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Preventative Home Maintenance - Why Bother and What Should I Do?

Thu 22 Oct 2009 - 09:00

Preventative Home Maintenance - Why Bother and What Should I Do?
By [http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Jeff_Zehnder]Jeff Zehnder

Q. Why should I bother with preventative maintenance on my home?

A. Spend a little now or pay much much more later!

Regular and preventative maintenance is the key to preserve the safety, function and beauty of any home; in the long run it will save you money. The amount of time needed to maintain your home will vary significantly. It depends on the quality of construction as well as the size and age of your home. As a home inspector who sees all types and conditions of homes, I make every effort to identify existing or potential problems but it is simply not possible for any home inspector to predict the future. Therefore as a professional Home Inspector, I recommend that all of my customers budget between $1000-$1500 a year for repairs and regular maintenance. Additionally, when I do an inspection I provide a scheduled maintenance checklist customized for each home.

Your car has a manufacturers maintenance schedule and if you don't follow it (change oil, etc) it will drastically shorten its life, affect its performance and may lead to premature failure (ever been stranded on the side of the road?). Your home behaves in the same manner; you either do the prescribed regular maintenance or you will pay increase operating costs (electricity, gas, etc) and you will pay many times over or more for repairs later. This does not include the surprise factor when a leaky roof drips on your head during Thanksgiving diner with your entire family present.

Many home inspectors offer annual inspections or regularly scheduled maintenance inspections for those homeowners that either cannot do some of the needed chores or choose not to! If you fall into one of those categories make sure you have a qualified inspector perform a complete checkup on your home to prevent problems.


Things that you can/should do to regularly to preserve your home!


Check the attic area after it rains for signs of leaks.
All roofs require periodic maintenance; they should be inspected at least yearly. Do a thorough visual examination using binoculars if you are not able to physically walk on your roof
Check all flashing; it is where most problems occur. Vent pipes have flashing and rubber boots that have a shorter life that the overall roof, and may require replacement. Be sure to look at these closely.
Keep gutters clean!
Trees hanging over your roof can provide a pathway for squirrels and other animals to enter. Trim back as needed (recommend a least a six foot clearance). Trees that touch the roof are a significant problem; they will damage the roof and should be trimmed back immediately.Exterior

Walk around your house inspecting the siding and trim. Focus on any areas of weathered or missing caulking (repair or replace as needed) and paint all siding joints and where siding meets trim as needed. This maintenance keeps your siding weatherproof and allows it to drain down as intended.
Take a closer look at all door & window caulking and painting, and repair as needed.
If you power wash your home, do not power wash windows/doors. Most manufacturers do not recommend it, so only do the siding.
Check bolts on any handrail/guardrails and tighten as needed. Check any steps to ensure they are stable and repair as needed. Structure & Foundation

Walk around house after heavy rain and look for standing water and any areas of poor drainage. Then fill or re-grade as needed. Proper grading is important to keep the "feet" of your home dry. The ground should slope away for at least 6-10 feet. Check the crawlspace for standing water.
Foundation vents generally should remain open but may be closed during extreme cold spells. However, they should be opened as soon as temperatures are consistently above freezing. This helps prevent condensation and excess moisture in the crawl space.
Check and clean drainage system for crawl space as needed to ensure it works properly.HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Cooling system

Change filter monthly when using HVAC system (all forced air systems).
Have your system checked by a professional each heating season and cooling season for efficient operation and to help extend the life span of your unit. (Not recommend for DIYer)
Clean condensate lines and check monthly for blockage during the cooling season.
Clean the fireplace each season.
Check insulation yearly (crawlspace and attic) to see if it has moved or fallen. Plumbing

Drain one gallon of water, both spring and fall at base of your water heater to help remove sediment.
Check all faucets and drains for signs of leaks.Electrical

Test all GFCI receptacles and breakers monthly.
Test all AFCI receptacles and breakers monthly.
Test all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly.Interior

Clean and remove any mold on bathroom and shower walls as soon as it occurs.
Do not close off any vents in rooms from HVAC system unless it has a separate system.
If you see condensation on insulated windows it is a sign of high humidity and the source needs to be identified.
Check all hand/guard rails for any signs they may need repair or tightening.
Vacuum any heat or cooling registers.
Vacuum any bath exhaust vents or registers.Kitchen

Clean any vent fans and filters (stove hood, microwave) monthly.
Check and repair any caulking around counter tops and sinksUtility

Inspect washer hoses/connections for wear or cracks and replace as needed
Check dryer exhaust vents for connection and blockage and clean as needed. Garage

Check and oil all moving parts on garage door and tracks. [http://www.jjeffzehnder.com/home_maintenance_raleigh_nc.html]More Information on Home Maintenance

Author Jeff Zehnder is a member of the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors NACHI); a licensed [http://www.jjeffzehnder.com/]Home Inspector in North Carolina and South Carolina since 2002; a former general contractor and a registered builder in New Jersey. He is also a real estate investor and has purchased and owns and manages his own investment properties.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jeff_Zehnder http://EzineArticles.com/?Preventative-Home-Maintenance---Why-Bother-and-What-Should-I-Do?&id=3067929

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