and will charge extra for an "emergency" visit.
PREP FOR SNOW.
Test the snowblower BEFORE it snows. Be cautions of de-icers & EZ Meltz. Many of them can eat away your concrete.
Protect your gas meters, AC units, plants, etc from ice/snow melt that may fall off of your rooftop.
PLAN FOR VACATION.
If you're going away make sure to leave the thermostat at 55 degrees or higher. Leave all cabinet doors for water pipes open to the house so they are exposed to more heat. Also, consider turning off the main water. Consider having automatic exterior lighting since it will be getting dark early.
BLOWOUT THE SPRINKLERS.
Have a professional winterize your sprinkler system. It's a quick and easy service that could save your sprinklers from damage.