Home Maintenance Program
Once you have bought yourself a home, it is important to undertake its maintenance on a regular basis. Regular home maintenance will not only enable you to avoid frequent repairs as well as recurrent expenditures on fixtures and the electrical, plumbing and other systems that may cost hefty amounts every time, but it will also keep your home like new. Most importantly, should you ever decide to sell your home, regular maintenance will fetch you a higher price, as everyone prefers to buy a well-kept property even when they are purchasing a resale home.
Frequent home maintenance is crucial
Always remember that if you wish to protect your investment on your home in the best possible manner, it is essential that you examine your home regularly and adopt good maintenance methods. It is not important whether you pay attention only to a number of jobs at a given time or you handle numerous or all the jobs that need to be undertaken at the same time. What is of significance is whether you are doing this habitually. The best and easiest way to approach the task is by preparing a schedule for you. Once you have a routine for your home maintenance, you will be surprised to learn that the job is neither difficult to get done, nor does it take enough of your time. In fact, when you follow a home maintenance schedule regularly, especially a seasonal routine; you will be able to avoid most of the common, but expensive troubles even before they take place. In case, you are unable to tackle a problem by yourself, take pictures of these things and show them to a professional for necessary counsel or recommendation. Taking pictures of things that need to be preserved or mended will also help you to examine or remind you of them some time afterward.
Here are some information and guidelines which will enable you to gain knowledge regarding protecting your investment on your home as well as ensuring that your home is a safe and healthy place to reside.
In case you are not at ease undertaking some of the home maintenance jobs scheduled in this article or do not possess the requisite paraphernalia, such as ladder, to undertake these jobs, you may as well hire an expert or a competent handyperson to assist you in accomplishing the tasks.
Seasonal home maintenance
Experienced home owners would know that the majority of the home maintenance tasks are basically periodic, especially taken up during different seasons or time of the year. In fact, fall is the season when you should prepare or equip your home for the ensuing winter, which can be the most demanding season for your home. Hence, it is especially crucial to follow regular maintenance practices during the winter months. During this time of the year, you need to examine your home meticulously to find out if there is any problem or likelihood of any problem occurring and initiate remedial measures at the earliest. On the other hand, during spring, it is important to review the harm done to your home during the winter months, undertake necessary repairs and renovations as well as get ready for the ensuing warmer months. Throughout the summer months, you will have a number of indoor and outdoor maintenance jobs to take care of, for instance, mending the pathways and steps, examining the chimney and roof as well as undertaking painting jobs, especially on the exterior of the house.
Although most maintenance jobs are undertaken on a seasonal basis, certain things need to be done often, almost round-the-year. Here is a list of home maintenance activities that you should take up frequently:
- Examine and clean the range hood filters every month.
- Ensure that the air ventilators, both indoors and outdoors, including the intake, exhaust and forced air, are not jammed by debris or snow.
- Check the ground fault circuit interrupter(s) on electrical channels every month by pressing on the test button. This will then result in the reset button to pop up.
- Examine the house on a regular basis to see if there is any safety hazard, for instance, a lifting or buckling floor, a loose-fitting handrail, out of action smoke detectors and the like.
- If you have small children in your house, ensure that the electrical openings are outfitted with safety plugs.
It is important to note that the season timings not only differ from one region of Canada to another, but also every year in a particular region. This is the primary reason why we have only included seasons and not the months of their occurrence. In a vast country like Canada, it is possible that while one region is experiencing fall, another may be enduring winter at the same time. Thus, the home maintenance agenda provided her is a broad guide that you may follow during each season in your area. It is up to you to decide on the actual timing of each season and if you wish to segregate the items on the lists presented below, you are at liberty to set the seasons according to months pertinent to the area you reside in.
Spring is undoubtedly the best season anywhere. Coming on the heels of the harsh winter, spring offers a fresh lease of life to one and all. The climatic conditions are neither warm, nor cold providing a soothing impact. For home owners, this is the time to take stock of the damages done by the winter frost, snow and gales to their homes. This is the time to take clean the house as well as take note of the repairs and replacements needed. In fact, along with the perennial home maintenance jobs, they need to undertake the immediate repairs and replacements so that things are back to normal once again. Even the landscape and gardens will need tendering. In addition, this is also the time to prepare the home for the ensuing warmer summer months. Here is a list of things that you need to do for your home maintenance during spring.
- Consult your hot water tank owner's manual and then cautiously examine the temperature and pressure of the relief valve to make certain that it has not seized. You need to exercise additional caution while doing this because examining the hot water tank may discharge hot water resulting in burns.
- Examine the furnace air filters every month during the heating season. Clean them regularly and replace them, if required. It is also necessary to examine the ventilation system, including the heat recovery ventilator and filters, once in every two months.
- According to the requirement, get the fireplace, woodstove and chimney cleaned as well as serviced.
- Close down, draw off and cleanse the furnace humidifier. At the same time, close the furnace humidifier on units having central air conditioning.
- It is again time to bring the air conditioning system to use; hence switch on power supply to it and examine the system thoroughly. It is necessary to get it serviced once in every two to three years.
- Clean the air conditioning filter and replace it, if necessary.
- Also examine the dehumidifier and clean it. If necessary drain it too.
- As winter has gone you will not need the gas furnace and the fireplace for another year. So, switch off the gas furnace as well as the fireplace pilot lights wherever possible.
- If you have a well in your house, examine the quality of the well water. It is advisable to check the well water for bacterial presence once in every six months.
- Test out the smoke, carbon monoxide and security alarms. If necessary, change the batteries of these devices.
- The winter ice and snow may have dirtied the windows, screens and hardware. It is time to change the storm windows with screens. Examine the screens and then decide if they need to be mended or changed.
- When the last frost is over and the risks associated with it have gone open the valve to the exterior hose connection.
- Closely scrutinize the foundation walls of the house to see if there are any cracks, leaks or marks of humidity. Undertake the necessary repairs immediately. Also mend the fences and give them a fresh coat of paint, wherever required.
- Make sure that the septic tank pump is functioning appropriately before the spring defrosts sets in. Also make certain that the discharge pipe is attached and enables water to flow away from the building foundation.
- If any outdoor steps or decks have moved due to the frost or sedimentation, mend them by re-leveling.
- Examine the roof gutters and the rain water pipes to find if there are any loose-fitting joints and they are firmly attached to the building. In case you detect any obstruction in the roof gutters or the rain water pipes, clear them immediately to make sure that the water accumulated on the roof flows away from the foundation of your home.
- Remove all the debris that may have accumulated in the drainage system, ditches and culverts.
- Now is the time to give a fresh look to the landscaping. Therefore, commence work of spring landscape maintenance and, if required, feed the young trees with fertilizers.
When it is summer, temperatures will start soaring resulting in excess humidity. Apart from the heat, the humidity will make things feel horrible. For home owners, it is time to protect their home as well as their fixtures and appliances from the effects of humidity. The season will require them to undertake maintenance of a new kind - something different from what they undertook during the fall, winter and spring. Many appliances and fixtures would no longer be required for a long time; hence they need to be packed and stored carefully for future use. The doors and windows may require repairs; sunscreens will be back and even the landscaping needs to be done in a new fashion. Here is a detailed list of home maintenance tips during the summer.
- Check the level of humidity in the basement and try to avoid relative humidity beyond 60 per cent. In order to maintain the relative humidity lower than 60 per cent, you should use a dehumidifier. Examine the air conditioning filter and clean it. Change it if you feel it is necessary. Also cleanse the ventilation system filters and replace them, if required.
- Examine the pipes in the basement to find if there is any condensation or dripping. If you find any fault with them, undertake remedial measures immediately. For instance, you may lower the humidity level or insulate the pipes carrying cold water.
- Test out the floor drain in the basement to make certain that the trap encloses water. If required, refill the trap with water.
- In case you have a plumbing device that is not being used too often, such as a laundry tub or an additional bathroom sink, tub or shower stall, flow some water for a brief while to retain water in the trap.
- A lot of dust may have accumulated on your carpets and rugs; so, it is time that you clean them thoroughly now.
- Clean the bathroom fan lattices with a vacuum cleaner.
- It is time to detach the pipe connected to the clothes dryer, as you will not need the appliance often in the summer sunlight. Disconnect the duct and vacuum clean the lint (fine raveling of cotton or linen fibers) from the duct, the areas surrounding the dryer and the dryer's outlet covering outside.
- Examine how secure all the guardrails and handrails are.
- Test out the efficient operation of all the windows and, if necessary, apply grease to them, especially the hinges.
- Check the window putty on the exterior of the glass panes and change them if necessary.
- Apply grease to the door hinges as well as tighten all the screws wherever required.
- Also oil the garage door hardware and make certain that it is functioning as it should be.
- Grease the mechanical garage door opener machine, chain and other moving parts to make sure that the auto-reverse device is adjusted correctly.
- Examine the water proof seals and weather-stripping surrounding the mechanical and electrical services, windows, doorways, inclusive of the door between the house and the garage. In case you find any of them damaged, change them.
- Scrutinize the electrical service lines to see if the bindings are secure at the point where they enter the house. In addition, ensure that there is no water seepage into the house along with the electrical channel. Also find out if there are any branches of trees overhanging the electrical supply lines. If there are any, get rid of them immediately.
- Examine the external wood siding and if you find any mark of wear and tear, trim them. You may also cleanse, change or undertake re-finishing of the wood siding according to the requirement.
- You may also sand and apply a fresh coat of paint on the windows and doors if you any signs of them getting dull.
- Inspect the external walls of the building to see if there are any holes in the cladding that may turn out to be an entrance for small pests like bats and squirrels. If there are any, seal them off at the earliest.
- If you find any plants coming in contact with the siding or brick of the building or roots of plants penetrating them, get rid of them instantly.
- Standing on the ground, scrutinize the common state of the roof and try to find if there is any sign of sagging. If there is any such sagging in the roof, this would mean that there are structural problems that need additional survey from within the loft or top storey. Try to look for the state of the pebbles/ shingles that may require repairs or replacement. Also inspect if there are any irregularities in the roof such as any hint of cracking or leakage, for instance at the place where the chimney joins the roof.
- If the chimneys are connected to any wood-burning application or the fireplace, get it examined and, if required, also get it cleaned.
- Inspect the chimney lid and the sealing between the cap and the chimney.
- The driveway and the pathways may have been damaged due to the winter frost and may require repairs. Undertake the necessary repairs.
- If any steps have been damaged, undertake their repair too.
Fall is the time when you need to prepare your home for the ensuing cold winter months that cause the maximum damage to any property. Apart from the dipping temperatures, frost and snow may harm your home. Hence, follow the home maintenance schedule listed below during this period to protect your home in the best possible manner during these harsh months.
- If you have a heating system or furnace that runs on gas, have them serviced by a competent servicing firm once every two years. However, it they run on oil, they need to be serviced every year. Ask the people servicing the furnace to open the humidifiers mounted on the furnace and clean them.
- If your house has a central air conditioning system, ensure that the drain pot below the cooling coil build up in the furnace plenum is draining as it should be and is also clean.
- Exude air from the hot water radiators.
- Apply grease to the circulating pump installed on the hot water heating system.
- Snap the electric connection to the furnace and check the installed forced-air furnace fan belt to find out if there is any wear and tear, loose cut or noise. At the same time, clean the blades of the fan of all accumulated dirt.
- Check the proper functioning of the furnace. To do this, turn on the gas furnace pilot light, set the thermostat to 'heat' and increase the setting of the thermostat till the furnace beings to function. When you are satisfied with the operation of the furnace, reset the thermostat to the preferred setting.
- Examine the furnace air filters every month during the heating season. If necessary, you may also clean or replace the furnace air filters. It is necessary to check the ventilation system, including the heat recovery ventilator and filters, once in every two month.
- Test the piping system leading to and from the heat recovery ventilator to find out if it is in perfect order, the joints are firmly sealed with aluminum tape or mastic and also ensure that the duct insulation as well as the plastic duct covering does not have any holes and is not wearing out.
- Examine the bathroom exhaust fans and the assortment of hoods to ensure that they are functioning as they should. If it is possible to be done, verify if you are receiving good air flow by monitoring the external vent hood. If the air flow is good, it should open the external damper.
- Open the vacuum electric baseboard heaters to clean them of all accumulated dust.
- Also remove the lattices on the forced air systems and vacuum within the channels.
- If you had closed the heat recovery ventilator during the summer, you need to clean the filters and the interior. Pour water down the condensate drain to test if it is functioning well.
- If you are using a portable humidifier, clean that too.
- If you have a well inside your home premises, check the water for its quality. In fact, the water of the well should be tested once in every six months to find out if it contains any bacteria deposits.
- Examine the septic tank pump and the sewerage line to confirm that they are functioning appropriately. At the same time, you should also find out if there are any obstructions or visible leaks in the sewerage line.
- The window screens that you had installed during the summer now need to be replaced with storm windows.
- Also do away with the interior insect screens from the windows with a view to enable the air from the heating system to stay condensation off the window glass and permit enough of solar energy enter your home.
- Make sure that all the doors of the house that open externally are in perfect order and close firmly. In addition, also check the functioning of all the other doors of the house and ensure that they are easy to open and shut. If necessary, you may also change the door weather-stripping.
- If you have any door that connects your house to the garage, examine the fine-tuning of the automatic closing device to make sure that it shuts the door firmly.
- Also ensure that all the windows and the skylights of the house close firmly. If necessary, you may repair or change the weather-stripping on the windows and the skylights.
- Since you will not be requiring the air conditioning units during the winter months, you should wrap the exterior parts of the air conditioning units and disconnect the power supply to them.
- In order to avoid water from sweeping into your basement, make sure that the ground around your home slants away from the foundation wall of the house.
- Clean all the dried leaves that have accumulated on the roof as well as the roof gutters and also examine the rainwater pipes to ensure that the drainage from the roof is unobstructed.
- Also examine the chimneys to find out if there are any obstructions, for instance, nests or other blockages.
- Since there will be virtually no outdoor gardening activities during the winter months, you need to drain out the outdoor hoses and store them neatly for use during the warmer months. Unless your house has frost-proof hose bibs, shut the interior valve to outdoor hose connection and drain the hose bid or the outside valve.
- If you have a septic tank underneath your house, gauge slush and foam in it with a view to decide whether the tank should be emptied before the onset of spring. It is important to note that the septic tanks need to be pumped out of the sludge and scum in them once in every three years.
- Prepare your landscaping for the ensuing winter. For this, you need to store the outdoor furniture in some secure place, put the gardens in order and, if required, arrange for adequate protection for the young trees and bushes from frost and snow during the winter months.
In cold places like Canada, winter is considered to be the harshest season. In addition to the temperature dropping below the freezing point, frosts and snow not only make life troublesome, but they also cause numerous impediments. It is during this time of the year that your home needs maximum protection as well as regular maintenance. Winter causes substantial damages to any home and if you are not prepared beforehand to counter the problems, the results may be disastrous. Here is a detailed guide on how to maintain your home and protect it from the clutches of winter effectively.
- During the heating season, i.e. during the winter, it is important to examine and clean the furnace air filters every month. If necessary, you may also replace them. At the same time, you need to examine the ventilation system, including the heat recovery ventilator and filters, once in every two months.
- Go through your hot water tank manual and then draw off a dishpan full of water from the flush valve located at the base of the hot water tank with a view to regulate sediment and keep up the effectiveness of the product.
- Cleanse the humidifier of the furnace at least twice or thrice during the winter months.
- Empty the bathroom fan lattices with a vacuum cleaner.
- Cleanse the fire and smoke sensors/ detectors with a vacuum cleaner because dust and spider webs may inhibit them from operating as they should.
- Also vacuum clean the radiator lattices on the back of refrigerators and freezers. At the same time, clear and cleanse the drip trays.
- Examine the pressure gauge on all the fire extinguishers in your home and recharge them if required.
- Inspect the fire escape routes, doors and window locks and hardware and the lightening around the exterior of the house. At the same time, it is important to ensure that your family members have good security practices.
- Check the floor drain in the basement and make sure that the trap encloses water. If required, refill the trap with water.
- Keep an eye on your home for too much humidity levels, for instance, condensation on your windows that may result in significant harm over a period of time and also create severe health hazards. If required, undertake necessary remedial measures.
- Also examine all the valves to find out if there is any mark of dripping and replace the washers, if necessary. Valves that involve recurrent replacement of washers may require repairs.
- If you have any plumbing appliance that is not used too often, for instance, a laundry tub or a standby bathroom sink, tub or shower stalls, flow some water for a brief while to keep water in the trap.
- Cleanse all the exhausts in bathtubs, shower stalls and dishwasher.
- Check the plumbing shut-off valves to make certain that they are operating perfectly and stop them from getting blocked.
- Inspect all the doors and windows carefully and ensure that there will be no accumulation of ice or leakage of cold air during the winter. If you detect any fault, write down a reminder to mend or change them during the spring.
- Check the loft to find out if there may be any ice accumulation during the winter months. Similarly, examine the roof for ice dams and icicles.
- Be careful to keep the gas meters, exhaust vents, vents of the gas-based domestic devices and the basement windows free from snow accumulation.
- Examine the open-air outlets, chimneys and gas meters to ensure that they do not accumulate ice or there is no snow
build-up. You need to confer with a suitable contractor or the gas utility provider for know-how on safely handling the items in case you detect any ice problems there.
- Test out all electrical wirings, plugs and channels for all indoor and outside seasonal lights in order to make certain that they have fire safety. If you find that any wiring is damaged or if the plugs and wirings feel warm to touch, change them instantly and without any hesitation.