Homeowners often ask, “What are some general guidelines for keeping my home safe and healthy for my family?” Our experience over the last 20 years has proven that certain interior maintenance items are critical to the long-term performance of your home (also see Exterior Home Maintenance 101). Time and again we see issues arise due to the fact that these basic items are neglected, either because they are overlooked or misunderstood. A regular schedule of interior and exterior home maintenance will likely help you to avoid serious home-related problems all together, or at least identify issues early so problems can be addressed in a timely manner with minimal adverse effects.
Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
- Maintenance Recommendation: Serviced in the spring and fall by a professional HVAC company. Filters should be changed monthly, every six months, or yearly based on type used for your system.
- As a mechanical system, they require regular maintenance to operate at their most efficient level. You should have your HVAC systems serviced twice a year, spring and fall, to ensure it is operating as intended. This should include changing the filter (monthly with an EAC) and a system inspection, and for your AC, a refrigerant check and a cleaning of the condenser.
- Maintenance Recommendation: Replace pad in the fall during heating system check up.
- Many homes are equipped with a humidifier to help raise the humidity during the dry winter months. When working properly these provide a great benefit to the health of your home and indoor air quality. They do require annual maintenance to replace the pad inside the humidifier. Over the winter months the pad collects calcium and other deposits from the water source, which may cause it to clog. If your humidifier does clog, it normally will start leaking. To keep this from happening, be sure that your HVAC service company replaces the pad every fall during their service visit.
Hot Water Heaters
- Maintenance Recommendation: Annually.
- The process of heating up water causes particles and minerals to form and settle at the bottom of the hot water heater. This may result in the less efficient operation and decreased capacity of your hot water heater. To ensure maximum performance and to minimize maintenance hassles, you should drain 10-15 gallons of water from the bottom of the hot water heater once a year.
Fireplaces and Chimneys
- Maintenance Recommendation: Annual inspection, clean as necessary.
- It is recommended that fireplaces be inspected at least once per year for soundness, deposits and clearance. Regardless of use, chimneys should be inspected to ensure nothing has nested or deposits have not formed in the flue. Additionally, the exterior of the chimney should be inspected for possible point up and to inspect the masonry cap. Cracks and/or voids can allow water into the house causing water damage.
Bathtubs and Showers
- Maintenance Recommendation: Inspect caulking twice a year.
- Much like the caulking on the exterior of your home, the life of the interior caulking at bathtubs, showers, sinks and backsplashes is greatly impacted by the amount of use and/or exposure. Voids in the caulking are common maintenance items that can lead to floods if not monitored and corrected. Twice a year, all bathroom caulking should be inspected and touched up as necessary.
Showerheads and Faucet Screens
- Maintenance Recommendation: Clean once a year or as necessary for the most used fixtures.
- Even with a water cleaning system, it is possible for deposits to build up in showerheads and faucet screens. It is recommended that you inspect shower heads and clean them as necessary. Additionally, screens in faucets should be inspected at a minimum of once a year to keep them flowing properly.
- Maintenance Recommendation: Once a year, or as recommended by manufacturer.
- All appliances require some level of maintenance to continue efficient operation. A few examples are vacuuming the refrigerator and ice maker condenser coils and cleaning the screens on your range hood. Please refer to the manufacturer’s literature for specific maintenance and cleaning instructions for ALL of your appliances. (including your, refrigerator, oven, ice maker, garbage disposals, dishwasher, range hood, instant hot water heaters, etc.)
A regular schedule of home maintenance is critical to keeping your home healthy and family safe all year long. These baseline preventative maintenance steps should help to ensure your home’s interior stays in top shape.