Outside the house
- South facing materials age fastest.
- Have no direct ground to wood contact.
- Rake leave and debris away from the house and leave 2″ to 4″ minimum of foundation showing. Look for peeling paint and loose caulking. Replace caulk-don’t just go over old-remove and then add new. This is what keeps water out of your home.
- Maintain a positive grade away from your house.
- Look for cracks in brick or foundation mortar then to see if they get any larger. They may be nothing or signs of settlements.
- Look for wood decay-termite tubes.
- Clean up your house with a cleaning solution such as TSP and bleach. (Be careful around lawn and shrubs.) A power washer can be rented to speed up the job. This helps clean up and removes dirt, dust, cocoons etc…and helps preserves wood, vinyl, stucco-what ever siding and trim you have.
- If you have a deck check the boards to see that you have a gap (spaces) between them. This is very important for drainage, otherwise it will shorten the life of the material. Check deck posts buried in the ground for rot.
- Check your garage door to see if they reverse themselves under pressure.
- Have your septic system checked out or pumped out.
- Seal deck, brick or any exterior horizontal surface subject to snow and ice.
- Wash windows in and out, check exterior sill covers for drips.
- Check your roof – use binoculars if you are unable to get on it.
- Gutters and downspouts must be kept clean and in proper condition-water must get away from the house.
Inside the house
- Check chimney flue, mantel and damper.
- Check ceramic tiles – if loose grout, clean and seal. Replace if need be.
- Check under sinks – shut off valves – look for green crust or water stains – catch problems early.
- Pull out refrigerator and vacuum coils and clean drip pan.
- Check electrical outlets and test breakers.
- Lubricate parts with WD40.
- Vacuum smoke alarms, check for bugs and dust – test them.
- Check burners – have a professional service clean it and tune up.
- Keep an eye on fittings.
- Check mechanical systems – they may need maintenance – plumbing – heating – cooling – wiring.
- Ventilation – very important! Most houses don’t have enough – don’t cover vents in the attic.
- Drain off bottom of hot water tank – sediments build up. Check pressure relief valve.
The key is an ounce of prevention.
Find any sign of trouble before it becomes big!