Our Home Maintenance Checklist is designed to help you keep track of common maintenance concerns that, if not addressed promptly, can extend into expensive repair/replacement costs.
UPON TAKING OWNERSHIP
After taking possession of your new home, there are some maintenance and safety issues that you should address immediately. The following checklist should help you undertake these improvements:
Replace or re-key the locks on all exterior entrances, for improved security.
Check that all windows and doors are secure. Improve window hardware as necessary. Security rods can be added to sliding windows and doors. You may want to consider installing a security system.
Install smoke detectors on each level of the home. Ensure that there is a smoke detector outside all sleeping areas. Replace batteries on any existing smoke detectors and test them. Make a note to replace batteries again in one year. If the smoke detectors are old, you may want to consider replacing them for improved safety.
Create a plan of action in the event of a fire in your home. Ensure that there is an operable window or door in every room of the house. Consult with your local fire department regarding fire safety issues and what to do in the event of fire.
Examine driveways and walkways for trip hazards. Undertake repairs where necessary. Larger cracks should be sealed. Make sure intersection between a driveway or walkway and the house wall is sealed to keep out water.
Examine the interior of the home for trip hazards. Loose or torn carpeting and flooring should be repaired. Check walls and ceilings for cracks and bulges, and repaired as necessary. Ensure all doors and windows operate properly. Make adjustments and/or repairs as necessary.
Undertake improvements to all stairways, decks, porches and landings where there is a risk of falling or stumbling. Check handrails and railings to ensure they are safe and secure.
Test the temperature of the hot water. To minimize the chances of scalding, the temperature should be maintained around 120 degrees F. Adjust the thermostat on the water heater accordingly.
Review your home inspection report for any items that require immediate improvement or further investigation. Address these areas as required.
Install rain caps and vermin screens on all chimney flues, as necessary. Chimneys serving woodburning fireplaces or stoves should be checked for creosote build-up and professionally cleaned before first-use.
Check for proper clearances between wood stoves or fireplaces and combustible materials. If in doubt, engage a professional.
Investigate the location of the main shut-offs for the plumbing, heating and electrical systems. If you attended the home inspection, these items would have been pointed out to you.
Check the panel for oversized fuses or breakers and replace as necessary. Any loose fuses should be tightened.
Houses wired with aluminum wiring should have the aluminum wiring connections checked by a licensed electrician. This should be repeated annually.
Standard outlets in the bathrooms should be replaced with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets.
Examine exterior outlets for weather-tight boxes and covers. Standard exterior outlets should be replaced with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets.
Check that fire extinguisher(s) are fully charged. Re-charge if necessary.
Examine heating/cooling air filters and replace or clean as necessary. Noisy components, such as the blower motor, should be investigated further by a HVAC technician.
If the house has hot water heating, bleed radiator valves, and check for leaks.
Clean gutters and downspouts. Ensure that downspouts are secure, and that the discharge of the downspouts is appropriate. Remove debris from window wells.
Carefully inspect the condition of shower enclosures. Repair or replace deteriorated grout and caulk. Ensure that water is not escaping the enclosure during showering. Check below all plumbing fixtures for evidence of leakage.
Repair or replace leaking faucets or shower heads. Check for leaks under the kitchen sink and repair as necessary.
Secure loose toilets, or repair flush mechanisms that become troublesome.
Test the reset button on Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets.
SPRING AND FALL
Examine the roof for evidence of damage to roof coverings, flashings and chimneys.
Look in the attic (if accessible) to ensure that roof vents are not obstructed. Check for evidence of leakage, condensation or vermin activity. Level out insulation if needed.
Trim back tree branches and shrubs to ensure that they are not in contact with the house.
Inspect the exterior walls and foundation for evidence of damage, cracking or movement. Watch for bird nests or other vermin or insect activity.
Survey the basement and/or crawl space walls for evidence of moisture seepage.
Look at overhead wires coming to the house. They should be secure and clear of trees or other obstructions. Make sure the electrical service mast is well-secured.
Ensure that the grade of the land around the house is properly sloped to encourage water to flow away from the foundation.
Inspect all driveways, walkways, decks, porches, and landscape components for evidence of deterioration, movement or safety hazards.
Clean windows and test their operation. Improve caulking and weather-stripping as necessary. Watch for evidence of rot in wood window frames. Paint and repair windowsills and frames as necessary.
Test all ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) devices, as identified in the inspection report.
Test the overhead garage door opener, to ensure that the auto-reverse mechanism is responding properly. Clean and lubricate hinges, rollers and tracks on overhead doors.
Replace or clean exhaust hood filters.
Clean, inspect and/or service all appliances as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Replace smoke detector batteries.
Have the heating, cooling and water heater systems cleaned and serviced.
Have chimneys inspected and cleaned. Ensure that rain caps and vermin screens are secure.
Examine the electrical panels, wiring and electrical components for evidence of overheating. Ensure that all components are secure. Flip the breakers on and off to ensure that they are not sticky.