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The Consequences of Ignoring Home Maintenance (& a Handy Checklist to Help!)

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If you don’t maintain your home, it won’t remain the beautiful space you love.

There are a million little things homeowners need to be checking on; if you are handy, you can do this yourself. Avoid the large — and costly — consequences of ignoring home maintenance by following the checklist below. You and your home will be glad you did!

Consequences of Ignoring Home Maintenance

We made a list and checked it twice. You should do the same in order to keep your home in tip-top shape and looking nice!

ONGOING

√ Change out the filters on your HVAC unit.

If you have pets who shed a lot, keep your doors and windows open often, do this every month. Otherwise, do this every three months with 90-day filters. If you have electrostatic filters, then clean them at least twice per year.

Possible consequences of ignoring this task: poor air quality in your home and shortened lifespan of your HVAC unit.

SPRING

In the spring, after the last freeze and when the pollen blooms

√ Clean out areas on the outside of your home, including:

  • foundation vent and window wells
  • gutters (Visually inspect the gutters and downspouts for signs of leaking/damage.)
  • strip drains

Possible consequences of ignoring this task: water damage to your house. Initially, it may be surface damage, but it can quickly become structural damage if ignored.

√ Remove any limbs or significant debris atop the roof.

If any limb is touching or within 1 inch of the roof, cut only that offending limb at its nearest fork in the tree branch.

Possible consequences of ignoring this task: shortened lifespan of your roof; water damage to your home; allows pests a way into your home

√ De-winterize

De-winterize the following:

  • fountain
  • irrigation system
  • pond
  • pool

Possible consequences of ignoring this task: Although there is no large risk in overlooking this task, you will not be able to enjoy these features.

SPRING/SUMMER

When the temperatures start to get consistently warm

√ Get your HVAC units inspected and serviced.

Possible consequences of ignoring this task: The system won’t be balanced properly for the upcoming hotter weather, and it will shorten the lifespan of your HVAC unit.

FALL

When temperatures start to get cooler, before the first freeze

√ Get your HVAC units inspected and serviced.

Possible consequences of ignoring this task: The system won’t be balanced properly for the upcoming colder weather, and the lifespan of your HVAC unit will be shortened.

√ Disconnect the hoses from exterior water spigots.

Possible consequences of ignoring this task: Exterior spigots, even when they are frost proof, are meant to drip. If you keep the hose on them, the water line can burst.

√ Winterize

Winterize the following:

  • fountain
  • irrigation system
  • pond
  • pool

Possible consequences of ignoring this task: Freezing will damage these features.

FALL

After the leaves start falling

√ Clean areas on the outside of your home, including:

  • foundation vent and window wells
  • gutters (Visually inspect the gutters and downspouts for signs of leaking/damage.)
  • Strip drains

Possible consequences of ignoring this task: water damage to your house. Initially may be surface damage but can quickly become structural damage if avoided.

√ Remove any limbs or significant debris atop the roof.

Each house and lot are different, but most houses require at least two gutter cleanings in the fall.

Possible consequences of ignoring this task: shortened lifespan of your roof; water damage to your home; allows pests a way into your home

SEMI-ANNUALLY

√ Check the battery on your sump pump to ensure that it is charged.

Possible consequences of ignoring this task: During storms, your power can go out, and this is when you most need the sump pump to work. If the battery is not charging your sump pump, your home can flood.

√ Clean the lint from your clothes dryer, including the following:

  • external vent system
  • internal lint trap if accessible, not just the lint screen

Possible consequences of ignoring this task: This is a fire hazard, and built-up lint will shorten the lifespan of the dryer.

ANNUALLY

√ Inspect the accessible portions of the unfinished attic, unfinished basement and crawlspace

Look for the following:

  • animal or pest damage/intrusion
  • damaged or loose ductwork
  • loose or missing insulation
  • water damage/intrusion

Possible consequences of ignoring this task: All above conditions are warning signs and can potentially signal other significant problems that can damage your home. Many homeowners may not go into these spaces during the normal course of the year.

√ Inspect the exterior of your home, including:

  • the condition of paint and caulking
  • proper operation of the exterior doors
  • masonry hardscape (patios, walkways, etc…)
  • rotten wood
  • pest damage
  • torn screens

Possible consequences of ignoring this task: All of the above conditions are warning signs and can potentially signal other significant problems that can damage your home.

√ Change out the batteries on your non-hardwired, smoke detectors.

Possible consequences of ignoring this task: By doing this annually, you will hopefully avoid that annoying and seemingly random beep warning sign and know that your house is best protected.

√ Vacuum the coils on the back of your refrigerator and icemaker.

Possible consequences of ignoring this task: shortened lifespan of your appliance

√ Replace the filter on your water purifier.

Possible consequences of ignoring this task: By avoiding this, you might as well not have a water filter!

√ Inspect water heaters with a tank.

Ensure that it is not leaking and that the drain pan is free of debris.

Possible consequences of ignoring this task: water damage to your home

For a tankless water heater: Clean/flush it out to keep the warranty valid on your water heater.

√ Get your overhead garage doors inspected and have their hardware lubricated.

Possible consequences of ignoring this task: getting stuck in your garage

ANNUALLY

For homeowners who do not use a significant portion of their home, or who may not be physically able to inspect their home on a consistent basis

√ Visually inspect sinks for leaks at the faucets and below the sink bowls.

Possible consequences of ignoring this task: Leaks can lead to unnecessarily high water bills and damage to the house.

√ Check the toilets to ensure that they are not running.

Possible consequences of ignoring this task: Running toilets can lead to unnecessarily high water bills and damage to the house.

√ Inspect the interior of your home.

Inspect the finished interior of the home for the following:

  • caulk and grout condition
  • mold
  • settling issues
  • water damage/intrusion

Possible consequences of ignoring this task: All of these above conditions are warning signs and can potentially signal other significant problems that can damage your home.

Take care of your home, and it will take care of you!

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