Homeowner Maintenance Tips, for your convenience!
Like me, your new year’s resolutions may have included taking better care of things. You know… pets, car, relationships, etc. How about your home? That place keeps you warm and safe. It offers you space to create, grow, entertain, nurture, get private time and quiet time… And you need to give back. Yes, I do too.
It’s over half way through 2014 and I’m realizing my home needs a little love to prepare it for the coming fall and winter. Nothing like a rainy day to remind me how lucky I am to be on the inside, looking out. (It’s not often I say that in Boulder, Colorado!)
A saying I heard the other day: “When it’s raining outside it’s too late to fix the roof. When it’s not raining, the roof doesn’t need fixing”. Actually, it was an analogy to other things in our lives… but is perfectly fitting here too!
This comprehensive list of homeowner maintenance tips is a great reminder of things to check and maintain:
Northern Colorado Homeowner Maintenance Tips
A key to protecting the investment you’ve made in your home is by following a regular homeowner 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.
- Test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
- 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.
- Inspect fireplace, wood stove and chimneys. Have each cleaned 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.
- Have A/C system serviced as needed. (Recommended 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.
- 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.
- 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 and replace damaged caulking and weather stripping.
- Check pipes for condensation or dripping.
- Inspect driveway and walk ways and 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 your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector.
- Change the batteries in both.
- Have your HVAC system serviced by a qualified and insured professional.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- If you have well water, test the water quality. Testing for bacteria twice a year is suggested.
- If you have a septic tank, measure the sludge and scum to determine if the tank needs to be emptied before spring. As a general rule, septic tanks should be pumped out at least once every three years.
- Check furnace air filters each month during the heating season. Clean or replace as necessary.
- Consult your owner’s manual for your hot water heater. Most recommend draining a dishpan full of water from the clean-out valve at the bottom of your hot water tank to control sediment build-up to maintain its efficiency.
- Check all fire extinguishers. Recharge or replace as necessary.
- Review family’s escape and preparedness plans for fire and natural disaster.
- Check locks on doors and windows to ensure they are functioning properly.
- Throughout the winter, watch for excessive moisture build-up. Take necessary action whenever excessive build-up exists to prevent future maintenance and health problems.
- (For example, excessive condensation on windows.)
- Test all faucets and monitor for signs of dripping. Change washers as needed.
- (If a faucet leak persists, it may need replacement.)
- Check and clean drains in sinks, bathtubs, shower stalls and dishwasher.
- Test all plumbing shut-off valves to ensure they are in proper working order.
- Monitor windows and doors for cold air leaks or ice accumulation. Note any problems for repair or replacement in the spring.
- Before installing indoor or outdoor seasonal lights, check all electrical cords, plugs and outlets for signs of wear. Test cords and plugs, if they feel warm to the touch or show any signs of wear, replace immediately.
- Test all outside lights and timers to make sure they are functioning properly.
- Check roof for ice dams or icicles. If there is excessive staining or frost on the roof’s underside or excessive ice accumulation on the roof itself, it may require repair.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
– Benjamin Franklin