Accredited Home Inspection - Maintenance Advice and Tips
This is good information on maintaining your Belleville area home. Please feel free to print this document for your own use.
Upon Taking Ownership of House
After taking possession of your new home, follow these tips immediately:
- Change all locks on exterior entrances, you don't know who still has a key.
- Double check that all window and door locks are operational. If necessary change window hardware. You can add security rods to sliding windows and doors. Consider installing a security system.
- Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide in each area of the home. Replace batteries on any existing detectors and test them. You should change the batteries every six months.
- Create a action plan in the event of a fire in your home and discuss it with your childern. Everyone should know escape routes and meeting locations.
- Look for trip hazards on driveways, walkways, loose or torn carpet. Make everyone in the family aware of these areas until repairs are made.
- Review your home inspection report for items that need immediate attention.
- Install rain caps and vermin screens on all chimney flues, if necessary.
- Educate everyone in the house on the location of the main shut-offs for the plumbing, heating and electrical systems.
Regular Home Maintenance
Spring and Fall
- Place fire extinguishers in each area of the home and make sure they are re-charged when necessary.
- Replace or clean heating/cooling air filters on a regular basis. Typically every 1-3 months depending on the type of filter system installed.
- If the house has hot water heating, bleed radiator valves.
- Clean gutters and downspouts. Ensure that downspouts are secure, and they discharge away from the house. Clean out debris from window wells.
- Keep an eye out on the condition of shower enclosures. Repair or replace deteriorated grout and caulk. Check that water is not escaping the shower during showering. If you can, look below all plumbing fixtures for evidence of leaks.
- Check the roof covering for damage.
- Look in the attic for obstructed roof vents, leaks, condensation or vermin activity.
- Trim back tree branches and shrubs so they are not in contact with the house.
- Inspect the exterior walls and foundation for damage, cracking or movement. Watch for bird nests or other vermin or insect activity.
- Check the basement and/or crawl space walls for moisture seepage.
- Look at overhead wires coming to the house. They should be secure and clear of trees or other obstructions.
- Walk around the house while it is raining to ensure that water if flowing away house and 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 and keep a fresh coat of paint on the window sills and frames.
- Test all ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) devices by pushing the "Test" button.
- Shut off isolating valves for exterior hose bibs in the fall, if below freezing temperatures are anticipated.If you're new to the Belleville area it does get well below freezing in the winter.
- Eliminate any wood/soil contact around the perimeter of the home.
- Place a 2 x 4 on the floor under the automatic garage door and close it. The door should reverse when it comes in contact with the 2x4. This is how you check the auto-reverse mechanism. Clean and lubricate hinges, rollers and tracks on overhead doors.
- Replace or clean stove exhaust filters.
- Clean, inspect and/or service all appliances as per the manufacturer's recommendations.
- Have the heating and cooling systems cleaned and serviced by a qualified contractor.
- Have chimneys inspected and cleaned. Ensure that rain caps and vermin screens are secure.
- If the house has a well system, check and service the pump and holding tank and have the water quality tested. If the property has a septic system, have the tank inspected (and pumped as needed).
- Have the home inspected by a licensed termite contractor.
Prevention is the Best Approach
Nothing is more true than the old cliche "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Preventative maintenance is the best way to keep your house in great shape and reduces the shock of unexpected repairs. Please feel free to contact me anytime you have any questions regarding the operation or maintenance of your home.