Maintain your home

Regular home maintenance will go a long way in preserving the value of your home. This is even more important with older homes, whose materials and appliances often require particular attention. Many maintenance tasks can be done by the homeowner with a bit of know-how. Some are best left to professionals. When in doubt, call on a professional you trust to carry out home maintenance and servicing. NSHPS publishes a Trades Directory, which is available here.

Roof & Attic – Inspect attic in spring and fall for signs of moisture and presence of wildlife. Have any moss growing on roof promptly removed. Check attic and top-floor ceilings for water stains.

Gutters & downpipes – Have gutters once or twice yearly to clear leaves and other debris. Check to ensure downpipes are properly connected and draining away from the house.

Siding & paint – Check for peeling paint, water damage and holes that could encourage entry by insects and rodents. Close any holes or gaps. Remove and replace and damaged shingles.

Foundation – Do a monthly walk-around to inspect for cracks, and seal any cracks promptly to prevent water infiltration . Remove any vegetation growing close to foundation.

Drainage – Inspect on a rainy day to ensure drains are functioning properly without any back flow. Check for signs of pooling near rock pits, if applicable. Hire a drainage company to do a video inspection if any issues with drainage.

Fireplace – Have chimney professionally cleaned every year. This is especially important if you have a wood-burning fireplace, to prevent the build-up of creosote.

Smoke and CO detectors – Ensure each floor of the house is fitted with a smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector. Test alarms monthly and replace batteries as necessary.

Electricity – Call an electrician if any light fixtures or outlets work inconsistently. Loose wiring may need to be tightened or replaced.

Plumbing – Have dripping faucets repaired. Be aware of changes in water pressure. A noticeable drop in pressure might be a sign of a leak somewhere along your water line.

Caulking – Check any caulking and grout in kitchen and bathroom. Remove and reapply as necessary.

Windows and Doors – Consider replacing single pane windows with double-pane windows to save on energy costs. Use draft stoppers on doors, and curtains on windows to prevent heat loss. Check window glazing compound for cracks and missing pieces. Remove an reglaze any damaged seals.

Pavement – Inspect for cracks and signs of shifting soil.

Basement moisture – Test humidity and invest in a dehumidifier if necessary.

Furnace – Keep furnace free of dust and clutter. Have it professionally serviced in the fall. Replace filters every three months. If you have forced air heating, have heating ducts cleaned every three to five years.

Hot water heater – Flush the tank yearly to remove sediment build-up or have your tank serviced by a professional.