Regularly scheduled home maintenance can save you money over the life of your home by identifying problems before they become catastrophes. All appliances and other machines need some sort of regular maintenance not only to prolong their life but also to keep them working at peak efficiency. There are also other parts of the home that should be inspected and carefully maintained.
A good place to start your home maintenance is to create a maintenance schedule. This means making a list of the maintenance tasks and how often these tasks should be performed. You can start by reviewing the owner manuals for the appliances and the building materials used in your home. The owner’s manuals will recommend the required maintenance. Simply review each manual and add the recommended tasks to your master list. Review the owner manuals that came with your windows, siding, roofing, doors, lighting fixtures, etc. You might also find it helpful to note the promised life span of each appliance or building material. These notes will help you anticipate replacement dates and plan your maintenance budget accordingly.
Some specific maintenance tasks that should be scheduled annually or semiannually include:
  • Change your furnace filter monthly if you use standard filters; if you use high efficiency filters, change them every three months. It is generally a good idea to check high-efficiency filters after two months and replace them at that time if necessary.
  • Every three months check the circuits in your electrical system by turning them off and then back on; also check for drips with leaks from plumbing fixtures by inspecting areas around and below all faucets, shower heads and other fixtures.
  • When the seasons change, check weather proofing and check for water leaks around windows, doors and the roof. Check very carefully around all flashing because this is generally the place where most leaks occur. To ensure energy efficiency, check for air leaks twice a year.
  • At least once a year, drain your water heater to keep it clean and operating at peak efficiency. If you heat with hot water, check the coils inside the heating units. Also check your furnace or boiler and oil the motor where indicated. Walk around your house and look carefully for any cracks in the mortar or siding, and check your chimney for any cracks or missing bricks.
  • If you use your fireplace to burn wood, you should have the inside of your chimney cleaned at least every two or three years.
  • At least once a year, walk around your house and check for drainage problems or puddles around the foundation. As the house settles, it might drop below the slope of the land and affect the drainage of water away from the foundation. If you have done any landscaping, check after a year to be sure you are not created any drainage problems that could damage the foundation.

Routine maintenance will not require a large amount of time on a regular basis, and it could save time and money for repair work. Anticipating the need for maintenance and providing excellent care for your appliances and building materials will ensure that they last as long as they should, saving money on premature replacement.