Maintenance Checklist

Area Time Period Item to Check
Exterior Maintenance Items Monthly Check automatic garage door to make sure it reverses when hitting an obstruction.
When raining, check gutter and downspouts.  If water is running over gutter sides, clean out.  If water is running over gutter at end opposite of downspout, gutters may need to be re-pitched.  If running out at seams, seams may need to be sealed.
When raining, check where water goes when it leaves the downspout.  If it pools under or near your house or runs under a neighbor’s you need to explore drainage options.
When raining, check in attic or ceilings for evidence of water penetration.
Annually Check roof for missing, loose, or damaged shingles.  Check flat roofs for blisters or open seams.
Check flashing at chimneys dormers, valleys, porches, and vents.
Check and clean vents and louvers.  Remove bird and wasp nests here and in other places.
Trim branches and vegetation off of roof.
in fall and spring Sweep debris off roof–especially flat roofs, behind chimneys, and in valleys.
Check all exterior wood siding, trim, windows, soffits, and fascia for chipping, peeling paint.  Note if confined to a certain area and caused by a certain problem  (eg. moisture because gutter not draining–address underlying problem first.)   Scrape and re-apply paint or stain to prevent wood rot.
Check for evidence of water infiltration behind aluminum or vinyl soffits and trim.
Check replacement double-pane windows for signs of failure (eg-condensate between glass)
Check windows and  screens for breaks and  tears. Including missing glazing.   Remember to check foundation and attic windows and openings.
Check caulking between siding and trim and other materials.
Check weatherstripping, particularly around doors.
Check all brick (chimney, foundation, and siding) for loose, deteriorated, or missing mortar.
Trim all vegetation that is laying on the siding or foundation of the house.  This greenery will hold moisture and encourage rot and bugs.
Look for termite trails.  Note that they can enter through the hollow core of concrete blocks or from roots under the house.  If you suspect termites at all, call a pest control company.
Check all decks, patios, porches, stairs, railings and fences for loose members and deterioration.   This includes wood, metal, masonry, and other.  Repair as appropriate.
Consider powerwashing house–especially if dirt and mildew are visible.
Every 2-3 Years Powerwash and seal deck or other exterior wood elements.
Every 1-5 Years Clean and seal asphalt drives every 1-3 years and concrete drives every 3-5 years.
Interior Annually Check ceilings and surfaces around windows for evidence of moisture.  Identify cause–eg wet weather or condensation from AC window unit.  Address cause before other repair.
Check stairs and railings for loose members.   Check built in cabinets for soundness and smooth operation.
Check walls and ceilings for cracks.  Assess cause.
Check paint or finish on walls, ceiling, and trimwork.  Clean. Scrape loose and touch up as necessary.
Check flooring for cracks or wear.  Address as needed  (eg. more grout, patch and/or replace, or refinish.)
Check doors and windows, along with doors, hinges, and other hardware for smooth operation.  Identify underlying cause if necessary.  Lubricate, shim, or trim as necessary.
Check basement for excessive dampness, cracks, or leaks.  Address as necessary.  Consider a dehumidifier for a damp basement.
in summer Check attic for excessive heat.  An attic fan, ridge vent, turbine, or other system should be functioning to let excess heat out of your attic..  Excess heat can shorten the life of your roof.
Heating and Cooling General Know the location of the main gas shut-off and individual shut-off valves.
Monthly Change the filter in your central heat and/or air system.  (Less often IF manufacturer recommends)
Keep the area around your heating and cooling components clean and free of debris.
Annually Vacuum  the registers and cold air returns (More often if necessary.  Consider a professional duct cleaning if you’ve have dust-generating rehab work done since they were installed)
Check owner’s manual for annual maintenance checks for your system.  (They are different for steam, gas, and electric.)  Consider having your system serviced annually.
Check ductwork to make sure insulation is intact.  Improperly insulated ducts in unconditioned crawlspaces and attics will cause loss of heat/cool AND may cause condensate and related water damage.
Check (or have checked) chimneys, flues, and dampers.  Clean as necessary.  IF you have a gas appliance vented up a chimney, consider installing a carbon monoxide detector.  If venting a gas appliance in an unlined chimney, consider lining it.  Install a cap to keep birds and pests out.  Install a spark arrester to keep sparks if you burn wood or other combustibles.
In spring Prep your AC unit by uncovering (if cover used).  Brush away leaves, grass, and other debris.  Clean condensate drain and pump (if your central unit has one) by pouring 1/2 quarts of bleach and water mix through it.
in fall Remove or cover a window AC unit to minimize cold air infiltration into your house.
Plumbing General Know location of main water shut off and individual shut-off valves.  Be able to shut off at street if no other option.
Read up on drain cleaners before you decide to use one.  These are often harsh on pipes.  If you use one, use only a drain cleaner approved for the types of pipes you have  (and remember that you may have several types of pipe material between your fixtures and the street).
Monthly Check  faucets, hose bubs, and supply valves.  Fix as necessary.
Check for evidence of leaks under sinks, showers, toilets, and tubs.  Fix as necessary.
Check caulking around showers, bathtubs, sinks, and toilet base. Remove and replace as necessary to prevent water damage to subsurfaces.
Clean and remove hair and debris from tub and sink drains.
To keep roots from growing into your sewer line (especially important with older clay lines), flush one cup of salt down your toilet every month.  (Some sites also recommend having your sewer lines inspected by a professional once a year.)
For gas hot water heaters, make sure the hood and vent pipe are intact.  Make sure not flammable liquids or other materials are stored nearby.  Make sure required ventilation in closet installation is not blocked.
Annually Inspect your hot water heater for leaks and corrosion.  Consider having a plumber check the pressure and temperature relief valve.
Make sure water heater thermostat is set according to manufacturer’s instructions. (Connect hose to spigot near bottom of tank and drain until water runs clear.)
Drain hot water heater to remove sediment that decreases efficiency.
in fall Make sure insulation on pipes in crawl space is intact.
in fall Drain lawn and garden hoses and store for winter.  Shut off outside spigots
Electrical General Know the location of the fuse box.  Know how to pull the main breaker.  Make sure each circuit is labeled so that you know which breaker or fuse controls each fixture and outlet in your home.
If fuses blow or breakers trip frequently or any appliance sparks or shorts out, call an electrician.
Monthly Check GFCI circuits.  (When these are installed as outlets they are usually located in the kitchen, bath, and outside and have “test” and “reset” buttons on them. )
Test smoke detector batteries to make sure they’re operating.
Annually Check cords and plugs for damage or wear.  Replace if necessary.  (more often if you have gnawing pets J)
Trip circuit breakers and main to insure proper functioning.
Replace smoke detector batteries. (Pick a month for this one–maybe Jan 1 or Daylight Savings Time)
Appliances Monthly Garbage Disposal–Make sure drain connections and fasteners are tight.  Clean according to manufacturer’s directions to keep down odor.  (Try lemons and ice followed by hot water.)
Range Hood–Clean filters to insure proper operation and limit the fire hazard of grease buildup.
Dishwasher–Clean strainer and spray arm
Annually Refrigerator–Vacuum coils under and or behind fridge.  Drain and clean drain pan.  Make sure door gaskets are still flexible.
Clothes Dryer–Take loose and vacuum exhaust duct. Check outside for nests or obstructions too. Consider replacing a plastic duct which can become a brittle fire hazard with a metal one.
Washing Machine–Check water supply lines for signs of deterioration.

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