Home Maintenance Tips
Guest blog post by Jesse Fox, owner of FXC Inspections based out of Red Deer, AB
When you’re buying a home, your first thought isn’t usually maintaining it. Just like owning a car, it’s not uncommon for homeowners to run into pesky problems every now and then. Maintaining a home can be very intimidating, there is a long list of things to do. The good news is that many things that go wrong are pretty easy to fix if you have the right tools and guidance. Here are some tips that will help you out.
Every 2-3 months
- Check your air filters
- Some websites might tell you to change your air filters every month but unless you have allergies and pets that may not always be entirely necessary. In my experience, it’s not worth it to buy expensive air filters, the cheap ones work just fine.
- Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- You want to make sure these are working. Usually they have a “test” button that will sound an alarm when pressed, if the batteries are still good. If there’s no sound, check for corrosion or replace batteries. If that still doesn’t work then you need to replace the whole thing.
- Run water in unused spaces
- If you have a guest bathroom that doesn’t get used often, flush the toilet and turn on the sink every few months. This prevents grime and build up.
- Inspect fire extinguishers
- You need to check to make sure your fire extinguisher has adequate pressure but you just need to look at the pressure gauge, don’t actually use it. Also you want to make sure you know how to use a fire extinguisher. You don’t want to panic when the time comes when you actually have to use one. If your fire extinguisher doesn’t work for grease fires, have a back up plan like baking soda nearby.
- Clean range hood filters
- Get a degreaser from an auto parts store, mix that with hot water and let your range hood filter soak in that for a few minutes. Rinse it off and replace it.
- Clean garbage disposal
- Freeze some vinegar in an ice cube tray and run the ice cubes through the garbage disposal. This freshens up the system of any funk going on in there and the ice sharpens the blades.
- Test your garage door sensor safety feature
- If you have a garage, it probably has a feature where the door won’t close if something is setting off the sensor. It’s important to make sure this is working.
Every 6 months
- Check water heater pressure relief valve
- Checking the relief valve on your water heater helps it run more efficiently and prevents corrosion build up and leaks.
- Vacuum refrigerator coils
- Did you know that your refrigerator is responsible for up to 15% of your energy bill? Over time the coils get dirty and need to be cleaned to keep it running as efficiently as possible.
- Deep clean your house
- This is good to do for a lot of reasons including preventing dirt and grime build up that could cause future issues. Wipe down your appliances, doors, windows, baseboards, floors, etc.
Once a year
- Clean gutters and check drainage
- Clean your gutters of leaves and sediment. Check spouts and replace as necessary. Inspect flow of water, make sure it is away from the house. If there are any puddles you may either need to grade the area around your home with dirt. If the issue persists you will need to call a professional to raise the pavement.
- Inspect exterior
- Check for siding damage, chipped paint, holes in brick, cracks in the foundation. Caulk as needed.
- Service your A/C
- Refer to your user guide for specific regular maintenance of your air conditioning system. Get it serviced by a professional if needed.
- Check window screens for damage
- Replace any window screens with holes so bugs don’t get in your house.
- Inspect trees and shrubs
- Look to see if any trees are interfering with electric lines or foundation. Call a professional if necessary. Trim your shrubs so they don’t find their way into cracks of your home.
- Check roof
- Check for damage and leaks to the roof. You may need to call a professional.
- Inspect plumbing
- Check for leaks in faucets, toilets, and pipes. If water pressure is low, inspect the aerator screen at the faucet outlet.
- Repair grout
- Check the grout in bathrooms, kitchen, and other areas of your home. Repair as needed.
- Check deck/patio
- Clean your deck, re-stain if necessary. Check for loose boards, steps, and rails.
- Clean exhaust vents
- Check that the exhaust is coming out of your dryer when it’s running and that there are no blockages. Vacuum the lint from the hose.
- Clean garage
- Keep your garage clean and tidy and free of extra dust.
- Winterize A/C systems
- If you have window units, you may choose to remove and store them. If you have central air, it may be wise to cover the outside unit with a tarp and secure with bungee cords.
- Prepare heating system for Winter
- Check for leaks in doors and windows that will run up your heating bill. Get your furnace inspected by a professional.
- Flush hot water heater
- You want to flush your hot water heater every year and remove sediment. This makes it run more efficiently and last longer.
- Shut off exterior faucets
- Turn off and flush outdoor water faucets, flush hoses and put them in storage.
- Clean chimney and fireplace
- Clean your chimney and fireplace once a year if you have them.
- Test your sump pump
- Make sure your sump pump is working properly. To test a submersible type, make sure the intake portion is submerged in water. Lift the float to see that the pump comes on.
- Check for cracks in pavement
- You will want to fix cracks in the driveway and pavement before winter because the cold weather can cause them to expand.
- Check for icicles
- Don’t let icicles grow, they can be dangerous and cause damage to your home.
- Test electricity
- Be very careful with this one. Check that the outlets work with a hand-held appliance or receptacle tester, rewire if necessary. Test your GFCI outlets by pressing the test and reset buttons. If you’re not comfortable, call a professional.
- Tighten knobs
- Go around your house and check for loose knobs and handles.
- Check locks
- Inspect all doors and windows have proper locking mechanisms. If something doesn’t work, replace it.
- Clean shower heads
- Remove and clean shower-heads of any sediment. This will improve water pressure.
- Deep clean and inspect basement and/or crawl-spaces.
- If you have a basement or crawlspace, you want to give it a thorough cleaning and inspect it once a year. Make sure there’s no moisture problems or mold.
While this is a long list, it’s just a good starting point. Depending on your home and where you live, there may be more items to add to the list. The important thing to know is that it’s a good idea to keep up with maintaining your home to prevent future problems. Most of what needs to be done is pretty simple and doesn’t require paying a professional.