Welcome to home ownership!
You’ve made the big leap. You’ve purchased a home. Congratulations! Becoming a home owner is often exciting and sometimes overwhelming. This home maintenance overview will hopefully help you relax and prepare to maintain your investment.
You most likely had a home inspection on your house as part of the purchasing process. Your inspector inspected the home and reported on its condition as it was at the time of the inspection. Your home inspector, however qualified and experienced, could not have made predictions of future events. Such future events (HVAC failures, roof leaks, plumbing drips, water intrusion, etc.) are not within the scope of a home inspection.
So who is responsible? As the new home owner, the responsibility falls to you. One of the most important things to understand as a new homeowner is that things break. As the years go by, you can expect parts of your home will eventually break down, wear out, age/deteriorate, leak, or simply stop working. But the following overview of home maintenance focus areas and seasonal checklist from the InterNACHI reference book, Now That You’ve Had a Home Inspection, can help any homeowner learn what to monitor as the house ages. [Want a FREE copy of this book? Email your name and mailing address (U.S. mailing addresses only) to Micah@SafeShieldInspections.com and we will send you a copy.]
Home Maintenance Areas of Focus
Your house works as a system of interdependent parts, similar to the engine of an automobile. Every part has an impact on the operation of many other parts. A typical home has more than 10,000 parts! When all of the parts work together in the most desirable, optimal way, you are rewarded with a house that is durable, comfortable, healthy and energy efficient. The main areas of focus for monitoring and/or maintenance include:
- Property Drainage
- Yards and Courts
- Flood Zones
- Other Structures and Factors
- Low-Slope Roof Coverings
- Parapets and Gables
- Gutters and Downspouts
- Foundation Walls and Piers
- Exterior Wall Covering
- Windows and Doors
- Decks, Water, and GFCIs
- Masonry and Metal Chimneys
- Lightning Protection
- Basement or Crawlspace
- Interior Spaces
- Storage Spaces
- Stairs and Hallways
- Laundry and Utility Rooms
- Fireplaces and Flues
- Attics, Roof Trusses, and Vents
- Whole-Building Thermal-Efficiency Tests
- Sound Transmission
- Radon Gas
- Tornado Safe Room
- Seismic Resistance
- Wind Resistance
- Masonry Foundation and Piers
- Above-Ground Masonry Walls
- Wood Structural Components
- Iron and Steel Structural Components
- Concrete Structural Components
- Water Service Entry
- Interior Water Distribution
- Drain, Waste, and Vent Piping
- Tank Water Heater
- Domestic Coil Water Heater (with Boiler)
- Private Well
- Septic System
- Gas Supply in Seismic Regions
- Service Entry
- Main Electrical Service Panel (Breaker Box)
- Branch Circuits
- Thermostatic Controls
- Fuel-Burning Unit
- Forced-Air Heating
- Forced Hot-Water or Hydronic System
- Steam-Heating System
- Electric-Resistance Heater
- Central Air Conditioning
- Central Gas-Absorption Cooling System
- Heat Pump
- Evaporative Cooling System
- Unit (Window) Air Conditioners
- Whole-House Fan
Again, when all of the parts of your home work together, your house should be durable, comfortable, healthy and energy efficient. This section includes a general, seasonal checklist that you can use and incorporate into your regular maintenance program for your house:
- Check for damage to your roof.
- Check all the fascia and trim for deterioration.
- Have an HVAC professional inspect and maintain your system as recommended by the manufacturer.
- Check your water heater for leaks or rust.
- Check your fire extinguishers.
- Clean the kitchen exhaust hood and air filter.
- Repair all cracked, broken, and uneven driveways and walks to help provide a level walking surface.
- Check the shutoff valves at all plumbing fixtures to make sure they function.
- Clean the clothes dryer exhaust duct and damper, and the space under the dryer.
- Check the kids’ playground equipment.
- Check your wood deck or concrete patio for deterioration.
- Check the nightlights at the top and bottom of all stairways.
- Check the exterior siding.
- Check all window and door locks.
- Check your home for water leaks.
- Check the water hoses on the clothes washer, refrigerator, ice maker and dishwasher for cracks and bubbles.
- Have a heating professional check your heating system.
- Protect your home from frozen pipes.
- Run all gas-powered lawn equipment until the fuel is gone.
- Test your emergency generator.
- Have a certified chimney sweep inspect and clean the flues and check your fireplace damper.
- Remove birds’ nests from chimney flues and outdoor electrical fixtures.
- Make sure the caulking around doors and windows is adequate to reduce heating/cooling loss.
- Make sure the caulking around the bathroom fixtures is adequate to prevent water from seeping into the sub-flooring.
- Clean the gutters and downspouts.
- Confirm that firewood is stored at least 20 feet away from your home.
- Remove screens from windows and install storm windows.
- Familiarize responsible family members with the gas main valve and other appliance valves.
- Make sure all electrical holiday decorations have tight connections.
- Test all AFCI and GFCI devices.
- Only when it is safe to do so, occasionally check for ice-dam formation in the gutters.
- Review your emergency escape plan with your family.
- Make sure your house number is visible from the street for first-responders to see.
- Replace all extension cords that have become brittle, worn, or damaged.
- Inspect and clean dust from the covers of your smoke detectors and carbon-monoxide alarms.
- Have your InterNACHI-Certified Professional Inspector perform a yearly maintenance inspection.
SafeShield Inspections, LLC gives every client their own HomeBinder. HomeBinder allows you to organize and save all related home information in a convenient online application. From storing paint colors to getting maintenance reminders, HomeBinder will help get your home ownership off to a great start. It will ensure you have all the details you need in the future right at your fingertips. Best of all, we’ll get it setup for you to minimize the effort to begin managing your greatest asset. Although you’ll probably not think about selling for some time, when you do, your HomeBinder will help with buyers, your accountant and the appraiser. We will give you lifetime of ownership access to HomeBinder Homeowner Edition (otherwise $12/year) as part of your inspection. You can learn more at www.homebinder.com.
Don’t forget to schedule your Annual Home Maintenance Inspection!
Even the most vigilant homeowner can, from time to time, miss small problems or forget about performing some routine home repairs and seasonal maintenance. That’s why an Annual Home Maintenance Inspection will keep you aware of your home’s condition and help you prevent it from suffering serious, long-term, and expensive damage from minor issues that should be addressed now.
Just as you regularly maintain your vehicle, consider getting an Annual Home Maintenance Inspection as part of the cost of upkeep for your most valuable investment…your home.
Your future deserves the attention of a professional. If you have questions or would like more information on a Home Maintenance Inspection, please contact Micah Stephens with SafeShield Inspections, LLC at (832) 953-6992 or email Micah@SafeShieldInspections.com. CLICK HERE for a free quote.