Regular maintenance, inspections, and upgrades are the best way to care for your house investment. Considering all the work you should do for your home may feel overwhelming. This guide provides items you should consider as part of your quarterly maintenance. If you stick to this list, you’ll save money in no time.
Consider the Outside of Your House
When considering the quarterly maintenance you should do on your home, it makes sense to start outside your house. You may know your roof’s importance, but do you know how to maintain it? You can do some maintenance without contacting a roofing company. However, you should know your limits and your capabilities. You should contact a professional when you are putting yourself or your roof at risk. A roofing company will have the experience and tools to do the job safely.
You should look for broken or loose roof shingles and check your chimney for signs of damage. During the winter, you should check to see if you have ice dams on your roof. They can be dangerous. This is when ice accumulates around the eaves of the roof. This ice can damage shingles, gutters, and siding. The ice dams tend to melt during the day and freeze at night. This water can become icicles or dams as it freezes. They could cause leaks in your roof, which can become a problem inside your house. A roof rake is a tool that can help remove snow from your roof to prevent it from freezing.
While inspecting your roof, take a look at your gutters. Gutters control the way water flows away from your house. They protect your siding, roof, and foundation. When your gutters are clogged, they can cause leaks in your house. You should clean your gutters at least twice a year. If you have a lot of trees near your house, you should clean them quarterly.
In addition to checking for clogged gutters, you want to ensure none are damaged. You should consider hiring a professional if you don’t think you can inspect or clean your gutters.
Windows and Doors
There is more quarterly maintenance outside your house after you have taken care of your roof. Next, you want to check your windows and doors. Finally, you want to wash the outside of your house. This cleans not only your siding but also your windows and doors. Winter has a way of leaving dirt, mud, and debris behind. To clean your windows, you should remove the storm windows and completely wash the inside and outside.
While washing your windows and doors, you can check them for drafts. If you notice they are drafty, add some caulk around the frames to help keep the temperature inside your house stable. Another way to keep a constant temperature inside your home is to consider any window air conditioning units you have. Most of the time, you should remove it when you aren’t using it. However, if the window unit is completely sealed and has no gaps, you can keep it in place all year long. If you decide to keep it in the window, cover the inside and outside when you aren’t using it.
When inspecting your windows, you should look for signs that you need window repair or window replacement. Chipped or peeling paint is a sign that you may need to repair your windows. If your window frames are rotting, you may be unable to save them. If you can’t open or close your windows, contact a professional to replace them.
Don’t Overlook the Siding
Don’t forget about your siding when thinking about the quarterly maintenance you need to perform. Siding requires minimal maintenance to look beautiful. Each type of siding requires slightly different care.
Wood siding has a natural look, which is why many people love it. However, weather and pests can significantly impact wood siding. As a result, you should inspect your siding regularly, looking for termites and rot. You can clean it with soapy water and a soft bristle brush to remove dust and dirt. If your wood siding has mildew, you can use a bleach solution.
Vinyl siding is more durable, reliable, and affordable. This is what most homeowners put on their houses. While vinyl can resist pests and rot, it can crack or warp. Moisture can get trapped under the siding if it isn’t installed properly or damaged. This type of siding is easy to clean because you only need a regular garden hose to rinse off dust and dirt.
Vinyl can melt from the heat of a grill, so you want to be sure to keep your grill a good distance away from your siding. It can be damaged by items like the lawnmower running into it, so you must be careful to avoid that. Vinyl siding fades over time, and you may want to paint your siding.
Your Heating System is Essential
You shouldn’t put together a quarterly maintenance plan that doesn’t include your heating service. Truthfully, you should schedule an HVAC company to come out every six months, once in the fall and once in the spring, to service your unit. A technician can check all the ducts for any signs of damage. In addition, they could provide furnace services which include cleaning and servicing it. While it’s always good to have a professional provide these types of services, there are some steps you can take to ensure your systems are functioning properly.
You should clean all your vents to avoid dirt, dust, or debris. When you are ready to turn on your heat, ensure all the vents are open and nothing is blocking the airflow. You want to check all of your filters and replace them as needed. You want to test your thermostat to ensure it’s working properly. You should also consider heat pump maintenance because this unit works twice as hard. When you have a furnace, it does only one job: providing heat. On the other hand, a heat pump handles heating and cooling.
Since it does twice as much work, it needs twice as much care. It should have a professional tune-up twice a year to remain energy efficient and perform well. If you have steam heat, it also means you have a boiler. A boiler requires special maintenance. You want to drain your boiler to clean out any sediment that accumulates.
So is Your Air Conditioning
When deciding which items should be on your quarterly maintenance checklist, include full HVAC services, including your air conditioning. You quickly discover how important your air conditioning is when you face the hottest day of the year and no AC. Set up a regular maintenance contract to avoid that and expensive AC repair bills.
You want to replace your filters often. If you run your air conditioning a lot, you may need to replace them monthly. It’s best to contact a professional HVAC company to maintain your unit regularly. You can expect them to clean and inspect the indoor and outdoor coils. A technician will inspect and clean the condensate pump to remove debris and dirt. In addition, they will remove debris, dust, and dirt from the entire system.
The condenser coils outside your AC unit tend to get really dirty. Once it becomes clogged with dirt, airflow is reduced. The dirt also insulates the coil, which reduces its ability to absorb heat.
If you have window units, they also require some care and attention. When you need to use the unit, inspect the seal between the window frame and the air conditioner to ensure it’s a complete seal. Over time, moisture can impact the seal, and cool air leaves your house. You should remove the window unit during the winter when you aren’t using it. This is the best way to keep your home energy efficient. You may not want to remove it if you live in an area with moderate to warm winters. If that’s the case, you should at least cover the unit when you have long periods of no use. This protects and insulates your window unit.
All the Major Systems
The other major systems in your house should be part of your quarterly maintenance checklist. This includes the plumbing system in your home. You want to check the pipes in your basement and under your sinks to ensure you don’t see any leaks. You should also look at your ceilings and walls to see if you see any water stains. Water stains are a sign of leaks in your home.
You should also check your toilet to verify the flapper is not worn. Some of these items you can fix yourself. All the other items you should hire a professional plumber to fix.
You want to do everything you can to prevent your pipes from freezing. You can do this by keeping a consistent temperature of at least 55 degrees in your house. You can also insulate your pipes to help prevent them from freezing. If water freezes in your pipes, it can expand, damaging or cracking them. As the ice melts, the pipes burst, and water floods your house. Pipes in unheated garages or swimming pool lines are most at risk.
Other tips include turning off the water supply to outdoor faucets before the weather turns cold. When you have cold days and nights, open the cabinet doors below the sinks to allow warm air. You can also let a steady drip run in your faucet to help keep the water moving.
The Garage is Important, Too
Your garage door should be on your list of quarterly maintenance items. You use your garage door daily but probably don’t realize how much you rely on it. You don’t want a broken garage door because you didn’t provide regular maintenance. You should inspect your garage door to ensure it opens and closes smoothly. You want to listen to the noise it makes and notice if it suddenly sounds louder. As you watch it open and close, pay attention to the parts and verify they are properly aligned.
Your garage door hardware also needs regular inspection. Look at the door hinges and tracks. You should tighten all loose bolts and fasten moving parts. Inspect the rollers that aren’t attached to the lift cable system. If you have nylon rollers, they tend to crack as they age. If you have steel rollers, they begin to look lopsided. The door is attached with lift cables. You want to look for rust, broken strands, or deterioration.
It isn’t a good idea to attempt to repair or replace your garage door or garage door hardware if you are not skilled or experienced. Instead, you should consider calling a professional garage repair person. This is especially true for garage door cables because they are under high amounts of tension. In addition, you could be injured if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Other Household Items
Some items fall under a quarterly maintenance schedule that often gets overlooked. Don’t forget these areas when you are working on your checklist. You should inspect the caulk around toilets, tubs, sinks, and showers. If you notice cracking or separation, you should recaulk these areas. Look at your shower doors and verify the silicone is still in good shape. You want to ensure your bathrooms’ exhaust fans are in good working order. You should inspect and clean them.
You want to ensure that your home is free of pests. This includes insects like mosquitoes, hornets, termites, and rodents that can gnaw at your walls and floors. It’s in your best interest to schedule an exterminator for regular maintenance. They can determine what type of pest control you need.
Your landscaping is where you want to give attention by trimming shrubs and removing dead branches. Pay attention to your trees and remove anything that is dead or presents a risk.
This is a good start to your quarterly maintenance schedule. You must inspect and maintain all of the areas of your house to keep it running smoothly. This checklist can help you maintain some of the major areas of your home.