Seasonal Home Maintenance Tips

By following the tips noted here, you will be protecting your investment and keeping your home a safe and healthy place to live.  A regular schedule of seasonal maintenance can put a stop to the most common and costly problems before they occur.  We have professionals in all these areas if you need assistance.

Most home maintenance activities are seasonal, and not all of these items will apply to your home.  Let’s look month by month.

Fall

· Have your furnace or heating systems serviced by a qualified service company.  Every two years for a gas furnace, and every year for an oil furnace.

· For units with central a/c, open and clean the humidifier damper.

· Cover outside of air conditioning units.

· Check and clean or replace furnace air filters during the heating season.  Ventilation system, such as heat recovery ventilator filters should be checked every two months.

· If the heat recovery ventilator has been shut off for the summer, clean the filters and the core, and pour water down the condensate drain to test it.

· Remove the grills on forced air systems and vacuum inside the ducts.

· Check sump pump and line to ensure proper operation and to ascertain that there are no line obstructions or visible leaks.

· Ensure all doors to the outside shut tightly, and check other doors for ease of use. Renew door weather-stripping if required.

· If there is a door between your house and the garage, check the adjustment of the self-closing device to ensure it closes the door completely.

· Ensure windows and skylights close tightly.

· Ensure that the ground around your home slopes away from the foundation wall, so that water does not drain into your basement or under your house.

· Clean leaves from gutters and roofs, and test downspouts to ensure proper drainage.

· Check chimneys for obstructions such as bird nests.

· Store outdoor furniture, and if necessary, protect young trees or bushes for winter.

 Winter

· Check and clean or replace furnace air filters as you would in the fall.

· Check radiator grills on back of refrigerators and freezers for cleanliness

· Check fire escape routes, door and window locks, and lighting around outside of house.  Ensure family has good security habits.

· Monitor condensation on your windows, which can cause significant damage over time and pose serious health problems.

· Check all faucets for signs of dripping and change washers as needed. Faucets requiring frequent replacement of washers and may be in need of repair.

· If you have a plumbing fixture that is not used frequently, such as a laundry tub or spare bathroom sink, tub or shower stall, run some water briefly to keep water in the trap.  Check the basement floor drain to ensure the trap contains water.  Refill with water if necessary.

· Clean drains in dishwasher, sinks, bathtubs and shower stalls.

· Test plumbing shut-off valves to ensure they are working and to prevent them from seizing.

· Examine windows and doors for cold air leaks.  If found, make a note to repair or replace in the spring.

· Check electrical cords, plugs and outlets for all indoor and outdoor seasonal lights to ensure fire safety: if worn, or plugs or cords feel warm to the touch, replace immediately.

 Spring

· After consulting your hot water tank owner’s manual, carefully test the temperature and pressure relief valve to ensure it is not stuck. Caution: This test may release hot water that can cause burns.

· Have fireplace or woodstove and chimney cleaned and serviced as needed.

· Check air conditioning system and have serviced every two or three years.

· Clean or replace air conditioning filter (if applicable).

· Check smoke, carbon monoxide and security alarms, and replace batteries.

· Clean windows, screens and hardware and replace if necessary.

· Examine the foundation walls for cracks, leaks or signs of moisture, and repair as required.

· Ensure sump pump is operating properly before using.  Ensure discharge pipe is connected and allows water to drain away from the foundation.

· Check gutters and downspouts for loose joints and secure attachment to your home, clear any obstructions, and ensure water flows away from your foundation.  Clear all drainage ditches and culverts of debris.

· Undertake spring landscape maintenance and, if necessary, fertilize young trees.

Summer

· Clean or replace air conditioning filter, and wash or replace ventilation system filters if necessary.

· Disconnect the duct connected to the dryer and vacuum lint from duct, the areas surrounding your clothes dryer and your dryer’s vent hood outside.

· Check security of all guardrails and handrails.

· Lubricate door hinges, tighten screws as needed and ensure garage door hardware and is operating properly.  Ensure that the auto-reverse mechanism is properly adjusted.

· Check and replace damaged caulking and weather stripping around windows and doorways, including the doorway between the garage and the house.

· Check exterior wood siding and trim for signs of deterioration; clean, replace or refinish as needed.  Check for and seal off any holes in exterior cladding that could be an entry point for small pests.

· Remove any plants that contact, or roots that penetrate, the siding or brick.

· Check the roof for loose shingles or other damage.

· Repair driveway, walkways and any damaged steps that present a safety problem.