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Dean Johnson

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Repairs & Maintenance

Maintenance: Where to Start


Preventative MaitenanceTaking time to do preventive maintenance will make your home safer and save you money by keeping your home in working order. There's a good deal of physical work and a knowledge of mechanicals needed to complete these lists. So, if you are unable to do all the work yourself, ask or hire someone to help you.

This section is a series of lists to help you along with regular home maintenance.


Maintenance Tools & Materials

Most home maintenance projects will require only a few simple tools. Here are a few that you may find useful.

  • adjustable wrench
  • slip-joint pliers
  • utility knife
  • regular screwdriver
  • phillips head screwdriver
  • drain auger (plumber's snake)
  • flashlight
  • shop-grade vacuum cleaner
  • power washer/sprayer
  • buckets & heavy-duty sponges
  • tri-sodium phosphate (TSP)
  • caulk gun & caulk
  • 6' step ladder & extension ladder
  • work gloves & rubber gloves


Monthly Safety Tests

safety test on GFIMake your home safer by inspecting these items monthly and keeping them up-to-date.

  • automatic garage door opener
  • ground fault interrupter receptacles and circuit breakers
  • smoke alarms
  • inspect and lubricate (if needed) windows for emergency exits
  • carbon monoxide detectors
  • general inspection of heating unit and water heater



Emergency Items

Write down this important information about your home and keep it accessible in case of an emergency. If you can't find or operate any of these items, ask someone knowledgeable to help. All adults in the home should know where these items are and how to shut them off:

  • heating fuel main shutoff
  • main electrical shutoff (service panel, a.k.a. fuse/breaker box):
  • main water shutoff
  • fire extinguishers
  • main drain line cleanout

NOTE: Some people recommend "exercising" all fuel, electric and water shutoff valves and switches (turning them "off" and then "on") to ensure that they don't get stuck open. Some fuel valves are difficult to turn, so you may want to keep a wrench nearby.


Fall (and Spring) Chores

Gutter cleanNo matter where you live, seasonal changes in temperature and moisture levels require special maintenance tasks. Fall and Spring cleaning are necessary to maintain a house's appearance and keep it in good condition.

  • close and drain hose bibs (fall), open hose bibs (spring)
  • rake debris away from side of house and other structures
  • clean out gutters and downspout elbows
  • check gutters, downspouts, and roof penetrations for leaks
  • treat wood gutters (fall)
  • check and repair caulk (if needed) around exterior surfaces (fall)
  • note any cracks in foundation, brick or stucco
  • hose off house exterior (spring)
  • scrub mildewed areas of house exterior and treat for mildew and fungus on decks (spring)
  • Gutter and house sprayclean gaps between deck boards above joists
  • clean around air conditioner compressor
  • trim any trees or shrubs that touch house
  • inspect and replace (if needed) weatherstripping
  • inspect and repair (if needed) screens
  • inspect and clean (if needed) storm window weep holes
  • clean out under decks and porches
  • inspect and repair (if needed) glazing compound
  • clean out basement window wells
  • examine septic system drain field for flooding, odor; have tank pumped yearly

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