NEWS

Home Maintenance Tips

Date: May. 6th, 2010

A key to protecting the investment you've made in your home is by following a regular maintenance schedule. By performing preventative maintenance on an on-going basis, you'll avoid many of the big ticket repair items that can lower the value of your home.

Here are helpful checklists for monthly and seasonal maintenance.

Monthly

  • Test your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector.
  • Check the filters on your heating and cooling systems. Be sure to clean and change according to the manufacturer's schedule.
  • If you have a humidifier or an electronic air filter, check these as well.
  • Check faucets for drips. Check plumbing for leaks.

Spring - Inside

  • Check furnace air filters each month during the heating season. Clean or replace as necessary.
  • Inspect fireplace, wood stove and chimneys. Have each clean and serviced as needed.
  • When heating season is complete, shut down and clean furnace humidifier. Close the furnace humidifier damper on units with central air conditioning.
  • Check air conditioning system and clean or replace air filters. Have system serviced as need (recommend every 2 to 3 years).
  • Check and clean dehumidifier as necessary.
  • Where possible, turn off furnace and fireplace pilot lights.
  • Ensure sump pump is operating properly. Check to be sure discharge pipe is connected and allows water to drain away from the foundation.

Spring - Outside

  • If applicable, have well water tested for quality.
  • Examine foundation walls for cracks, leaks or signs of moisture. Repair as required.
  • Check paint on outside walls and fence. Repair and paint as necessary.
  • Check level of any exterior steps or decks which may have moved due to frost or settling. Re-level as necessary.
  • Check and clean out gutters and downspouts. Repair loose joints and ensure secure attachment to your home. Clear any obstructions and make sure water flows away from your foundation.
  • Remove any debris from drainage ditches and culverts.
  • Prune and fertilize landscaping as necessary.

Summer - Inside 

  • Deep clean carpets and rugs.
  • Vacuum air duct grills and bathroom fan grill.
  • Inspect your dryer's lint duct. Disconnect it from the dryer and vacuum out lint from the duct and areas surrounding your dryer.
  • Inspect windows and doorways. Replace damaged caulking and weather stripping.
  • Have a thorough termite inspection if you don't currently have a termite service. Follow up on any treatment and repair recommendations. It will save you money in the long run.
  • Check pipes for condensation or dripping.
  • Check the basement floor trap to be sure it contains water. Refill as necessary.

Summer - Outside

  • Inspect driveway and walk ways. Make repairs as needed.
  • Remove or prune any plants, shrubs or trees that penetrate the foundation, siding or brick.
  • Check exterior siding and trim for signs of damage. Clean, repair and/or replace as needed.
  • Check for and seal holes that could be an entry point for pests and rodents.
  • Make a visual inspection of your roof (or hire a professional to do so). Note the general condition. Sagging could be a sign of structural damage and should be checked by a professional. Inspect all roof flashings, checking for signs of cracking or leakage. Replace broken or damaged shingles as needed.
  • Inspect the chimney cap and caulking.
  • Sweep out chimneys connected to a fireplace or wood burning appliance. Inspect the chimney for end-of-season problems.
  • Test garage door to insure it is opening properly and hardware is secure.
  • Lubricate garage door hardware. If you have a garage door opener, lubricate automatic garage door opener motor, chain, etc. and ensure that the auto-reverse mechanism is properly adjusted.
    Fall

Smoke Alarm / Carbon Monoxide Detector

  • Test your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector.
  • Change the batteries in both. This should be done twice a year.

Furnace / Heating System

  • Have your system serviced by a qualified service company.
  • If you have electric baseboard heaters, vacuum them to remove dust.
  • Remove the grills on forced air systems and vacuum inside the ducts.
  • If you use a portable humidifier, it's time to clean it.

Water Heater

  • Extend its life expectancy by draining a gallon or two of water from your hot water heater at least twice a year.

    Windows and Doors
    [ ] Put up storm windows.
    [ ] Remove screens from the inside of casement windows to allow air from the heating system to keep condensation off window glass.
    [ ] Ensure windows and skylights close tightly.
    [ ] Make sure all doors to the outside shut tightly. Renew weather stripping as required.

Outside

  • Check your chimney for obstructions, such as bird's nests.
  • Clean gutters and test downspouts to ensure proper drainage from the roof.
  • Make sure the ground around your home slopes away from the foundation wall. Remove mulch from the foundation wall as well. This helps prevent water damage.
  • Drain and store outdoor hoses. Prepare your outdoor faucets for winter freezes.
  • Protect young trees and bushes for winter and winterize gardens.
  • Trim shrubs and trees so that they clear the foundation, exterior walls, and roof of the house.
  • Store outdoor furniture.