A little home maintenance now can save you a boatload of money later. There are certain maintenance items that you can’t ignore. Choose a time each year, like when you change the batteries in your smoke detectors and do an overall home protection and inspection.
Roofs: Look for chipped, lifting or missing shingles, dull shingles or waves or ripples in the roof line. Also make sure to check flashings, soffits, fascia, and any wood trim that comes in contact with the roof.
Gutters and Downspouts: Make sure they are cleaned out and there are no blockages. Also look for leaks or places where gutters may have come apart from downspouts, or pulling away from the house.
Exterior Walls and Foundation: Check for cracks. Small ones may not be an issue and can be fixed with a mortar patch. Larger ones need to be checked by a professional.
Grading: If you see water settling around the foundation of the house you have problems. Make sure that any soil or landscaping slopes away from the house to the tune of 1 inch per 6 feet.
Doors and Windows: Check around the outside of windows and doors. Look for cracked caulk or weather stripping. Clean out window wells. Make sure windows and doors open, close and lock.
Porches, Decks, and Patios, Driveways and Sidewalks: Look for any rot, loose rails or steps and deterioration. Seal your deck yearly to prevent rot. Patios, driveways and sidewalks should be checked for cracks or settling and patched as needed.
Attics and Crawlspaces, Walls and Ceilings: Look for water leakage and damage, mildew, mold or fungus. Check attic vents or fans to be sure they are working properly. Also look for signs of damage due to animals (birds, squirrels, rats, mice, etc.), or termites/carpenter ant. If you find either, call an exterminator.
Electrical: Look for loose outlets, broken switches, ground fault circuit interrupters near sinks and the breaker panel for signs of issues with shorts or fire damage. Unless you have good electrical knowledge, hire an electrician to do any fixes.
Heating and Air Conditioning: Check to see if it runs, or runs non-stop, and look for bent or misshapen ac coils. Also clean debris away from the fan blades, after turning it off, of course. Have air ducts professionally cleaned.
Plumbing: Look for leaky faucets and supply lines. If you have a septic tank have it cleaned, and check for odors in the yard. Caulk any fixtures that need it. Check sump pumps to ensure proper function, and test the pressure relief valve on your water heater to ensure that it hasn’t seized up.