Home Maintenance


Periodic maintenance also falls under the general class of home repairs. 1997HealthHousePhoto04
These are inspections, adjustments, cleanings, or replacements that should be done regularly to ensure proper functioning of all the systems in a house, and to avoid costly emergencies. Examples include annual testing and adjustment of alarm systems, central heating or cooling systems (electrodes, thermocouples, and fuel filters), replacement of water treatment components or air-handling filters, purging of heating radiators and water tanks, defrosting a freezer, vacuuming refrigerator coils, refilling dry floor-drain traps with water, cleaning out gutters, downspouts and drains, touching up worn house paint and weather seals, and cleaning accumulated creosote out of chimney flues, which may be best left to a chimney sweep.

Examples of less frequent home maintenance that should be regularly forecast and budgeted include repainting or staining outdoor wood or metal, repainting masonry, waterproofing masonry, cleaning out septic systems, replacing sacrificial electrodes in water heaters, replacing old washing machine hoses (preferably with stainless steel hoses less likely to burst and cause a flood), and other home improvements such as replacement of obsolete or aging systems with limited useful lifetimes (water heaters, wood stoves, pumps, and asphaltic or wooden roof shingles and siding.

Often on the bottom of people's to-do list is home maintenance chores, such as landscaping, window and gutter cleaning, power washing the siding and hard-scape, etc. However, these maintenance chores pay for themselves over time. Often, injury could occur when operating heavy machinery or when climbing on ladders or roofs around your home, so if an individual is not in the proper physical condition to accomplish these chores, then they should consult a professional. Lack of maintenance will cost more due to higher costs associated with repairs or replacements to be made later. It requires discipline and learning aptitude to repair and maintain the home in good condition, but it is a satisfying experience to perform even seemingly minor repairs.


Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

When the summer ends and the weather is beginning to cool, there are important home maintenance tasks to tackle.

• Clean out gardens and trim back trees and shrubs as necessary

• Plant trees and turn over soil in vegetable garden

• Fertilize grass and reseed as necessary

• Inspect the chimney cap and vents for your fireplace and dryer to remove any debris

• Open septic tank and check the level - if it's high or approaching a high level, call a pumping contractor (this should be done every three years regardless)

• Clean out gutters and drainpipes and ensure that downspouts are working well

• Drain and store outdoor hoses and hose bibs and turn off interior valves leading to outdoor faucets

• Cover the air conditioner and set to "off"

• Remove screens and check the weather stripping around all windows and doors, repair and replace if necessary

• Disconnect the furnace power and inspect the forced-air fan belt for signs of wear and looseness

• For central sir systems, check that the drain pain under the cooling coil in your furnace plenum is clean and working well

• Change your furnace filter – this should be done each month during the winter as well

• Remove the floor grilles and vacuum out the ducts

• Vacuum around and in electric baseboard heaters to remove dust and debris

• Test your furnace by turning it to heat (don't forget to light the pilot, if necessary) and raising the temperature until the system comes on – turn down to the desired level afterward

• Bleed the air from your hot water radiators

• Inspect the ducts from your furnace and throughout your home, repairing any cracks, tears and other damage

• Check that your sump pump is operating well and clean out any debris in the pit

• Check that your bathroom and range hood exhaust are working well and that the dampers open properly outside

• Test your smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and security systems, replacing batteries as needed


Winter Home Maintenance Checklist

Once you have battened down the hatches in the fall, winter is a more restful time. Besides changing your furnace filter on a monthly basis, you need to do a few other things on a regular basis throughout the cold months. It's also a good time to look at the plumbing and safety systems and the air flow in your home.

• Remove snow and ice as they build up in front of vents, gas meters, on walkways, and near basement windows and emergency exits

• Shovel driveway and keep clear of ice

• Watch roof for ice dams and dangerous icicles

• Furnace air filters need to be changed monthly, ventilation system filters can be done every other month

• Check your firewood supply and remove ash buildup in a wood burning appliance as necessary

• Clean your humidifier

• Pull out the refrigerator and freezer, vacuum out the radiator grilles and clean the floor underneath

• Go over the fire escape routes with your family and make sure the emergency exits are not blocked

• Replace washers on leaky faucets and replace any faucets necessary

• Clean out all the drains in your house

• Keep basement floor drain trap filled with water

• Run water through pipes that are used infrequently to prevent freezing and problems

• Inspect windows and doors for excessive condensation and ice buildup

• Note any drafts or cold air leaks that you find for repair in the warmer weather


Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

As the seasons change and the nice weather returns, more home maintenance tasks crop up.

• Clean out winter debris from the gardens and de-thatch the lawn

• Fertilize the grass, trees and the garden as necessary

• Mulch the gardens to reduce weeds and maintain moisture levels

• Watch for pests, their nests, and any damage that they may be causing around the home

• Clean out drains and ditches of debris

• Clean out gutters and drainpipes and ensure that downspouts are working well

• Level out any heaved deck or fence posts, as well as patio stones and stairs

• Stain or paint any wood decks or fences once they have had time to dry out, but before the heat sets in

• Inspect the foundation for cracks, splits, leaks, and any other damage

• After the last threat of frost has passed, open up hose valves and bibs and reattach the hoses

• Take off storm windows and put in screens, replacing or repairing wherever necessary

• Turn off the gas furnace heat and extinguish pilot light if applicable

• Clean the air conditioning filter or replace if necessary

• Switch on the air conditioning system and test in a similar fashion to the furnace test done in the fall

• Check dehumidifier and drain if necessary

• Turn off, clean out, and drain furnace humidifier if applicable and close the damper if you have central air

• Test your smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and security systems, replacing batteries as needed

• Change the furnace filter (monthly)

• Check that your sump pump is operating well and clean out any debris in the pit


Summer Home Maintenance Checklist

You want to enjoy the hot sun of summer and not be stuck doing home maintenance, but many of these jobs are fast and are best done in the warmth of this season.

• Repair or replace driveways, patios, and walkways

• Repaint wood frames on doors and windows

• Maintain the gardens, ensuring vines, roots and branches are not growing dangerously close to the house

• Keep vegetable garden, trees, flower gardens, and potted plants watered and fed

• Inspect the roof for any damage, wear and problems that may have arisen over the winter

• Inspect the siding and repair or replace as necessary

• Lubricate garage door openers and repair any hinges, handles, and locks on all doors

• Check all caulking and weather stripping around mechanical and electrical services, paying special attention to the main door in the garage

• Check the stability of railings and guardrails

• Check the operation of all windows

• Deep clean rugs, carpets, and draperies

• Monitor the humidity in the basement, maintaining it at 60 percent

• Change the furnace filter (monthly)

• Keep basement floor drain trap filled with water