Home Maintenance Checklist
Here are just a few suggestions for your home maintenance checklist:
- Check the oil on the lawnmower and sharpen the blades – well-sharpened mower blades drastically reduce mowing time
- Check and fill all gas cans for lawnmowers, etc.
- Check for squeaky doors and oil them as needed
- Check and clean range hood filters
- Check and replace furnace filters
- Check and replace other ventilation system filters
- Check and replace humidifier filters
- Remove grills on forced air system ducts and vacuum inside the ducts
- Examine the foundation for any cracks
- Examine exposed wood (attic, etc.) for insect damage and do any insect preventative maintenance that needs to happen
- Test all ground fault circuit interrupters
- Check all vents (inside and outside) and make sure there are no obstructions
- Remove screens (repair if necessary) , clean window wells, and dry them (https://youtu.be/c8QXD9x-6Mg).
- Examine all outdoor items and see whether any seasonal maintenance needs to be done
- Drain off a pan full of water from the clean-out valve at the bottom of your hot water tank (removes sediment and maintains efficiency). If you do not know how to do this, check out our video on our video resource page (https://youtu.be/TjsOR9ix0bI).
- Check and test your sump pump for any issues
- Test all fire/smoke/carbon monoxide detectors in the house
- Check all window and door locks to ensure they’re all in working order (https://youtu.be/D9_p8wFr-Rk ).
- Check your fire escape plan and make sure that furniture additions haven’t changed this
- Check all faucets for dripping water and change washers if needed
- Run all sinks, toilets, baths, and showers to ensure no problems (mostly just the ones not used frequently)
- Check the gauge on all fire extinguishers and replace if needed
- Use a pipe cleaner and baking soda to clean all drains
- Run your dishwasher through a cleaning cycle (https://youtu.be/IcgXX6J0XQk ).
- Check all gutters for blockage and clean as needed (bird’s nests, leaves, etc.)
- Check all visible pipes for leaks (don’t forget under sinks, etc.)
- Check and clean refrigerator and freezer coils (we did this about once every six months, if I remember right) https://youtu.be/c0r5x0AIXyc .
- Check all caulking and repair as needed
Monthly Cleaning Checklist
This is a recommended checklist which may help keep your home fresh and clean. Check on a regular basis:
- Clean all windows – remove the screens, clean the windowsills thoroughly as well as clean the windows thoroughly with a window cleaning solution (scub screens in Fall and again in the Spring)
- Vacuum underall furniture – and vacuum all furniture, removing the cushions, etc.
- Shampoo carpets as needed
- Scrub all non-carpeted floors – cleaning and brush on your hands and knees or use a SHARK cleaning machine to steam the floors
- Scour all sinks and tabletops
- Sweep the garage floor
- Grease the garage door hinges and any other parts recommended by your garage door company (at least twice a year)
- Put anything unused into storage (we had an annual “go through the storage” event, too)
- Inventory all food staples (pantry, freezer, etc.), throw out what’s old, make a master list, and go to the store to replace what’s needed
- Completely clean out refrigerator, thoroughly clean inside, then restock
Here are a few quick tricks to make home maintenance and organization easy. Among the tricks on this video, you will find an easy way to differentiate your keys, how to deal with stripped screws, how to catch drill hole dust without making a mess, and how to use a shoe organizer creatively.
If you haven’t seen our first Gold Key Fun Household Tricks video, go to our RESOURCE tab on our website and click on the VIDEOS selection of our drop down menu. Let us know what you think!
In the book, The E-Myth Revisited, the author, Michael Gerber, states that all business owners have 3 parts to our makeup: the entrepreneur, the manager, and the technician. Some of us have strengths in each of these categories. The entrepreneur dreams big and has a lot of creativity, the manager develops organized systems to facilitate the best way to run the business, and the technician work in the business, doing the labor involved with building market share, etc.
Too much emphasis on one will hurt the others, and avoiding one will adversely affect the necessary but painful parts of successfully growing a business. I am primarily a manager/technician, and would rather work in my comfort zone of inspecting homes and doing things in an organized way. Meeting new people, expanding boundaries, starting new programs, and launching systematized follow up programs are all crucial to growing a business, but do not cater to my strengths or desires.
Networking with co-workers, gleaning information from success coaches, and leaning on employees that complement your strengths and weaknesses are all ways to help balance what may be a dominant trait in your personality that hinders your business growth.
What are you proactively doing to energize your business? What steps have you taken to force your real estate adventure into a business that works for you and doesn’t consume your life? Are you satisfied with the results and if not, what can you do to take it to the next level? Let us know what type of effort you are making to exist outside of your comfort zone and propel your business to heights you previously thought impossible to obtain.
As the teeth of colder temperatures begin to sink in, any areas of your home that lack proper insulation will make themselves apparent. It may be a drafty area around doors, windows, or outlets. Sometimes walls in certain rooms will feel cold to the touch. Insulating a house properly and consistently can be a tricky proposition.
There are many “out of sight” areas that are difficult to insulate to keep cold air from infiltrating. The areas most commonly referred to when insulating are the exterior walls and above the ceiling (attics in most homes). Standards for insulating these areas vary somewhat according to location and building codes. In new construction, attics are insulated to an R-value of at least 50. Walls are typically at least R19. The R-value represents the insulating resistance to thermal transfer. As a general rule, the R value can be determined by multiplying inches of insulations by 3. For example, if you have 10 inches of insulation in the attic, the R-value is approximately 30. The actual R-value will depend on the type of insulation. Loose fill blown cellulose or fiberglass has slightly different values than fiberglass batts or rigid board insulation. It is more important to choose the right type of insulation for the application than to worry about which type has the highest R-value.
The insulating factor also depends on the amount of trapped air in the insulation. If you compress it by storing items on it, the insulating value is reduced. A type of insulation used, especially in exterior walls, is sprayed on foam. This is sprayed on exterior walls about 1 inch thick to effectively seal even the smallest gaps in the structure. It also provides additional strength to the framing of the house. Fiberglass batts are then installed over the foam to complete the insulating of the wall.
It is also important to have a correctly installed vapor barrier on in these areas. The vapor barrier allows air to pass though it, but resists water vapor. It is usually polyethylene film, aluminum foil, or Kraft paper. The purpose is to prevent moisture problems in exterior walls, ceilings, or floors that face unheated areas. This occurs when cold air mixes with warm air and condenses as it passes through the wall or ceiling cavity. This can lead to mold or ineffective insulation. It is important to remember that the vapor barrier should always face the heated side of the building.
Proper weather-stripping and caulking are an important finishing step in any insulation application as they seal the tiny cracks and crevices that larger materials cannot. You may also want to consider upgrading the houses’ windows, especially if they are single pane.
You will want to get a cost estimate from on the potential savings of any application from walls to windows to attics before spending the money to upgrade. The long term savings may not be enough in some applications to justify the higher initial cost.
A how-to video on how to replace and adjust your toilet flapper from your friends here at Gold Key Home Inspections, Inc.
Make sure you check the deadbolts in your home to see if they are correctly locking. Here is a video that explains how to do that.
The DIY network has a great video reminder on how to make sure you keep safety in mind while decorating for Christmas this year. Check it out!
1. Use an artificial tree that is fire resistant.
2. If using a real tree, cut a few inches off the bottom of the trunk of the tree and water daily.
3. Make sure the real tree is secured in a steady stand and not placed near a heat source or heating register that would dry it out.
4. Use lights that have the UL mark: red = outdoor and green= indoor
5. When hanging outside lights, use a sturdy and secure ladder to hang the lights with clips that will make it easier.
6. Do not overload outlets with plugs from lights and other Christmas electric decorations.
7. Make sure you turn lights and electrical items off when you go to bed.
Whether you’re a young homeowner or a senior retired in your own home, preparing your largest investment for the winter months is important and a good cost-effective preventative measure. Gold Key Home Inspection’s, Inc. is committed to helping homeowners stay educated on the care of their home with quick tips and money saving advice. This winter, make sure your home is ready for the long cold days to come.
1. Check your Heating System: Have a professional do a routine check before winter sets in. Vacuum vents and other heating components. Replace your furnace filter—depending on your furnace model, you may need to change the filter every 30-60 days. Program your thermostat between 68-72 degrees while at home and 60-65 degrees when away. This is one way to be more economic during the winter months and keep a little extra $ in your pocket. Check your thermostat batteries if you have a battery-powered one…they may need to be changed as well. If you have a propane or oil tank, make sure you have enough to keep everyone warm this winter. If you have a boiler, never cover it or block its air vents and ensure the outside flues aren’t blocked either.
2. Check your doors and windows: Seal or prevent air leaks. Check locks on all windows in the house and do not forget to check the basement windows too. In older homes, install storm windows to add another layer of protection from the cold temperatures. Add or replace worn weather-stripping around doors and windows. Caulk gaps where necessary. Replace worn door sweeps at the bottom of doors. Use caulking and weather-stripping around entry points for all pipes and ducts that travel through exterior walls.
3. Check your fireplace: If you have not used your chimney in a long time, it may be a good idea to have a Chimney Sweep Specialist come and take a look at it if you want to use it this winter. When not in use, keep the damper airtight to keep warm air from escaping your home.
4. Check your roof and gutters: It is always a good idea to take a peek at the condition of your roof during the fall and winter seasons. Replace loose shingles. Make sure the flashing around the chimney or vent pipes is watertight. Check the bricks and mortar for signs of deterioration. Make sure the gutters are still clear of debris and the downspouts are faced away from the house with extensions to move water away from the foundation. Trim tree limbs and bushes so that the house remains free from any moisture caused by foliage. It will also lessen the chance of severe damage caused by limbs due to heavy icing.
5. Check the outdoor care areas: Drain water from outdoor spigots and sprinklers. Bring pumps indoors. Unhook hoses from water faucets. Roll up hoses and store them inside. Give decks an additional coat of sealer (in colder climates, this will need to be done in October or early November. Check foundation and siding for cracks or gaps and repair as necessary. Window AC units should have special attention given to their care. If you take the appliance out of the window, be careful not to bend or damage the cooling fins on the back. Do not store the A/C unit on the garage floor where it might come into contact with corrosive de-icing salts left behind by vehicle tires.
6. Check your insulation levels: The largest amount of heat that escapes from your home leaves through the attic. It is estimated at almost 45% loss. Experts agree that an R-30 rated insulation is the minimum requirement for insulation. Newer homes usually have this standard, but older home may need more.
7. Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: It is a good idea to replace batteries on all your smoke detectors in your house. Test them. Because homes in the winter time are closed up, it is also a good idea to have a working carbon monoxide detector.
8. Senior checklist: For further warmth and comfort during the winter months, place several throw blankets on the couches and chairs in your home where you spend the most time. The soft, easy to use throws help a person to stay warm when the heater shuts down and the room begins to cool. It prevents the constant movement of standing, walking, and constant adjustment of the heat in order to keep the body warm as it ages. In climates where snow is more prolific, make sure you keep a bag of salt and a shovel in an accessible spot for clearing sidewalks, steps and drives, or have a contact person/company available to complete this task for you. It is also a good idea to have a family member or neighbor regularly check up on you during the winter months in case of an emergency or accidental fall.
We hope you find these tips helpful. Have a warm and cozy winter season!