The Summer Home Maintenance Checklist can be made easier with the help of a few different contractors (window washer, deck sealer, and concrete/asphalt sealer). Entering into service agreements with companies to come out for yearly maintenance can make our honey-do lists much shorter and help protect our home over the long term. For those of us that want to save money and do it ourselves, we will have to acquire new equipment and learn new skills.
SUMMER HOME MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST
Check Basements and Crawl Spaces for water penetration, etc…
Check for signs of water and moisture. Standing water, water stains, muddy areas, wet foundation walls, and sagging/stringy insulation can indicate active water penetration.
Flush Water Heater (Tanks)
It is not necessary to flush tankless water heaters but tanks can trap sediment that enters the water supply. Well water will often contain natural sediment – some homes will experience more sediment than others. Homes with municipal water (especially in towns or cities with aging infrastructure) will experience sediment from repairs to the city/town water supply plumbing (for this reason installing a spin-down filter even in the city could be a good idea). When sediment builds up inside water heater tanks, the water heater can not function effectively due to the sediment acting as an insulator and preventing the heat from traveling. Regular maintenance can also help prevent sediment from clogging or damaging the plumbing fixtures and appliances (washer and dishwasher). Flushing the tank every 3 months to a year (depending on the amount of sediment in the water), can improve energy efficiency, and operation and prevent other issues, and can help extend the life expectancy of the tank. A plumber can also provide this service.
Clean Heating/Cooling floor registers:
Removing the dust and debris that tends to build up in the floor vents of the heating and cooling system can help air quality issues. The trim (registers) at the floor vents can be removed and a vacuum can be used to remove the dust and debris. Do not push the vacuum deep into the ventilation system as the build-up is mostly around the vents.
Many modern windows have the ’tilt-wash’ operation which allows the homeowner to clean the outside pane from the inside. While cleaning, the windows can also be inspected for failed energy seals or ‘cloudy’ windows (condensation between the panes).
Re-mulch flower beds by removing old mulch, making sure the landscaping fabric is in good condition, and replacing the mulch. Remove dead foliage and replace it with new foliage. Landscapers can help to best identify what will grow in the area. Maintain at least a 6″ clearance between the mulch and the siding to prevent decay.
Maintenance of Decks and Other Wood Structures
Visually inspect for loose/decayed decking/railing and replace or re-fasten as needed. Decks should be prepared and stained every 3 years- regular sealing/staining help prevent UV/Water/Insect damage and extends service life.
Pressure Wash Exterior, Decks, etc…
Pressure washing the exterior helps curb appeal but can also prevent mold, algae, and dirt from damaging surfaces over the long term.
Sealing Hard Surfaces:
Sealing the hard surfaces outside your home (concrete/asphalt) prevents them from deteriorating rapidly during the freeze/thaw cycles of Winter. Foam backer rods can be placed in larger cracks before sealing.
SEASONAL HOME MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST
Replace Water Sediment Filter:
Water sediment filters prevent silt from clogging and damaging the plumbing lines and fixtures. Commonly found in homes for well systems, these are becoming more common in homes with municipal water as they help prevent clogging/sediment in the lines when the municipal lines are being repaired/replaced. Follow the directions given with the filter or call a specialist for maintenance.
Clean Faucet Aerators:
Faucet aerators are the small mesh screens at the end of a faucet– they catch small particles that slip through sediment filters as well as reduce the flow coming from the faucet to prevent excessive splashing. The aerators for sinks can become clogged with sediment (well systems or municipal water) The aerators should be removed (a special key or tool is usually required) and cleaned as needed.
Replace HVAC/Furnace filters:
Through time, filters will clog with dust, dirt, and grime, making your system work harder and less efficiently. Dirty filters can also cause bad odors or unsanitary conditions. It is recommended to replace 1″ filters with 4 or 5″ media filters over the long term.
Inspect for Plumbing Leaks:
Inspect sink cabinets and around tubs/showers/toilets for evidence of a leak. Inspect the Water Heater area for leaks and the indoor Heating/Cooling equipment for condensate leaks. A small leak can escalate into catastrophic damage if unchecked. Contact a plumber for repairs as needed.
Test GFCI outlets and breakers:
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets help prevent electrical hazards near plumbing fixtures or other sources of water by cutting power in the event of a ground fault. To test the outlet just press the test button in the middle of the outlet. If the test does not reset, contact an electrician for repair.
MONTHLY HOME MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST
Maintain Plumbing Drains, Dishwashers, and Washing Machines:
Clean garbage disposal (if there is one). Unclog sink/tub/shower drains. Clean dishwasher and washing machine (Clean cycles, tablets, enzyme packets, and home remedies can be used like vinegar and baking soda). Refer to the owner’s manual of each appliance for more information.
Test Smoke and CO detectors:
The USFA recommends testing the alarms monthly. Smoke Detectors are the most important item in your home when it comes to your family’s safety, these help to alert you and your family to fire and dangerous smoke while there is still time to evacuate. These detectors should be replaced every ten years. Carbon Monoxide (CO) is produced when carbon-containing fuels (such as coal, oil, kerosene, and natural gas) are burned. CO inhibits the blood’s ability to carry oxygen to body tissues thus these detectors should be installed and maintained so that the alarm can be triggered by any fuel-burning appliance such as gas cookers, boilers, and ovens that are emitting CO. These detectors should be replaced every ten years.
Inspect Fire Extinguishers:
The NFPA recommends inspecting fire extinguishers monthly. Extinguishers help control small fires– especially kitchen fires. Make sure the extinguisher is accessible and charged. Contact your local fire department for further instructions on how to maintain fire extinguishers. In many cases, the fire department will be glad to give instructions and inspect the extinguishers in your home.