New home owners and old the importance of home maintenance.

For over the last ten years, I have been performing home inspections. The most significant need I find is home maintenance after thousands of home inspections under my belt. I have found a need to help educate new and old homeowners about the urgent need for home maintenance.

Home maintenance that goes unchecked can lead to more significant problems in the future. Identifying maintenance items is very important to homeowners.

I believe that many homeowners don't know the importance or what areas require maintenance. It's essential to find out exactly how much home maintenance do I need. I want to create a home maintenance checklist for all homeowners. I would like to help homeowners to come up with a home maintenance schedule.

Keeping a home maintenance log book.

In your home maintenance, logbook catalog each maintenance item so you can use it as a home maintenance tracker to see when it's time to evaluate items that are possibly ready for maintenance. Date each item when maintenance has been performed. Make a home maintenance calendar when that item will be due for next maintenance inspection. The maintenance log book acts as a home maintenance checklist.

It's time for a home maintenance plan.

Let's attack home maintenance like a pro. Here are some items that regularly end up on my home inspection reports. The importance of your home's weatherproofing. The average life span of most caulking is around five years. If it's been five years, it's time to inspect all your door jambs, windows, window trim, corner trim, siding, gaps around penetrations through the exterior wall of your home. You are looking for any separation where water and moist air can penetrate the house. These items are on the majority of most home inspection reports. A home maintenance guide can help with these simple home maintenance items that can lead to critical issues if left neglected.
Photo of door caulking separation of a home
Door Jamb caulking separation
Separating window caulking at a home
Window caulking separation
Siding seapration at corner needs caulking
Siding caulking seapration

Home drainage maintenance

We are moving along to your home's drainage systems.
Poor drainage can contribute to moisture intrusion and foundation issues. It's important to know that your home sheds water away from your foundation. As a homeowner, there may be simple things that can be done to improve drainage around your home. Cleaning your gutters so they are free of debris so water can drain and be directed away from your home can help. Overflowing gutters can damage facial boards over time. Gutters that are backed up can cause leaks in the roof. Adding splash blocks or gutter extension to direct the water away from your home can fix some issues. If the grade slopes towards the foundation, sometimes the only home maintenance solutions is to have a landscaper to add a french drainage system, which can be expensive, but worth the money.
A photo of a gutter full of debris
Gutters that are full of debris can cause issues.
Photo of poor drainage grade slopes towards foundation
Homes where grade slope towards foundations
Photo of poor drainage of a new construction home
Poor drainage at new construction

Home maintenance list for your roof

If your roof is steep or you feel uncomfortable, then hire a handyman to perform this task for you. Inspecting roofing can be dangerous and only should be attempted by an able person. So here are some items a homeowner should be aware of. Tree limbs overhanging or touching your roof can damage your roofing materials and eventually cause a leak. Built-up debris on your roof can cause roofing materials to fail prematurely. A Lifting shingle indicates a nail lifting the nail could penetrate through the singles face, and lifting shingles could be blown off the roof in high wind. Wind-driven rains can enter into your home if you have lifting flashing or headwall flashing. The caulking wears out on the ridge cap shingles at the area that the nail heads have been calked. The rubber roof boots don't last as long as the singles and will need caulked around 12-15 years or replaced. The lead roof boots last longer, but if you live in a neighborhood with mature trees, the squirrels love chewing the tops, and they will leak.
photo of tree limbs touching roof
Tree limbs touching roofing materials
Photo of lifting flashing
Lifting head-wall Flashing
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Electrical issues, yes, that's right; your electrical system may need maintenance.

The home can have issues over time things that used to function but don't anymore. I find these not working regularly during a home inspection, GFCI's( Ground Fault circuit interrupters), and AFCI's( Arc Fault circuit interrupters); they either do not trip or fail to reset. Ground wires disconnected from the driven rod. Loose receptacles can cause arcing, which is a fire hazard. A professional home inspector should evaluate the electrical system for defects. Most electricians recommend the electrical system be inspected every 3-5 years and recommend the GFCI's be tested twice a year.
Photo of a GFCI
GFCI's that do not reset after testing leaves you with no power
Disconnected system ground from driven rod
Disconnected ground wires from driven rods
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Your homes HVAC systems

Your homes HVAC systems should be serviced once a year to ensure the systems are operating properly. A poorly cooling A/C can cause the unit to work harder and fail earlier. If the unit is not cooling properly, it will cause your electric bill to skyrocket. You could also have issues where ducts, plenums, and evaporating coils need to be resealed because cooling the attic is a waste of many and a strain on your system. Making sure the heating unit is operating properly and venting hazardous carbon monoxide to the exterior is a must.
The hazards of combustable vent strapping missing.
Missing the vent strapping at the heating units combustible vent.
Photo observed of evidence of condensation forming at a duct on top of plenum
Have your A/C check out once a year Condensation forming at ducts
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Plumbing issues that need to be taken care of.

Make sure to run water at all areas filling up tubs, sink basins, and kitchen sinks. While filling these sinks with water, make sure there's no leaking around handles, showerheads, and shut off valves. Once full, drain each area one by one and carefully look full leaks under the sink at the drains. Leaks may go undetected if you don't look under the sinks causing a big mess and an area conducive for mold to grow. Water heaters are usually out of sight, so there out of mind. Many times nipples can become rusted and eventually start to leak. If you visit the area of the water heater, you may discover a gas leak. Water heater Temperature relief valves should be tested at least once a year. Changing anode rods can increase the life of your unit. If you have roof repairs or replacement, always check to make sure the roofer put the vent back in place, so the unit vents the carbon monoxide to the exterior and re strapped the vent as recommended. The truth is if plumbing leaks go left unchecked, they can cause lots of damaged and hazardous conditions. Most plumbing companies recommend a routine inspection about every two years. You may not have known, but a plumbing leak can cause foundation issues.
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As you can see, being a responsible homeowner can be an exhausting job. One solution is to have a home inspector inspect the bulk of your home every five years to get most items taken care of with a report helping you know what needs to be done. You would still have to maintain the things that need to be taken care of every year. In this article, it doesn't cover every situation that may arise and need maintenance, but it does give a homeowner a really good home maintenance guide to go by.

What should I expect to pay for my home maintenance per year?

Well, this depends if you are buying a new home or an older home, than cost will be more on an older home, possibly up to 4% of the cost of a Two hundred thousand dollar home. The low end would be 1% to 2%, so buying an older home has the potential for high dollar repairs. If the home has an A/C unit, more aged than the potential for failure is greater. If you own an older home, you may want to think about a home maintenance budget for unexpected replacements of high dollar items like A/C and heating. You may want to consider a home warranty that could cover some of these costs.

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