Preventative maintenance is crucial for maintaining the integrity and longevity of a property. Landlords and homeowners alike should make a habit of conducting regular inspections and repairs to keep their properties in good condition. Here are some key preventative maintenance tasks that should be done on a regular basis.
- Clean or Replace Air Filters: It’s recommended to check the air filters once a month and replace them every three to six months, depending on the usage and the type of filter.
- Inspect Ductwork for Leaks: Leaks in the ductwork can lead to energy inefficiency, as well as health concerns due to the circulation of contaminated air. Have an HVAC professional do annual inspections and cleaning of ductwork.
- Service Furnace or Boiler: A professional technician should inspect the furnace or boiler, clean the burners, check the flu and test the safety controls.
- Check and Clean Air Conditioning Coils: Over time, air conditioning coils become dirty and clogged with dust and debris, reducing efficiency and causing the system to work harder. Check and clean coils once a year.
- Inspect Pipes and Faucets for Leaks: Leaks can occur due to corrosion, wear and tear, or freezing and thawing. Leaks not only waste water but can also cause damage to the property and create a breeding ground for mold and mildew.
- Check Water Pressure: Low water pressure can cause problems with appliances, such as dishwashers and washing machines, while high water pressure can cause leaks and damage to pipes and fixtures. Water pressure should be between 40 and 60 psi (pounds per square inch).
- Flush Water Heater: Sediment can accumulate in the tank and settle at the bottom, reducing the amount of hot water available and increasing the risk of leaks and corrosion. Water heaters should be flushed at least once a year. A plumber can perform this service.
- Service Septic or Sewage System: A professional technician should inspect the septic or sewage system, pump out the tank, check the drain field, and test the system for leaks or blockages.
- Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Smoke detectors should be tested monthly by pressing the test button and listening for the alarm. Carbon monoxide detectors should be tested annually by pressing the test button and listening for the alarm. Batteries should be replaced as needed, and detectors should be replaced every 10 years.
- Inspect Wiring and Outlets: Wiring and outlets should be inspected for any signs of wear, damage, or overheating. Frayed wires and damaged outlets should be repaired or replaced as necessary.
- Test Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI): GFCIs should be tested monthly by pressing the test button and listening for the alarm. GFCIs should be replaced if they do not function properly or if they are older than 10 years.
- Check Main Electrical Panel for Damage or Wear: The main electrical panel should be checked for any signs of damage, wear, or overheating. Loose connections or damaged breakers should be repaired immediately.
- Inspect for Missing or Damaged Shingles: Shingles should be inspected for any missing or damaged ones. Missing or damaged shingles can lead to leaks, and can also cause the roof to become structurally unsound.
- Check for Leaks: Leaks should be repaired using materials that match the existing roofing, and that are suitable for the climate and the type of roof.
- Inspect Gutters and Downspouts: Gutters and downspouts should be inspected for any signs of damage, wear, or clogging in order to prevent water damage.
- Inspect Flashing Around Vents, Chimneys, and Skylights: Flashing should be inspected for any signs of damage, wear, or corrosion. Any damages or corrosion should be repaired or replaced as necessary. Otherwise, leaks can occur that can lead to structural damage or mold growth.
- Inspect Siding and Paint for Damage or Wear: Siding and paint should be inspected for any damage or wear due to weather, insects, or age.
- Check Windows and Doors for Proper Operation and Seal: Windows and doors should be checked for proper operation and seal for security reasons and also for conditioned air retention to control energy use.
- Inspect Decks and Patios for Structural Integrity: Any loose boards, railings, or steps should be repaired or replaced as necessary to prevent possible accidents.
- Check for Any Signs of Termite or Pest Damage: Termites and other pests can cause significant damage to a property if left unchecked. Look for any signs of frass (sawdust-like material), mud tubes, or holes in the wood. Any signs of termite or pest damage should be addressed promptly by a professional exterminator.
- Check for Water Damage or Mold: Water damage can occur due to leaks, floods, or humidity, and can lead to mold growth and structural damage. Look for any signs of water stains, peeling paint, or musty odors.
- Inspect for Any Signs of Pest Infestation: Pests such as rodents, cockroaches, and ants can cause health and sanitation issues, as well as structural damage. Be on the lookout for signs of droppings, gnaw marks, or trails.
- Test All Appliances: All appliances should be tested regularly to ensure they are working properly and efficiently. This includes refrigerators, ovens, microwaves, washing machines, and dryers. Any appliances that are not working properly should be repaired or replaced as necessary to prevent possible fire damage.
- Inspect Ceilings, Walls, and Floors for Any Cracks or Damage: Ceilings, walls, and floors can become damaged due to wear, tear, or accidents. Look for any signs of cracks, holes, or stains, especially if your property is in an area where there are frequent earthquake or ground shifts.
By conducting these preventative maintenance tasks every year, landlords and homeowners can proactively address potential issues before they become major problems or jeopardize the health and safety of occupants.