Regular Maintenance is the Key

Inspecting your home on a regular basis and following good maintenance practices are the best way to protect your investment in your home. Whether you take care of a few tasks at a time or several all at once, it is important to get into the habit of doing them. Establish a routine for yourself, and you will find the work is easy to accomplish and not very time-consuming. A regular schedule of seasonal maintenance can put a stop to the most common — and costly — problems, before they occur. If necessary, use a camera to take pictures of anything you might want to share with an expert for advice or to monitor or remind you of a situation later.

If you do not feel comfortable performing some of the home maintenance tasks listed below, or do not have the necessary equipment, for example a ladder, you may want to consider hiring a qualified handyperson to help you.

Seasonal Home Maintenance

Most home maintenance activities are seasonal. But with Spring in full swing we want to take a look at some of the routine maintenance that should be looked at.  Spring is the time to assess winter damage, start repairs and prepare for warmer months. While most maintenance is seasonal, there are some things you should do on a frequent basis year-round:

 
  • Make sure air vents indoors and outdoors (intake, exhaust and forced air) are not blocked by snow or debris.
 
  • Check and clean range hood filters on a monthly basis.
 
  • Test ground fault circuit interrupter(s) on electrical outlets monthly by pushing the test button, which should then cause the reset button to pop up.
 
  • If there are young children in the house, make sure electrical outlets are equipped with safety plugs.
 
  • Regularly check the house for safety hazards, such as a loose handrail, lifting or buckling flooring, inoperative smoke detectors, and so on.

Spring

 
  • After consulting your hot water tank owner’s manual, carefully test the temperature and pressure relief valve to ensure it is not stuck. Caution: This test may release hot water that can cause burns.
 
  • Check and clean or replace furnace air filters each month during the heating season. Ventilation system, such as heat recovery ventilator, filters should be checked every two months.
 
  • Have fireplace or wood stove and chimney cleaned and serviced as needed.
 
  • Shut down, drain and clean furnace humidifier, and close the furnace humidifier damper on units with central air conditioning.
 
  • Switch on power to air conditioning and check system. Have it serviced every two or three years.
 
  • Clean or replace air-conditioning filter, if applicable.
 
  • Check dehumidifier and drain — clean if necessary.
 
  • Turn OFF gas furnace and fireplace pilot lights where possible.
 
  • Have well water tested for quality. It is recommended that you test for bacteria every six months.
 
  • Check smoke, carbon monoxide and security alarms, and replace batteries.
 
  • Clean windows, screens and hardware, and replace storm windows with screens. Check screens first and repair or replace if needed.
 
  • Open valve to outside hose connection after all danger of frost has passed.
 
  • Examine the foundation walls for cracks, leaks or signs of moisture, and repair as required.
 
  • Ensure sump pump is operating properly before the spring thaw sets in. Ensure discharge pipe is connected and allows water to drain away from the foundation.
 
  • Re-level any exterior steps or decks that moved as a result of frost or settling.
 
  • Check for and seal off any holes in exterior cladding that could be an entry point for small pests, such as bats and squirrels.
 
  • Check eavestroughs and downspouts for loose joints and secure attachment to your home, clear any obstructions, and ensure water flows away from your foundation.
 
  • Clear all drainage ditches and culverts of debris.
 
  • Repair and paint fences as necessary — allow wood fences to dry adequately before tackling this task.
 
  • Undertake spring landscape maintenance and, if necessary, fertilize young trees.

 

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