Your property is often an amazing investment. But unlike an apartment, there is a lot you need to remember in order to make sure that every part of your home is operating efficiently. Many of the appliances, the materials used in construction, and more, need to be inspected, cleaned, or tuned up often – sometimes annually – and if you’re new to home ownership, it’s possible that you may not be aware of all the many forms of maintenance that your property needs.
The following is not a comprehensive list, as the larger your home, the more maintenance it probably requires. However, here are some examples of annual, semi-annual, or biannual home maintenance services that you should probably consider.
Examples of Regular Home Maintenance
- Draining Your Water Heater – One of the most forgotten forms of home maintenance is draining your water heater. Every year, it is important to make sure that a professional plumber comes to drain you water heater in order to remove some of the sediment that fills up in the bottom and leads to clogs. Draining a water heater annually ensures that it will continue to operate in the long term. Failing to drain a water heater not only can lead to clogs, but over time it may become impossible to drain because the sediment hardens. When this happens, plumbers typically tell property owners to wait until their water heater dies and replace it.
- Cleaning Your Gutters – Cleaning your gutters is supposed to happen twice a year. Most property owners forget to have it completed at all, or only do it once a year, or clean out the gutters themselves but do not do a gutter downspout drainage system check. Gutters can withstand a lot of abuse, but the risks associated with clogged gutters – especially in areas like New York City that can get very cold in winter – can be substantial and expensive, so semi-annual gutter cleaning remains extremely important.
- Roof Cleaning/Inspection – Similarly, at least once a year, you should have your roof cleaned and inspected. When buildup happens upon a roof – for example a small clump of leaves gathers on your shingles – it is at risk for developing mold, mildew, pests that may eat away at your asphalt, and more. Small issues can quickly become big issues. Annual roof cleaning dramatically extends the lifespan of the roof itself, reduces the frequency of roof repairs, and can even prevent pests. Make sure you also get a roof inspection as well.
- Clean Out the Dryer Vent – Another home maintenance task that is easy to forget is cleaning out your dryer vent. Lint frequently flows through your dryer vent. Over time, that lint can get stuck and lead to buildup. Lint is highly flammable, and so if too much lint builds up in the dryer vent it can lead to a risk of fire. Dryer vents are expected to be cleaned annually, and there are many companies available locally that offer this service.
- Sewer System Checks – Though most experts recommend this service every 3 to 5 years, you may want to consider this service biannually if you have a very old home or you’ve had problems with your sewer before. Sewer lines can become clogged. They can chip and break. They can have plants growing in them, and more. If a clog happens it can be extensive, gross, and devastating to your property depending on the location of your drain cleanout. Some form of regular inspection, even if you don’t have sewer problems, is a good idea.
- Gas Line Inspection – Here in NYC, gas line inspections are required for all residential property owners that have buildings that house more than four units as part of Local Law 152. But just because inspections are not required for single family homes and residential properties with fewer than 3 units doesn’t mean they should be ignored. Gas line inspections are a useful tool for preventing severe and dangerous problems, and should be completed only by a licensed master plumber.
- Attic Insulation Check and Attic Inspection – Attic insulation luckily can be quite long lasting. But the problem is that most people do not inspect their attic at all. That means that when there is a problem it can go unnoticed for years. Having a professional check your attic’s insulation can help you ensure that you maintain your energy efficiency, can help you determine if there is any mold that could lead to breathing or health issues, and can even help you catch a pest problem before it gets out of hand.
- Radon Testing – Radon testing is not considered urgent in Staten Island or the rest of NYC, but it’s still a smart test to consider at least once and then talk to the radon tester to see if you need this biannually or every 5 years. Radon is a radioactive gas that leads to lung cancer, and in theory almost every home is at risk for radon. We are a lower risk here than other places, but it may be good to have at least one test before determining how often to test in the future.
- Chimney Cleaning – It’s very easy to forget a chimney cleaning, but very important to get it completed. Chimneys gather soot and creosote, which are a fire risk. Once a year cleaning is absolutely critical to extend the lifespan of the chimney, reduce the cost of future repairs (creosote becomes more expensive to remove the longer it is ignored) and prevent very serious fire risk.
- Siding Maintenance – Many people think that siding doesn’t require cleaning. But that is not the case at all. Siding should be power washed regularly. The exact frequency depends on the siding type and the level of buildup. Once every two years is fine if the siding is clean, and twice a year if the siding gets easily dirty (some type of siding requires more frequent cleanings).
There are also several forms of maintenance that you may know about, but may also forget. For example, your HVAC is meant to be serviced twice a year. You should also receive termite inspections regularly, although these are likely handled by your pest control company and may be part of your monthly plan.
Maintenance, Repairs and Beyond
Owning a home is a great investment, and having a place to call your own can be an incredible joy. But owning a home does come with responsibilities to try to make sure every component of your home keeps operating properly.
If you’d like a printout of this list, you can use the PDF below and print it out so that you remember different home maintenance items that you may otherwise forget
There are some blank spaces to add other maintenance that you may need depending on your home. It is not an exhaustive list.