home maintenance checklist // does your home need a check up?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Debbi DiMaggio

Debbi DiMaggio -021As we enter into the Fall and Winter Seasons, you may want to take care of a few things around your home. Here is a Home Maintenance Checklist to consider.

One of the most common issues that arise as we are getting our properties ready for market is that the Sewer Lateral is broken, off-set or cracked.  This is something that will eventually need to be addressed when you sell your home, but more importantly, cracks are evident you will want to replace the Sewer Lateral for the well being of your family.  Learn more on the EBMUD website.

Do you have a CO Detector on each level of your home?

This is now a Point of Sale Ordinance and is something you will want to install in your home for safety.  In that same vein, please test or replace your Smoke Detector batteries.  Many times we say to ourselves – it won’t happen to us, why bother, or I will do it tomorrow.  Learn Why You Shouldn’t Wait Until Tomorrow.

Our daughter Bianca is attending CU Boulder and has just experienced one of the worst floods on record, as per the media.  When we were going through orientation – the students had their orientation and yes, parents had an orientation of their own –  4 days long!  I admit, I cut a short session one afternoon, I was overwhelmed with information and had been taking lots and lots of notes!  ( As is my nature.  And then proceeded, like all parents, to reiterate everything I learned back to Bianca who had said, “MOM I know!”  I remember quite vividly, however, the presenter telling us to make sure our students signed up for the text ALERT System. At the time I was wary and a bit nervous, thinking why would they need an ALERT?  What could go wrong?  I recall feeling, on the one hand, relieved that they were on top of things, but on the flip-side was anxious that some huge disaster could happen while our daughter Bianca was so far away from us!

During the past week Bianca has been sent multiple text message alerts keeping the residents informed of Flash Floods and other important messages including evacuation notices.  Take warnings seriously even if you think it won’t happen to you.

Which reminds me — Do you have your Earthquake Disaster Kit on hand?

Please do not be overwhelmed by the list.  Implement the Slight Edge Principle:

“The principal method of the Slight Edge is doing seemly small insignificant steps consistently in the right direction. Over time all the seemly small steps add up to massive action toward the ultimate success in what you seek.”  Of course, this principle can be used in all aspects of your life;  including goal setting, studies, exercise, diet and in your job.

Let’s Get Started

Monthly Home Maintenance Checklist

• Fire Extinguisher: Check that it’s fully charged; recharge or replace if needed.

• Sink/Tub Stoppers and Drain Holes: Clean out debris.

• Garbage Disposal: Flush with hot water and baking soda.  Do the same for your Dishwasher.

• Forced-Air Heating System: Change filters once a month if user’s manual recommends fiberglass filters.

• Range Hood: Clean grease filter.

• Floor and Outdoor Drain Grates: Clean out debris.

Twice A Year

• Smoke Detector: Test batteries and replace if needed.

• Toilet: Check for leaks and water run-on.

• Interior Caulking: Inspect caulking around tubs, showers, and sinks; replace any if it is deteriorating.

• Forced-Air Heating System: Change semi-annually if user’s manual recommends high efficiency pleated or HEPA-style filters. You can find at Ace Hardware or Home Depot.

• Garbage Disposal: Tighten drain connections and fasteners.

• Clothes Washer: Clean water inlet filters; check hoses and replace them if they are leaking.

• Clothes Dryer: Vacuum lint from ducts and surrounding areas.

• Wiring: Check for frayed cords and wires; repair or replace them as needed.  Do you still have a FUSE Box?  Consider upgrading your electrical system.  This is a valuable upgrade to perform ahead of time, prior to selling your home one day.  Do you have a FEDERAL PACIFIC Panel?  If so, consider replacement.  Read Further

• Range Hood: Wash fan blades and housing.

Spring Cleaning

• Roof: Inspect roof surface, flashing, eaves, and soffits; repair if needed.  Please ask for a referral. Inspecting the roof is one of the inspections we highly recommend prior to market. Don’t wait until you go to sell your home, have it looked at sooner to avoid compounded expenses from deferred maintenance.

• Gutters and Downspouts: Clean them out or install no-clean version. Inspect and repair weak areas; check for proper drainage and make repairs if needed.

• Siding: Inspect and clean siding and repair if needed.

• Exterior Caulking: Inspect caulking and replace any that is deteriorating.

• Windowsills, Doorsills, Thresholds: Fill cracks, caulk edges, repaint; replace if needed.  Due to the harshness of sun and varied weather conditions your windowsills, doorsills and thresholds should be monitored and cared for whether painted or wood-stained.  Don’t wait another 7-10 years before you repaint to refresh or renew your sills.  Put this one on your rotation list every 1-3 years, as necessary.

• Window and Door Screens: Clean screening and repair or replace if needed; tighten or repair any loose or damaged frames and repaint if needed; replace broken, worn, or missing hardware; tighten and lubricate door hinges and closers.

When we sell a home, we prefer to have all screens removed for a cleaner look.  Area standards vary from county to county, city to city, but most agents would counsel you to remove the screens and store in the garage as well.

Windows Washed, Inside and Out:  Hire a professional to clean the interior and exterior of your windows.  It isn’t a huge investment, so don’t wait until you sell your home to enjoy this fresh look.

Summer is Over – Fall Checklist

• Roof: Inspect roof surface, flashing, eaves, and soffits; repair if needed.  If you delay on this item you may find yourself making an emergency call during heavy rains or worse, during the holidays.

• Gutters and Downspouts: Clean out. Inspect and repair weak points; check for proper slope.  Be sure the downspouts are not pointing towards the foundation but are directed away from the foundation so as not to compromise the structure and/or cause water damage.

• Chimney or Stovepipe: Clean flue (more frequently if needed); repair any cracks in flue or any loose or crumbling mortar.  Earthquake Retrofit: Check to see if the chimney is braced and secured as necessary.  Also make sure a damper is present.  Oftentimes, in older homes, the damper is not operable and the chimney has not been used or inspected for many years.

• Siding: Inspect and clean siding and repair if needed.

• Exterior Caulking: Inspect caulking and replace any that is deteriorating.

• Windows and Doors: Replace any cracked or broken glass; tighten or repair any loose or damaged frames and repaint if needed. Replace damaged hardware; tighten and lubricate door hinges and closers.

• Window and Door Weather Stripping: Inspect and repair or replace if it is deteriorating or if it does not seal.

• Thermostat: Clean heat sensor, contact points, and contacts; check accuracy and replace thermostat if it is not functioning properly.

• Outdoor Faucets:  Calling All You Lake Tahoe Homeowners — If you live in an area with freezing winters, be sure to maintain your shut off valves to outdoor faucets. Open spigots and drain, store hoses.  Also be sure to contact your local Realtor to obtain a Checklist for Cold Weather Homeowners.  The same goes for those snowbirds who head to Scottsdale, Florida or other warm weather areas–  There are a host of items one needs to be aware of when you live in those climates as well.  We built and owned a home in Scottsdale for many years — so watch out for those scorpions and be sure to install a water softener, to name a few.

Once Per Year

• Main Cleanout Drain: Have a “rooter” professional clean out the main line, particularly if there are mature trees in your yard whose roots could have cracked the pipe in their search for moisture.

• HVAC System: Have a professional tune up your heat/air conditioning system.

Other Important Action Items

• Water Heater Safety: Is your water heater braced and strapped to today’s standards?  Do you have a pressure relief valve?  Does the pipe terminate outside of the home or away from a living space?  If not, you should add this to the top of your list.

• Painting: Every 7-10 years it is a good idea to repaint the exterior.  We paint all our homes a variation of this color by Benjamin Moore.  I love the way it blends with the gardens and the light.

• Termite Inspection: It is a good idea to have a termite inspection to find out what has occurred over the years and what you might address long before you go to sell your home.

• Driveway: Repair and seal driveway.

• Exterior Decks: Pressure wash decks. Check and apply sealer to decks.

• Garden: Fertilize the lawn. Keep up your garden in the front and back.  If you let it go it will be quite costly to bring it back to life.

• Trees: Trim trees and shrubs touching your home.  Keep limbs off of wires.  Hiring a tree arborist to trim over-sized trees before they get out of hand is desirable.  This can be a costly expense if you wait too long.

  • Set the Stage

  • Don’t Wait To Make Your Home

  • Picture Perfect


Remember to take it one step at a time

                but do address the checklist for the health and safety of your home, your family and your pocketbook.

If you would like  a service provider referral please contact myself or Adam; we have cultivated many resources and relationships over the years.   If you are interested in having us assess repairs or prepare your home for market we welcome your call.  Adam and I have been guiding and counseling clients for over 20 years and we look forward to helping you too.

Thank you for taking the time to read my Blog, DebbiDiMaggioAGratefulLife.com



Debbi DiMaggio

DiMaggio And Betta  //  Educate, Communicate, Inspire

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