Most of us know to change our oil in our car regularly, but not many of us know what and when maintenance is needed in our homes. When you purchase a new car, the dealers are good at giving mileage markers for common maintenance. A car is also good at letting us know when maintenance has been deferred too long. Brakes squealing, tires balding, or the engine light turning on are just a few. Many times a house is bad at letting us know there is something wrong until there is a real problem.
Well wonder no longer, here is a maintenance list for most components of a home, even if it is a perfect world scenario lets be honest! For some following a plan like this is easy, for others the damage is what drives the repairs. If we do follow this, costly repairs would be reduced over the long run as well as the house being more efficient. So here it is in all its optimism.
Frequency one a Month:
1. First and foremost filters. Change all filters in air returns for your HVAC. Check range hood grease filter, and other equipment such as a humidifier!
2. Test all Smoke, carbon monoxide, and or Fire Alarms. Try not to wait for the chirping to start.
3. Check all faucets interior and exterior for water leakage. The largest problem here is the large loss of water.
4. Check under and around all plumbing fixtures for leaks. Around the floor on toilets, and especially under kitchen sinks.
5. Do a quick scan for insect trails inside and outside the home.
6. While outside, look for loose roof shingles, chimney caps, and tree branches hitting your home.
7. Check your bathroom fans to see if they function properly. If not they could leave quite a bit of moisture inside the bathroom.
8. Especially with a used basement, perform a radon test.
9. Check basement windows and or crawlspace vents for proper operation. Mowing can break glass, and damage vents allowing critters and the weather in.
10. See if soffit vents are present. This area is a great place for critter entry.
11. Make sure your dryer exhaust pipe behind the dryer has not fallen off or been squeezed shut. If able check your outside penetration for unobstructed pathway.
12. Here is an important one, your gutters and their downspouts. Make sure they are attached and not falling away from the house, and that the downspout ends are unobstructed and directed away from the home.
13. Test windows to make sure they operate and latch for safety and a quick fire escape.
14. Lastly change lightbulbs as needed.
Frequency Six Months:
1. Vacuum out floor registers for dirt and dust.
2. Crawl in attic and crawlspace. Look for insect pathways, and water entry.
3. While in attic and crawlspace, check insulation, make sure everything is covered appropriately.
4. If gas is present, sniff test around all gas appliances for gas smell, if suspicious, brush soapy water around joints to see if they bubble.
5. Examine foundation and walls for cracking.
6. Test all GFI outlets in your home. An easy way is to get a cheap tester such as this from a hardware store. The best way is to hit the button on the GFI and see if it trips.
7. Clean all gutters and the perimeter of home from leaves and debris.
8. Check sump pump if you have one for operation.
9. Check your water heater’s vent and operation. Drain a gallon of water out of the tank for sediment etc.
10. Check your refrigerator and freezer coils, if they have them. Defrost if needed as well.
11. Check caulking around sinks, toilets, and especially a shower.
Frequency One Year:
1. Have your HVAC serviced from a professional company.
2. Test your water pressure. The reason for this is if the water pressure is too high, you could have problems with your pipes or water heater.
3. Check siding for paint failure. Raw wood can deteriorate quick.
Frequency 5-10 Years:
1. Have your roof inspected for damage and life.
The good news is that if you would actually follow a list such as this one, and take action on the problems, most other problems will be avoided. No believe me, I am far from perfect. There are a few ideas I have been kicking around. One is offering a maintenance and inspection program with our remodels and builds. Similiar to BMW’s maintenance plan offering included vehicle service for 4 years or 50,000 miles. Alternately we could make available the service to everyone else for a monthly charge. That would be especially nice for those that following this list would be as easy as shaving a cat.
What would you add to this list?
How much would you pay for this type of maintenace plan a month?