Maintaining Your Home


After you have moved into your new home, there are some maintenance and safety issues that should be addressed immediately and some that will should be performed on a regular basis. The following checklist should help you have a better understanding of the things that you need to perform to maintain your home:



  • Change the locks on all exterior entrances, for improved security.  Security rods can be added to sliding windows and doors.  For your peace mind consider having a security system installed.
  • Check that all windows and doors are secure.
  • Install smoke detectors on each level of the home in accordance with NFPA requirements.  Ensure that there is a smoke detector inside all sleeping areas.  Replace batteries on any existing smoke detectors and test them.  Replace the batteries when you adjust your clock for daylight savings time. Some newer detectors have long life (10 years) batteries, always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. 
  • Create a plan of action in the event of a fire in your home. Pick a meeting location outside of the house for everyone to go to.  Ensure that there is an operable window or door in every room of the house. 
  • If window security bars are installed they should be easily opened and not locked. 
  • Know the location of the main shut-offs for the plumbing, heating and electrical systems. 


  • Check driveways and walkways for trip hazards.  Perform repairs when necessary. 
  • Check the interior of the home for trip hazards.  Loose or torn carpeting and flooring should be repaired. 
  • Perform repairs to all stairways, decks, porches and landings where there is a risk of falling or stumbling.
  • Check heating/cooling air filters and replace or clean them then when the heating/cooling system is in use (at least once a month). Inspect and clean humidifiers and electronic air cleaners. 
  • Replace or clean exhaust hood filters according to the manufacture’s recommendations. 
  • Clean, inspect and/or service all appliances as per the manufacturer's recommendations.
  • Carefully inspect the condition of shower enclosures.  Repair or replace deteriorated grout and caulk to ensure that water is not escaping the enclosure during showering. 
  • Promptly repair leaking faucets. 
  • Check under sinks for leaking drain pipes and promptly repair any leaks to help prevent damage to the cabinet.
  • Check cabinet door locking mechanisms. Stored household cleaners and soaps in kitchen and bathroom cabinets can be an attraction to small children, keep them secure and out of their reach.
  • Check your toilets, make sure they are secure to the floor, and repair flush mechanisms that become troublesome.
  • Test all ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) devices.


  • Examine the roof for evidence of damage to roof coverings, flashings and chimneys
  • Trim back tree branches and shrubs to ensure that they are not in contact with the house.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts.  Ensure that downspouts are secure, and that the discharge of the downspouts is appropriate. 
  • Check and clean out basement window wells. 
  • Watch for bird nests or other vermin or insect activity.   
  • Paint and repair window sills and frames as necessary. 
  • Shut off isolating valves for exterior hose bibs in the fall, if below freezing temperatures are anticipated. 
  • Test the overhead garage door opener, to ensure that the auto-reverse mechanism is responding properly.  Clean and lubricate hinges, rollers and tracks on overhead doors. 


  • Clean windows and test their operation.  Improve caulking and weather-stripping as necessary.  Watch for evidence of rot in wood window frames. 
  • Have the heating, cooling and water heater systems cleaned and serviced.  .  "Examine the electrical panels, wiring and electrical components for evidence of overheating.  Ensure that all components are secure.  Flip the breakers on and off to ensure that they are not sticky.  "If the house utilizes a well, check and service the pump and holding tank.  Have the water quality tested. 


  • If the property has a septic system (cesspool), have the tank inspected (and pumped as needed). 
  • Have chimneys inspected and cleaned.  Ensure that rain caps and vermin screens are secure
  • If your home is in an area prone to wood destroying insects (termites, carpenter ants, etc.), have the home inspected by a licensed specialist.  Preventative treatments may be recommended in some cases.
  • Look at overhead wires coming to the house.  They should be secure and clear of trees or other obstructions.

These are just a few suggestions to help you maintain your home. Things happen, preventative maintenance and prompt attention to repairs is the best way to keep your house in great shape.  It also helps reduce the risk of unexpected repairs.