• Home maintenance checklist — add your ideas to make our list complete

    home maintenanceYup, it’s that time of year: The HVAC guys came by last week to service the furnace. There’$ been lot$ of other repair and maintenance activity, too, while we bundle up the hou$e for the long winter ahead. This morning I wrote about the definition of a “granny ranch” — that’s a house that’s been impeccably maintained. The Noble Granny Ranch. You can create one, too: You *just* gotta stay on top of all your home repair and seasonal maintenance issues. Fortunately, I recently bumped into what looks to be a pretty good home maintenance checklist — things you would do seasonally. Maybe you have a few more items to suggest we add?

    Of course: Consult with properly licensed professionals regarding how to maintain the various features in your particular house, readers. Consider the ideas in this Excel checklist, plus any ideas that come in from readers, as a starting point on researching what needs to be done in your own particular house and circumstance, and consult with properly licensed professionals as required.

    The checklist is right in your Excel templates. I’m not going to attach the download because I’m not sure about copyright on a document like this. But it’s super easy to get it:

    • Simply go to Excelopen New… type the words ‘home maintenance schedule‘ into the search box, and the checklist will come right up. After you download it and take a look, I’d love to hear from you:

    Readers, what do you think of this checklist?
    Are there key items that you think are missing?

    home maintenance schedule

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    Comments

    1. This is a comprehensive list and good for a first time homebuyer. You have to always be on the lookout for potential problems. I always try to keep the shrubbery away from the house but due to health issues this past spring/summer was unable to keep up with the yardwork. Recently a mouse family moved in for the winter so I started looking for entrypoints and discovered that where the TV cables enter down at the foundation were no longer sealed and because they were behind shrubbery, were not readily visible. Check your exterior walls where any wires penetrate for complete tight seal. Ck electical, telephone, TV and utility metering cables at point of entry, several times a year.

      • This is a good point Jay — we had this problem when we first bought our house. The previous owners hadn’t trimmed any of the shrubs or trees in 17+ years. We had to remove all the shrubs all the way around the house as they were all horribly out of control and growing up against the house. It was a big job — and once it was done it was much easier to inspect our brick for areas in need of tuck pointing as well as points of entry for mice and other unwanted guests.

        • Kate, Oh yes, been there, done that. The shrubery was so huge and thick against the house when I moved in that the bedroom windows were obscured. I had everything removed, someone could have easily hidden behind them. This was shrubery/perennials I let get out of hand myself. Houses need to breathe.

    2. Elle Marie says:

      I noticed that the list is specific to houses with a furnace and/or forced air system – if you have baseboard heat (whether electric baseboard or other fuel source), the units should be visually inspected for debris and vacuumed as needed prior to turning on the heat for the first time. Radiator heat should be inspected annually, and individual radiators re-balanced and/or bled as necessary in the fall, to hopefully avoid banging radiators. (This should be included under plumbing maintenance, technically!)

      • pam kueber says:

        Thanks, Elle Marie! Hey, I feel compelled to put my standard Precautionary Pam out there: Consult with properly licensed professionals regarding how to maintain the various features in your particular house, readers.

      • Diane in CO says:

        Our 1936 home has a boiler, no “furnace.” Very important to know how to maintain it, check water levels, blow it down weekly. I’ve never been sure if it is steam or actual hot water (think it’s steam) which circulates upstairs through the “radiators” (not your standard fare radiators, but a metal appartus recessed into the walls with a decorative grill and plate fastened over the recess). Those radiators have a release valve which gets noisy and steamy when it wears out. Then the valve must be replaced. Betcha not many of you have THAT system….

        We have the original 1936 notebook of specs from the builder of our home, G.M. Smedegaard, and his homes were considered to have several innovative features, one of which was the recessed-in-the-wall heat. (And Batchelder tiles). There are five of his homes on our block.

        One of my decorating problems has been that most of these “radiators” are beneath a window. Where I have drapes, one cannot close them when the heat is on — so if we want darkness in our bedroom at night (neighbors’ light pollution!) we shut down the heat — even in the coldest days of January!!

        Have to just make your house “work” for how you want to function in it, right?

        • pam kueber says:

          What a fabulous house you have! And so cool to have the materials from 1936. And Batchelder tiles!

          • Diane in CO says:

            Not so cool to have most of the original 1936 plumbing infrastructure! Also, some cracks in hall and bath tiles. Lots of “corners of horror” (DH’s term) though we have fixed a lot of things over many years.

            Luckily in 1990 it hadn’t been remuddled much (love that term) :-) Do have ’80′s kitchen – now in RR planning phase.

            p.s. did have to replace that boiler about 2 years ago and I’m here to tell ya – a lot more expensive than a furnace!

            • Sounds like you have the original 36 boiler, no one has to blow down a hot water system these days. Sounds like you do have steam as opposed to hot water heat but either type of radiator is placed under a window, so it’s still a window treatment issue. you have a very elegant style of placement. Most cast iron radiators were placed in front of the wall in full view. Hence the popularity of venetian blinds and radiator covers.

        • Some houses in my city (Lansing) had radiators (not recessed) fed by a central steam production station. The steam was piped to the houses, so no one had to have their own boiler. Downtown you can still see steam rising from the manholes, so some of the homes/buildings must still use it.

        • Diane in CO,
          I had same problem with electric baseboard heat in an apartment. We had drapes that were mostly used in the summer to cut down on heat gain and in the guest room when no one was in it.
          The solution we found was room darkening shades to pull down. We were able to close off view from outside looking in and not block the heat. I wonder if my mom’s old fiberglass curtains (1960′s) would be safe? :)

          rick

        • Sounds like you have recessed steam convectors. That was the height of technology at the time, they were introduced by Trane in the early 20′s. I have something similar, they are recessed in the walls and hidden by a wooden panel with a register higher up to create a convective cycle.

    3. Shoot…don’t have Excel.

      • Erin in Ohio says:

        Although some Excel-specific features are often lost when importing to google docs, I think it copied over pretty cleanly –

    4. “The Noble Granny Ranch” – Love this.

      Pam, Enjoy your blog as much for your delightful writing style as I do for retro “stuff”.

    5. I think it is easier to just use an online tool like http://www.homespothq.com. Aside from the maintenance template, email reminders are sent out and a home history is recorded.

    6. For those of us with fireplaces, be sure to have those cleaned/inspected. When I had mine done, the chimney sweep told me it was the best built fireplace he had ever seen! :)

    7. Can’t get to the checklist, sadly, but I’d put “Check Smoke Detectors” near the top of my list for the fall season.

    8. Could be modified to use as a pre-purchase check list.

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