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House with flowers image Must Do Maintenance Checks

Keeping up with your maintenance can seem daunting. But it's really not that difficult. If you make sure that a few key areas inside and out of your home are taken care of, you should be in pretty good shape.

Along with the following major areas, you should also check out the simplified home maintenance checklist, and also a more thorough maintenance checklist (pdf).


Check the condition of the exterior surfaces. Touch up any areas that need paint before they deteriorate further, and schedule a complete repainting if necessary. Also, make sure that there are no shingles missing, and ensure that they are all in good condition.


With the proper attention, brick is not difficult to maintain. However, they are vulnerable to moisture, and can degrade, or "spall," over time, especially when subject to freezing/thawing cycles.

Periodically check over your brick home. Check the interior walls for any sign of moisture or damage. When inspecting the exterior walls, look for plant growth and weep holes. If plants, such as ivy are growing on your bricks, cut them as close to the surface as possible. Do not pull. Weep holes are small holes at the bottom of the brickwork that allow moisture to drain out of the wall. Clean them out if they are plugged.

Moisture Control / Termites

You should be doing everything you can to keep moisture away from your home. Not only will this help your home dry and less-prone to mold, but moisture attracts termites.

To keep moisture and termite food away from the house:

  • Maintain that exterior grade to drain away from the house; even if you change your landscaping.
  • Clear sticks, branches, leaves, and other items.
  • Fill depressions that might hold water. This will keep water flowing away from the house (and it will minimize the mosquito problem).
  • Adjust landscaping sprinklers to ensure that the house is not being watered along with your lawn and garden.
  • Make sure splashblocks are in place at downspouts, that the splashblocks are in good condition, and that they still direct water away from the house.
  • See if there is leakage at your hose bib (outdoor faucet) when you are using a hose.
  • Inspect/replace the washers on your hoses periodically. Water from leaking hoses can run straight down your foundation wall.


Make sure your home is free of indoor moisture problems. Check plumbing fixtures for drips. Examine ceilings, floors and walls for any telltale discoloration that may indicate a leak or a budding mold problem. Be especially aware of ceilings under the kitchen or bathrooms, as well as exterior walls. Also periodically check your attic to make sure there are no leaks in the roof. If you see anything you don't like, call a professional right away. In addition to standing water issues, you should also contact a professional if there are persistent high levels of humidity in your basement.

Inspecting your HVAC system and reducing air leaks are tasks you can probably take on yourself.


A properly running HVAC system will make your home more comfortable, lower energy bills, and filter pollutants out of the air more effectively. General suggested HVAC maintenance includes:

  • Inspecting air filters monthly during seasons of peak use and replacing or cleaning dirty filters.
  • Checking for disconnected or crushed ductwork. Disconnected ducts can result in heated/cooled air being distributed outside or in areas of the house where it is not needed. Crushed ducts restrict airflow and reduce system efficiency.
  • Sealing duct leaks and insulating ducts to reduce energy loss.
  • Clearing away weeds and debris around outside air-conditioning or heat pump units. Air should circulate freely around the unit.
  • Hiring a professional heating and air-conditioning technician to inspect your home's heating and cooling systems for proper functioning prior to the season of use (that is, air-conditioning should be inspected in the spring, and furnace should be checked in the fall).

Reduce Air Leaks

Does your home feel drafty in winter? Is it difficult to cool in summer? These problems can be caused by cracks or holes in a home's building envelope: exterior walls, windows, doors, roof, and floor. By locating and sealing air leaks, a homeowner can make a home more comfortable and save on the monthly energy bill.

The most common places for air leaks are around doors and windows, but leaks can also be found around:

  • Chimneys
  • Recessed lights and light fixtures
  • Attic entrances
  • Electric wires and boxes
  • Vents and fans
  • Plumbing utilities
  • Water and furnace flues
  • Electrical outlets

Below are several steps you can take to reduce air leaks:

  • Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows that leak air.
  • Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting, or electrical wiring penetrates through exterior walls, floors, and ceilings.
  • Install rubber gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on exterior walls.
  • Close the fireplace flue damper when the fireplace is not in use.
  • Weather-strip around the attic door.

Specific preventative maintenance tips

Content updated on 2/27/2007

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