Seasonal Home Maintenance

Most home maintenance activities are seasonal. Fall is the time to get your home ready for the coming winter, which can be the most grueling season for your home. During winter months, it is important to follow routine maintenance procedures, by checking your home carefully for any problem arising and taking corrective action as soon as possible. Spring is the time to assess winter damage, start repairs, and prepare for warmer months. Over the summer there are a number of indoor and outdoor maintenance tasks to look after. While most maintenance is seasonal, there are some things you should do on a frequent basis year round:

  • Make sure air vents indoors and outside are not blocked by snow or debris.
  • Check and change range hood filters on a monthly basis.
  • Test the ground fault circuit interrupters monthly by pushing the test button, which should cause the reset button to pop out.

 

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.
  • Lubricate the circulating pump on the hot water heating system.
  • Check and clean or replace air filters each month during the heating season.
  • Vacuum electric baseboard heaters to remove dust.
  • Remove the grill on forced air systems and vacuum inside the ducts.
  • Have well water tested for quality. It is recommended that you test for bacteria once a year.
  • Check the sump pump and line to ensure proper operation and to ensure that there are no line obstructions or visible leaks.
  • Remove screens from inside casement windows to allow for the heating system to keep condensation off window glass.
  • Ensure all doors to the outside shut tightly and check other doors for ease of use. Replace door weather stripping if required.
  • Ensure windows and skylights close tightly.
  • Cover outside air conditioning window units.
  • Ensure that the ground around your home slopes away from the foundation wall so that water does not drain into your basement.
  • Clean leaves from roofs and downspouts and test the downspouts to ensure proper drainage from the roof.
  • Check chimneys for obstructions such as bird nests.
  • Drain and store outdoor hoses. Close the valve to outdoor hose connections and drain the hose bib, unless your house has a frost-proof hose bib.
  • If you have a septic tank, measure the sludge and scum to determine if the tank needs to be emptied before the spring. Tanks should be pumped at least once every three years.

 

WINTER

  • Check and clean or replace furnace air filters, each month, during the heating season.
  • After consulting your hot water system owner’s manual, turn the electric off to the water heater and drain water tank. This will help control settlement and maintain efficiency. Refill the water tank and then turn the electric back on to water heater.
  • Clean your humidifiers two or three times during the winter season.
  • Vacuum the bathroom fan grills.
  • Vacuum fire and smoke detectors as dust or spider webs can prevent them from functioning.
  • Check gauges on all fire extinguishers, and recharge or replace them if necessary.
  • Check fire escape routes, door and window locks, and lighting around outside of your house.
  • Check all faucets for signs of dripping and change washers as necessary. If you have a fixture that is not used frequently, such as a laundry tub, spare bathroom sink or tub, shower stall or toilet, run water briefly to keep some water in the trap.
  • Clean drains in dishwashers, sinks, bathtubs and shower stalls.
  • Test plumbing shut-off valves to ensure they are working properly and to prevent them from seizing.

SPRING

  • Have fire place/wood stove chimney cleaned and serviced as needed.
  • Check air conditioning system and have it serviced every two or three years.
  • Clean or replace air conditioning filter, if applicable.
  • Check the humidifier and clean it, if necessary.
  • Check smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and security alarms; replace the batteries as needed.
  • Clean all windows, screens, and hardware. Check your screens to see if any repairs are needed.
  • Open any valves to your outside hose connections.
  • Examine the foundation for cracks, leaks or signs of moisture; repair as required.
  • Ensure the sump pump is operating properly.
  • Check downspouts for loose joints and clear any obstructions to ensure water flows away from the foundation.
  • Clear all drainage ditches and culverts from debris.

SUMMER

  • Monitor basement humidity and use a dehumidifier to maintain a safe, relative humidity.
  • Check basement pipes for condensation or dripping and take corrective action. For example reduce humidity and/or insulate cold water pipes.
  • Deep clean your carpets and rugs.
  • Vacuum bathroom fan grill.
  • Disconnect the duct connected to the dryer and vacuum lint from duct.
  • Check security of all handrails.
  • Check smooth functioning of all windows and lubricate as required.
  • Lubricate door hinges and tighten screws as needed.
  • Lubricate garage door hardware and ensure proper operation.
  • Lubricate the automatic garage door opener, motor, chain, etc. and ensure that the auto reverse mechanism is properly adjusted.
  • Check and replace damaged caulking and weather stripping around windows and doors.
  • Check exterior wood and trim for signs of deterioration. Clean and replace/ refinish as needed.
  • Remove any plants or roots that contact or penetrate the siding or brick.
  • Check the overall condition of your roof. Note the condition of all shingles and examine all roof flashing, such as chimney and roof joints, for any signs of cracking or leakage.
  • Check the chimney cap and the caulking between the cap and the chimney.
  • Repair driveway and walkways as needed.