Preventive Home Maintenance Guide
Exterior Home Maintenance
- Shingle Roofs – Check for loose, damaged or missing shingles. Make sure to check ridge areas, or areas where downspouts from upper roofs discharge onto a lower roof. Replace or repair any missing or damaged shingles.
- Flat Roofs – Check for blisters, bubbles, bald areas and open seams. If roof is gravel or tar, check for areas of gravel erosion.
- Tile Roofs – Check for loose or broken tiles. Replace if broken, repair if loose.
- Check all roof penetrations for signs of deteriorated installation and possible source of water leaks.
- Check roof flashing for any damage.
- Cut back any tree branches from roof to avoid damage to roof surface.
Chimney -6 Months Maintenance
- Inspect outside of chimney for any damaged or loose bricks, stones, and deteriorated or cracked mortar joints. Stucco, look for cracks or loose sections.
- Inspect interior of chimney for soot buildup.
- Check chimney flashings for leakage.
- Check chimney caps for any loose or broken sections; also check for obstructions, such as bird nests.
- Inspect metal chimneys for rust, missing rain caps and loose braces.
Eaves –Annual Maintenance
- Check soffits and fascia for loose and rotted areas and water stains. Repair where necessary.
Gutter System – Maintenance Every 3 Months
- Check for any damaged gutters, hangers and downspouts.
- Remove debris in gutters and downspouts.
- Tighten loose mountings.
- Check gutter alignment to ensure rainwater collects properly and drains away from house.
- Repair or caulk holes. Replace any sections that have excessive rust.
Grading -Annual Maintenance
- Inspect for signs of termites or other pest infestation in areas near the foundation.
- Check grading to ensure drainage away from the house. Recommended: 1-inch drop per foot for first 6 feet away from structure.
Exterior Walls-Annual Maintenance
- Stucco Walls, check for cracking and separating.
- Wood Walls, check for rot, loose or damaged wood, caulking and wood/soil contact. If paint deterioration is a result of blistering or bubbling, you must determine the cause.
- Masonry Walls, check for deteriorated brick and mortar voids.
- Metal or Vinyl, check for loose or missing components.
- All Walls, check for settling, buckling and any other evidence of movement.
- Check all trim for paint condition and fit.
Vegetation -3 Months Maintenance
- Keep all vegetation clear of wall surface by 6 inches
Windows and Doors-Annual Maintenance
- Check for broken glass or damaged screens.
- Clean screens.
- Check weather stripping for tight fit. Replace if damaged.
- Check caulking where window, door and trim intersect with wall surfaces.
- Check all door hardware and lubricate if needed.
- Remove any debris from all foundation window wells.
- Overhead Garage Doors, keep tracks clean, lubricate hinges, rollers, wheels or ball bearings with oil or powdered graphite when in down position.
Porches and Decks- 6 Months Maintenance
- Check all components for any damage or rot and any insect infestation.
- Check railings and steps for stability and loose components.
Grounds and Yard-Annual Maintenance
- Check all driveways and sidewalks for cracking, settling or uplifting. These conditions may be a safety hazard and others may direct surface water to the structure. Determine cause and correct as needed.
- Check retaining walls, fences and other wood structures for any damage, rot or insect infestations.
Structure Home Maintenance
- Check all exposed wood structural components for any evidence of rot or insect infestation. This is usually only possible to observe in the crawl spaces. Pay special attention to kitchen and bathroom areas, or any other area where water could enter.
Surface Cracks-Wall and Ceiling-Annual Maintenance
- Check walls and ceilings for evidence of water stains. Determine cause and repair.
- Check all interior walls and ceilings for surface cracks. Minor cracks due to normal structure settling and shrinkage are to be anticipated. Larger cracks that get larger from year to year may mean significant movement.
- Check behind blinds, closets, and other areas for evidence of fungus or condensation. This may mean high humidity levels or moisture penetration.
- Check windows for condensation, which may indicate high humidity inside structure.
- Check double pane windows for condensation between glass. If condensation exists, the seal may have failed and needs to be repaired.
- Check for water stains on underside of roof sheeting.
- Check to determine that insulation is not wet.
- Check for rot, mildew or fungus on wood components. This could mean high humidity.
- Check to make sure roof vents are free of any obstruction (birds nest), and all vent screens are functional.
Electrical Home Maintenance
Main Panel -Annual Maintenance
- Breakers, flip all breakers to OFF position and then ON position, to ensure that no breaker has seized and to ensure proper function.
- Fuses, hand-tighten all fuses.
- Check main panel for rust or water marks, which may indicate water penetration.
- Keep a supply of new fuses near main electrical panel.
Indoor Wiring-Annual Maintenance
- Check the condition of all lamp, appliance, extension cords and plugs. Replace if damaged.
- Ground Fault Circuits (GFI), test electrical outlet monthly by pushing test button on receptacle.
- If fuses blow or circuit breaker trips frequently, contact an electrician to determine cause and make necessary repairs.
Outdoor Wiring-Annual Maintenance
- Check all wires leading to house to make sure they are not loose or frayed.
- Check to make sure all exterior outlets have weather-tight, protective covers
- Check to make sure that trees and other vegetation are not touching any outside wiring system.
Plumbing Home Maintenance
Supply Plumbing System-6 Months Maintenance
- Check any exposed plumbing supply lines for signs of leaks.
- Repair any and all leaking or dripping faucets.
- Water Filter – (for point of service carbon-activated unit) Replace carbon cartridge as needed.
Waste Plumbing System-Monthly Maintenance
- Check for leaks on exposed drain and plumbing lines.
- Check and clean all exterior drains as necessary.
- Check slow drains and clean as needed.
- Have septic tank pumped out every 2-5 years.
Water Heaters-Annual Maintenance
- Hot Water Heater Tank, drain hot water heater to remove accumulated slidge and sediment from bottom of tank.
- Electric, shut off power prior to draining. Drain completely.
- Gas, shut off gas, check exhaust vent and air shutter penning for dirt and any obstruction. Vacuum air passages to burner and clean burner of any dirt and lint.
- Toilets that run continuously should be repaired.
- Check for leaks around or under toilet bowl, sinks, showers and tubs.
- Check caulking around all bathroom and kitchen fixtures; repair as necessary.
- Check lawn sprinkler system for leaky valves and exposed lines.
Cooling Systems Home Maintenance
Air Conditioner/Heat Pump-Regular Maintenance
- Clean or replace filters.
- Remove debris around compressor.
- Flush evaporator drain line. Check condensate tray for buildup.
All Whole-House Fans-Annual Maintenance
- Keep fan blades cleaned.
- Lubricate motor and pulley bearings with drop of oil on each pivot and oil port.
- Check drive belt and replace if sides appear glazed or smooth or if tension is not tight.
- Dislodge leaves and any debris from louver pivots.
Heating System Home Maintenance
Forced Air Systems-Annual Maintenance
- Check air filters on conventional systems for dirt and dust. Clean if necessary to keep air moving freely and to prevent airborne dirt from circulating through the house.
- Change filters at least every 3 months.
- Check electronic air filters for dust and dirt. Clean by following manufacturer’s instructions. (Every 2-3 months).
- Clean dirt and dust around heating unit.
Electric Heat-Annual Maintenance
- A qualified technician should inspect the heating unit to ensure all components are operating properly and that there are no loose or burned out connections. (Every 2-3 yrs).
Safety Equipment Home Maintenance
Smoke Alarms-Monthly Maintenance
- Test by pressing test button (alarm should sound).
- Replace batteries when needed.
Fire Extinguisher-Monthly Maintenance
- Check indicator on pressure gauge to be sure extinguisher is charged.
- Be sure lockpin is firmly in place and intact.