Being involved with custom home building provides me with a unique opportunity to interact with clients when I orient them to the systems in their new homes before they move-in. There are many items that need recurring maintenance and I often wonder how others remember when to attend to their home’s needs. That thought then migrates to what would my own family do if something were to happen to me? How would then know what to do? We should each have a written list of items that need regular maintenance. It can serve as a checklist and taking care of things on a preventative schedule is much less stressful and better than when a system goes down or an emergency service call is required.
The task of homeowner maintenance is something that should be broken down and reminders noted on one’s calender just like friends and relative’s birthdays. Having calender reminders set will help out immensely.
Here are a few items that are critical maintenance items that are easy to overlook without reminders.
- Clean Gutters – Spring & Fall.
- Lime Lawn – Early Spring and late Fall.
- Clean Siding – Remove mildew, mold or dust from siding and trim
- Lawn and Garden – Establish a fertilization schedule which includes pest and weed control. Pick up sticks and leaves ASAP. Mower heights should be raised in summer. Water lawns in early morning instead of late in the day or at night since doing so minimized fungal diseases in lawns.
- Pool – Opening/Operating/Closing checklists are easy to make and will make your pool a feature that’s enjoyable and healthy for your family/friends.
- Driveway – Patch and repair cracks as they appear and seal your paved driveway every 2-3 years as needed. Sealing annually isn’t needed. Wear of the surface of the sealer is the indicator that tells you when sealing is needed.
- Fuel Level Checks – If you are on “will call” and not automatic delivery for home heating oil or Propane gas, setting calender reminders to check for fuel levels before you run out of fuel is a must to avoid having the unnecessary expense of a service call for emergency delivery or oil burner service after running out of fuel.
- HVAC system service – Oil burners need to be serviced once per year (filters are changed, burner nozzels are changed, burner efficiency is checked, and combustion chamber and smoke pipes are cleaned). A/C pressure levels are checked and condensate drain lines are checked for proper operation and confirmation that they are clear.
- Furnaces – Air filters and humidifiers need to be regularly changed. Changing from heat mode to A/C mode in the Spring often is the trigger for shutting off your humidifier and turning a damper at the humidifier to closed position on the humidifier. The opposite occurs in the Fall when you are done with your air conditioning and resuming heating your home.
- Well – Change your sediment filter as needed. Pressure drop is a tell tail sign that your well sediment filter needs to be changed. Water treatment systems often need to be check to be sure that softener salt levels are correct (let them run down to minimum level before refilling). Acid neutralizing media often needs to be replaced once per year. If you have a water treatment system that has an acid neutralizer, not having calcium media present has potential to cause serious damage to your home’s water piping due to the aggressive nature that low PH water has.
- Central Vac – Most of the units are located out of view in your basement or garage and it’s easy to forget to empty your central vac. One should empty their central vac unit a minimum of twice per year and don’t forget to clean (with compressed air or physically – not with water) any air filter media that might be present up high just below the motor portion of the unit. If you use a regular vacuum, then knowing when to change or empty the unit should be obvious when performance is lacking or when you can see visually in units that have clear canisters for debris to be collected in.
- Dryer vent line – I try to use my vacuum’s narrow attachment and vacuum out excess lint that might be visible where my lint filter is.
- Refrigerator – There is a fan that moves air across your refrigerator coils and that’s how it cools (transfers heat from inside) your refrigerator/freezer into your Kitchen. Using a special narrow attachment for your vacuum, you can decrease your energy bill by increasing your refrigerator’s efficiency by simply making sure the refrigerator coils are clear of dust. Many of today’s refrigerators have grills that are removable at the bottom and you’ll see the accumulation of dust under modern units that’s easily removable. Don’t forget that many newer refrigerators have water filters that should be replaced a minimum of annually.
- Tub/Shower and Sink drains – I’m not a fan of using chemicals to clean clogs. Hair is the #1 cause of clogs and one can easily take apart drain traps at sinks (sink drain tail pipe pop-up mechanisms catch a lot of hair there) and clear them so sinks drain quickly. Tub/shower drains should flow quickly and if they don’t, taking a part the drain overflow will allow one to get the drain mechanism out of the way so hair balls can be removed with a simple coat hanger (yes, it’s a nasty job, but easily done). HERE is a good video on the topic from a master plumber. Trust me, those who use the tub/shower will appreciate not standing in soapy water after you clear the drain and the tub/shower basin stays cleaner.
- Smoke Detectors – Smoke detector batteries need to be replaced once per year. The service life of Smoke and CO detectors is said to be 10 years. Keep your family safe by remembering to service your smoke and CO detectors.
Hope this info helps and I’ll add on to this list in the future as new ideas come to mind.