Helpful Tips and Links
BASIC TIPS FOR MAINTAINING YOUR HOME
Check the roof and around vents, skylights, and chimneys for leaks. Keep overhanging trees away from roof. Repair as necessary.
If there is no ridge vent, keep gable vents open year-round to ensure proper ventilation. Spot check the roof sheathing for leaks or mold.
Clean the gutters and drain pipes so leaves won't clog them and be sure they drain away from the house. Strainers are good to keep the debris out of the drainage but need more attention to clean. (Winter) Drain outside faucets and close the valves for the season.
Clean the fireplace of ashes. (Fall) Check the chimney for loose or missing mortar. Have the chimney professionally cleaned. Make sure the damper closes tightly. (Spring) Leave the damper open for improved ventilation if the home is not air-conditioned.
Remember to clean or replace filters once a month, or as needed. Check and clean the dryer vent, air conditioner, stove hood, and room fans. Keep heating and cooling vents clean and free from furniture and draperies.
Ensure that all smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers are in good working order. Replace batteries in appropriate devices as needed, or at least twice each year.
(Winter) Remove window air-conditioners, or put weatherproof covers on them.
Make sure your refrigerator door seals are airtight. Test them by closing the door over a dollar bill. If you can pull the bill out easily, the latch may need to be adjusted or the seal may need to be replaced. In addition, if you have a coil-back refrigerator, vacuum the coils at least twice each year. Your refrigerator will run more efficiently with clean coils. Also, stock up! A full refrigerator uses less energy than an empty one.
Check for leaky faucets in the kitchen and bathroom(s). Replace washers as necessary.
Strip and re-caulk your shower/tub yearly. Spot check below bathrooms for any water stains if possible.
Windows and Doors:
Seal drafty doors and windows. Ensure your weather stripping is intact and functional. If you added up all of the small cracks where heating and cooling escapes from a home, it would be the same as having a window open. Replace seals as needed.
Storm Windows and Screens:
(Fall) Take down screens (if removable type) and replace with storm windows. (Spring) Remove, clean, and store storm windows (if removable). Check and patch all door and window screens. Put screens up (if removable type).
Siding and Paint:
Look for cracks and holes in house siding or paint. Replace caulk if necessary. A carpet knife can work well for cutting away old caulking from house siding. Slice down alongside it from both directions with the hook-like blade, then use the knife to lift out the old caulk bead intact.
Check the basement walls and floor for dampness. Be sure to clean the dehumidifier regularly, if you have one.
(Fall) Have the heating system serviced. Change filters.
Hot Water Heater:
(Fall) Drain the hot water heater. Remove sediment from the bottom of the tank.
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