Regular Home Maintenance List

adellabedella_usaNovember 15, 2009

The thread on the water heater prompts this question. Does anyone have a good list of items to do on a regular basis to maintain your house? I never thought of turning all of the water valves behind the washer, toilets, etc., to keep them from getting corroded. What else should we be doing?

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maime

We didn't do any regular maintenance unless you call cleaning gutters, etc. maintenance. We fixed things when they needed repair and that's it. If your dryer vents outside you need to go out and make sure there is no bird's nest there. LOL

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 2:01PM
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western_pa_luann

" I never thought of turning all of the water valves behind the washer, toilets, etc., to keep them from getting corroded."

I don't think you really need to do that....

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 3:27PM
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maime

I had a washer hose burst and in 15 minutes one third of my basement was flooded. So I turn them off when I finish my laundry. My basement would have been full if we had been out of town. I have been told you need to replace the hot water hose every 3 or 4 years to keep this from happening.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 7:07PM
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cynic

" I never thought of turning all of the water valves behind the washer, toilets, etc., to keep them from getting corroded."

I don't think you really need to do that....

Not everyone has water or faucets that will be affected. I do. Just like the comment on the water heater drain, it happens in my house on other faucets. Just the other day I decided to check the washer faucets. I had to use a wrench to get the one to close. Maybe you don't think you really need to do that, but I like to know that I can shut off the water without searching for a wrench in an emergency. Years ago I had to shut off the water on the toilet to work on it. Same thing - needed a wrench. Some friends of mine have had leaking toilets do a lot of damage to their houses. Again, I like to know that things are in good working order. Last week I noticed the laundry sink faucet was extremely tough to turn on and off. Could hardly get the hot valve to move. Crud built up on it. I just took some vinegar and poured on it - let it sit a few minutes and worked it on and off a few times.

You don't HAVE to do anything like the ones who have rental properties and never maintain them. But maintenance is a good thing IMO.

I have a series of checklists put together that I used to use regularly. Broken down into time frames. Don't have it handy but some things include:

-Cleaning dryer vent and cleaning the dryer itself.
-Lube/test the garage door opener and the garage door rollers/tracks
-Lube hinges
-Maintenance on mowers, snowblowers, vehicles, etc
-Drain the water heater
-Check washer hoses/replace every few years. And replace them BOTH - not just one! Does it matter if your house floods with hot or cold water??
-Clean gutters/downspouts. I used to take them down in the winter and put them back up in the spring.
-Check weatherstripping and caulking occasionally. A lot of air leakage can be prevented with a few dollars and a few hours.
-TEST smoke alarms!
-Vacuum heat registers/ductwork
-Change furnace filters regularly
-Dust/wipe your light bulbs. Believe it or not they'll last longer (able to dissipate heat) and you get more light.
-OBSERVE. When you plug in cords, are ends becoming loose? See any dark marks on them suggesting arcing?
-Test fire extinguishers. Oh, you don't have any???
-Test the seals on the refrigerator. Do the dollar bill test. This can save a lot by just washing it, massaging the seal or adjusting the door.
-Check seals around tubs/showers for leaks. A little water can do a lot of damage.

I'll try to dig out my lists and post more.

A lot will vary from person to person. You might not have ductwork, but you might need to wash/vacuum radiators or baseboard units. This Old House and those types of websites have some lists of maintenance items. It's a good idea to make your own list.

Once a year or so I like to take my recorder or a clipboard and take a walk around the place and do an inspection. Similar in concept to if I were buying the place, but more. Check for damage, cracked windows, overgrown bushes, maybe the driveway needs patching, doorknobs loose? This type of thing. Often we look at things day in and day out and can't see it. Look for spots where water might pool and not drain away from the foundation as it should. It settles over time.

I did a quick search. Here's a few to give you some ideas:

Bob Vila
Here's a pretty comprehensive list to help give you ideas
Here's an example of a schedule
Another list

Here is a link that might be useful: And a whole lot more!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 11:32PM
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maime

Cynic please don't think of us as slum lords. A lot of stuff on your list is what I call cleaning and repairing. Our rental property was repaired when it was empty and when there were problems. The most common comment I had about our rental was "it's so nice". They never stayed empty very long. We have never found a corroded tap under any sink. One time we had a problem draining a hot water heater when the heater had to be replaced. If I moved out of my home now it would be clean and in good condition.

When my sister moved to a different home it took her 6 months to get her old home in order to sell. She asked me how I kept my home so nice. My reply to her was, "when you see something wrong fix it, when you see something dirty clean it."

    Bookmark   November 17, 2009 at 11:32AM
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western_pa_luann

"A lot of stuff on your list is what I call cleaning and repairing."

I agree...

EXCEPT for
"-Clean gutters/downspouts. I used to take them down in the winter and put them back up in the spring."

I have NEVER taken down gutters or downspouts!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2009 at 11:40AM
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calirose

Thanks for the guide lists!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2009 at 11:59AM
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grittymitts

My Father, born in 1901 always said a jar of vaseline and a cotton tipped swab could alleviate many problems around the house. An ol' lady now, disabled DH & with full responsibility of home maintenance, have put a lot of his great tips to use. I find the vaseline very helpful around base of outside lightbulbs & a good smear on both on all hose connections -interior and exterior...easy disconnecting is sooo much easier on arthritic hands.

Before really cold weather I cover all foundation vents & crawl spaces...used to have wood one that screwed on but learned 'found' 1" styrofoam cut to size (easy with heated wire cutter) is even more effective. I wrap an outside standing faucet with the thin type used to prevent marring furniture during shipping -cut 2" thick squares of styrofoam to make a triange, connect sides with skewer pcs & cover. Filled with leaves & topped with decorative rock it's not at all unattractive.

BTW, after a hose blew off an upstairs washer I buy nothing but 'No Burst" hoses for it & toilets, sinks, etc. They last for years! Maybe I'm overly cautious but if going out of town, I to turn water supply to washing machine off. Disconnect small appliances & turn water heater to 'vacation' setting too.

I try to clean gutters when they're dry & use to leaf blower...it's getting harder to drag & move extension ladder from place to place along them at my age.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2009 at 9:58PM
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joyfulguy

Good list, cynic - thanks.

As I live alone, I don't wash clothing frequently and have tried, with limited success, to get used to shutting off valves at the hot and cold warer pipes to forestall a flood in case one of the hoses lets go ... if it does so while I'm washing, I'll likely become aware rather soon.

A bit of light oil added to locks prior to winter may deter water from getting in and freezing, making the lock inoperable. Sometimes lock deicer helps to free up such a lock, but it usually takes a while. If you check the price of lock deicer in its little bottle and have a supply of methanol (or pure ethanol, for that matter) you'll find that purchase price per oz. is far lower.

Some time when it's a really windy day in early fall, take a lighted candle and move it around any openings, even wall plugs, in rooms on the windy side of the house: caulking openings will cut down substantially on the fuel bill.

I goofed last summer, as I had the dehumidifier working in summer in earlier years, but neglected to do so on a regular basis during this past summer, when we had frequent rains. I noticed that a gravy stain on my suit had grown mould, also a pillow on the spare bed in my bedroom, and on the veneer board below the window in that room.

As I'd operated the furnace fan sometimes in late afternoon or early evening, it had pumped cool air up into the house, and as it heated, it should have picked up moisture. Didn't pick up enough, I guess. Also, when the warm air from the house went down to the relatively cool baseent, it dropped some moisture and I don't want mould in the basement, either.

I have several wall plugs all on one circuit, so I need to refrain from using the microwave and the electric kettle (same duplex plug) in the kitchen at the same time. But there are plugs in the dining room on that circuit ... so when I'm using the electric heater near the computer, I need to remember to turn it off before I use the heating units in the kitchen. TV and lamps in the living room are on the same circuit ... plus two or three others. I'd love to set up some more circuits, as there's room in the entry box in the basement ... but it's old and the type of circuit breaker that's used in it isn't available any more ... unless one is lucky enough to find a few, held by usually an older electrician.

May think of some more ideas later.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   December 13, 2009 at 9:06PM
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greenbean08_gw

I also try to remember to turn off the washer hoses before leaving town. A former employer of mine had some burst while they were gone for 3 days - it was a huge mess.

A couple things to think about as well - did you know you are supposed to replace your smoke detectors after 10 years? CO detectors also should be replaced (I forget the interval, it may be 5 years).

Also, if you are closing your crawl space vents, watch that you don't cause moisture build-up in there. If your gas furnace is in the crawl, be sure to leave adequate ventilation so you don't create a dangerous situation.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2009 at 10:42PM
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Carol_from_ny

One biggie that I've learned over the years is to make sure ALL shut off values in the house are labeled with what they are for and which way to turn the valve to shut it off.
It does no good for anyone to have only one person in the house know where the shut off valves are if that person isn't around.
This is especially true for homes that are being rented.

Regular home maintenance should also include proper trimming of trees and shrubs. Trees and shrubs that are overgrown or dead can cause major damage to a home. They can become ladders for rodents to enter a home if they are too close to a house, they can scratch paint, ruin roofs and break windows.
Driveways should also be regularly maintained if they are blacktopped with sealer and weeds should be removed to keep the blacktop from breaking up.
If you burn firewood your chimney should be cleaned EVERY year before you use it in the fall.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2009 at 5:22PM
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colorcrazy

Great lists. We have the "no burst" hoses for the washer. It's great for peace of mind.

The hardest job, I think, is cleaning out the gutters. We would NEVER take the gutters off, as we get rain all year 'round.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 10:23PM
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jannie

When my MIL died, we sold her house in none day. She had been a neat freak, always cleaning . And if something broke, she fixed it or replaced it right away. When she died, her home was immaculate. We moved out her clothing and furniture, nothing else was needed. A good lesson. Keep your home clean and in good repair.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 7:57PM
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singleton165

My BF lubricates all the household valves once a year. Wish I had heard about that years ago...especially before the handle broke off the main water line coming into the house (found that out when replacing the kitchen faucet and the valve under the sink didn't shut off completely).

    Bookmark   January 25, 2010 at 7:16PM
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benlinus

"I never thought to turn the water valve behind the washer, bathrooms, etc., to prevent corrosion." I do not think you really need to do this ....

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 8:02AM
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jannie

One summer, as we left for a 2 week vacation, DH shut off the natural gas supply to our house. When we returned home, and he turned it back on, we experienced a "puff back", smoke all thru our home. Never shut off the gas!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 8:54AM
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tripletmom83

I think it is a good idea to turn your shut offs on and off every once in awhile. My parents always turn off the ones to the toilets and washing machine when they go away overnight. We never did, and now we can't turn them. When we go away we turn the water off to the whole house. When our dishwasher broke, we couldn't turn the shut off off, so had to shut off the main. Which meant we needed a plumber immediately to put a new shut-off in.He put in a new kind, he said will never corrode or get stuck. Eventually we will have them all replaced.Lesson learned.
Best money saving tip ever: Take care of your stuff!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 5:53PM
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sleevendog

We have a daily check-list, a weekly, a monthly and a seasonal...a storm prep list and an away on vacation list. Printed, copied and always being added to in pen or pencil.
We are just forgetful by nature and need the 'check'...
I swear i just got my car inspected but it expired last month! lol.

StormSandy was a wake-up call for many. We had been through a bad storm a couple years ago in Newfoundland and are well versed. We filled our cars full, coolers full of ice, etc. A long list. Best to do some monthly and seasonal checking.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 1:37PM
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leenamark

Inspecting your home on a regular basis and following good maintenance practices are the best way to protect your investment in your home.
Regularly check the house for safety hazards, such as a loose handrail, lifting or buckling flooring, inoperative smoke detectors, and so on.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 12:16AM
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