HOME MAINTENANCE

If you live in the Colorado Springs area (Palmer Lake to Fountain, and Woodland Park to Peyton) you can receive a free home maintenance schedule magnet! This magnet is a summary of the information on this page. 

Magnets are available for $4 if you live outside of the Colorado Springs area.

Magnet Requests

Regular maintenance is important for the longevity of any structure. A little maintenance can go a long way. For example, spending a couple of hours and a few dollars per year maintaining the gutters and downspouts has the potential of saving you thousands of dollars in foundation repairs (read below to learn more).

This list is not comprehensive, but is a good start to your home maintenance schedule!

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JANUARY

  • Check sinks, toilets, and fixtures/valves for leaks. Buildings, and components within, naturally move with use and with thermal expansion and contraction, so it is important to ensure that there are no water leaks that develop over time!

 

FEBRUARY

  • Clean exhaust vent grills and fridge or freezer coils. Kitchen and bathroom exhaust vents accumulate dust and debris over time and require regular cleaning to properly function. Refrigerator and freezer coils move a lot of air over them for normal operation. When these coils become dirty the appliance will need to run longer which can lead to increased energy consumption and shorten the lifespan of the appliance.

 

MARCH

  • Clean or replace air filters and water filters. Many people change their furnace filter once a year, and sometimes even less frequently. The longest a furnace filter should be in service is 3 months. This ensures that the furnace is able to operate at its peak efficiency and provides clean air within the home. A dirty air filter can lead to cold rooms, allergies, and significantly higher energy bills. Water softeners and other filters require periodic maintenance. Refer to the manufacturer's instructions for more information. 

 

APRIL

  • Clean lint from outdoor dryer vents. Dryer vents should never be obstructed my screens or louvers as these rapidly collect lint from the dryer which can lead to poor performance of the dryer and is a fire hazard. Gas dryers with a blocked vent also can cause high levels of carbon monoxide within the home. Even dryer vents without screens or louvers can have lint accumulate, so it is important to regularly clean dryer vents to help ensure maximum safety and performance of the dryer. 

 

MAY

  • Uncover, test, and service air conditioning systems. Due to the nature of air conditioning systems, they must not be started up for the season if the weather is below 65 degrees or damage to the compressor could result.

  • Start up and service outdoor plumbing. To start up outdoor plumbing, simply close all drain valves or air relief valves and open up the water valves. We recommend inspecting all outdoor plumbing to ensure it has not been damaged in winter and that there are no leaks. For irrigation systems, engage each zone to test that there are no leaks and that all sprinklers are functioning as intended. 

  • Check sump pumps. Sump pumps are very important devices for protecting the integrity of the foundation and limiting excess humidity. Pumps have a limited service lifespan, and pumps which are poorly installed, or which receive a lot of silt and sediment, will have much shorter lifespans. Check sump pits for sediment and clean out the pit if necessary. Lift the float on the pump to check if the pump turns on. If it does not, or if the pump is in poor shape or making excessive noise it should be replaced. Sump pump pits are typically found in basements and crawlspaces, though are occasionally located outside the structure. 

  • Check property drainage. While sump pumps are very important, they are only a second line of defense in protecting the foundation from water; the first line of defense is preventing water from collecting near the foundation in the first place. This is accomplished with proper drainage. Check the yard to ensure it does not slope toward the foundation in any areas, and that downspouts discharge at least 6 feet away from the structure. 

  • Test Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) and Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) devices at receptacles and service panels. To test one of these devices, simply press the test button. If the Reset button pops out (for wall devices) or the switch lever flips to the center position (for service panel breaker devices), and power is disconnected, then the device is functioning as intended. If the device will not reset, or power will not restore, then the device is faulty and must be replaced. We recommend the services from a professional electrician to replace these devices. 

 

JUNE

  • Clean or replace air filters.

  • Check and service garage doors and openers. Make sure there are no loose or broken components in the system as this can cause the door to become stuck or lead to damage. Lubricate rollers and the chain to help ensure system performance and reduce excess noise.

 

JULY

  • Flush or descale water heating systems. Water heaters are an often neglected part of the home. TANKED WATER HEATERS: Water heater tanks should be regularly flushed to remove sediment and contaminants. This can improve water quality, heating efficiency, and lifespan of the water heater. While the tank is depressurized for flushing, now is a great time to check the condition of the anode, or "sacrificial rod", which deteriorates to prevent the tank from deteriorating. Once this rod is eroded the tank will begin to degrade. With regular flushing and replacement of the anode, water heaters can have their service lifespan greatly increased. TANKLESS WATER HEATERS: While tankless water heaters offer some benefits over tanked water heaters, such as unlimited hot water, constant water temperatures, and longer service lifespans, they do require vigilant maintenance to avoid problems throughout the hot water system. Heating water causes minerals and sediment to fall out of solution and accumulate. In a tanked water heater these solids fall to the bottom of the tank and typically do not make it downstream in the water system. Tankless water heaters do not have this benefit, so solids will travel downstream and will accumulate at faucets and valves. If the hot water system is not regularly descaled, valves can fail and faucets can become blocked and useless.

  • Seal gaps in outdoor siding and paint damaged areas. Gaps can form in siding from movement in the structure due to settling or heaving, wind, or thermal expansion. Since water is an incredibly destructive force, it is very important to ensure the "building envelope" is water resistant. This includes sealing all gaps and joins between dissimilar siding materials, and painting all unpainted or damaged areas. Regular maintenance of the siding can help ensure your home will last for a long time to come. 

 

AUGUST

  • Check roof for leaks or damage. In many parts of the country it is normal for a roof to last 20 to 30 years. Unfortunately in Colorado we are not afforded that luxury due to the extreme rain, wind, and hail that many parts of our great state receive. It is not uncommon for a roof to need to be replaced after just 5 years. Since roof lifetimes can be drastically shortened it is important to keep a close eye on the condition of the roof. If you are uncomfortable or not able to go on the roof, we strongly recommend the services of a professional roofing contractor.

  • Clean chimneys. While you are up inspecting the roof, now is a good time to clean all wood-burning fireplace chimneys before the cold weather sets in! If you are uncomfortable, or unable to go on the roof or reach the chimneys, we strongly recommend the services of a professional chimney sweep.

  • Check attic fans for proper operation. Powered attic fans are a great way to help control temperature and humidity in attics. Lower attic temperatures can also prolong the service lifespan of the roofing materials, so keeping these fans in good working order is important. If your house does not have an attic fan one can usually be installed in a few hours.

 

SEPTEMBER

  • Clean or replace air filters and water filters.

  • Trim trees and bushes away from structures and utilities. Vegetation can cause damage to structures and utilities from wind, falling branches, or even from holding moisture against the structure. Trees should not overhang any roofs and all vegetation should be at least 12 inches away from structures to prevent moisture buildup. Large trees within about 25 feet of structures can cause damage to the foundation from root growth. We recommend the services of a professional tree trimming company.

 

OCTOBER

October is a busy maintenance month with all the preparations for winter and fire safety, but don't worry, you can do it! Just take care of a couple items per week.

  • Clean gutters and downspouts. Water is typically the number one enemy of a structure so it is very important for the gutters and downspouts to function properly. Clogged gutters or downspouts can lead to a number of issues such as overflowing, which will cause water to collect near the foundation and could lead to settling of the structure, potentially resulting in thousands of dollars of damage; or erosion, which can cause holes or joints in the gutters to fail, again leading to water collecting near the foundation. Severely neglected gutters can cause rot to the fascia board, or even allow plants or trees to begin growing in the gutters!

  • Winterize outdoor plumbing. Irrigation systems, outdoor sinks, or faucets which are not freeze-proof must have the water turned off and drained from them to avoid damage.

  • Test and service heating and humidification systems. Since most furnaces and humidifiers see little to no use during the summer, they may require maintenance and service to operate properly. Since fall is a time that most heating systems require maintenance or replacement, labor fees can be higher than usual. A good time to save money is to have heating systems serviced in the summer months. 

  • Cover outdoor air conditioning systems. Covering the external portions of air conditioning systems, when not in use, will limit exposure to the elements, and can increase reliability and service lifespan. Remember to switch your thermostat to "Heat", away from "Cool" or "Auto" to prevent the system from engaging while it is covered!

  • Check windows and doors for leaks. Window panes can crack, and seals can break. It is normal for a small amount of water to enter the bottom track of a window, but if large amounts of water are present, if water is present on the sill or running down walls, or if there is condensation between the panes of glass then the window is in need of service! The weatherstripping around doors are prone to damage, and doors can shift over time. It is important for windows and doors to maintain their thermal and environmental seals to prevent wasting energy and damage to the structure.

  • Clean, test, and replace batteries in carbon monoxide alarms and smoke alarms. Carbon monoxide alarms and smoke alarms are another often neglected part of a house. Fortunately these devices require little maintenance. Batteries should be replaced once a year, and they should be vacuumed to remove dust and debris which can decrease performance or lead to an increase in false alarms. Keep in mind that carbon monoxide alarms and smoke alarms both have a limited lifespan and must be replaced regularly! Standard carbon monoxide alarms must be replaced at least every 7 years, though certain models can be replaced at late as 10 years. Smoke alarms of all types must be replaced at least every 10 years! Check these devices and replace them no later than 7 or 10 years from the manufacture date listed. Since the inclusion of a date of manufacture has been a requirement for more than 10 years, if your device does not have a date of manufacture listed on it, then it is far too old and must be replaced! Remember to never paint, alter, disable, or obstruct a carbon monoxide alarm or smoke alarm!

  • Check fire extinguishers. Most fire extinguishers have a visual gauge or a test button to determine if the tank still is charged. For the gauge type, ensure the needle is in the indicated "full" or "OK" area, if it is in a red or "replace" area then the extinguisher must be recharged or replaced. For the button variety, depress the test button. If the button quickly and fully pops up then the tank is charged. If the button returns slowly or not at all then the tank must be recharged or replaced. Fire extinguishers are designed with a one-time seal. Never use a fire extinguisher to test it! Using the extinguisher will pierce this seal and the charge will dissipate over a period of time and it may not function in the event of an emergency. 

 

NOVEMBER

  • Check radon mitigation system monitors and fans. While radon mitigation systems typically require little to no upkeep, it is important to ensure they are functioning as intended. If the system fan fails, or if the system loses vacuum, then the radon levels within the home are likely to return to the same levels before the system was installed. Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends testing homes with mitigation systems every 2 years to ensure the system is still functioning properly, and testing homes without radon mitigation systems every 5 years to ensure that a system is installed in the rare event that radon levels become elevated in the future. Click here to learn why you should have your home tested for radon. Radon testing is a service we offer! Contact us to have your home tested for radon.

 

DECEMBER

  • ​​​​​Clean/replace air filters. By now you know the drill!

  • Refill low drain traps. Drain traps are designed for a small amount of water to collect to create a barrier which prevents sewer gasses from entering the home. Water will evaporate from these traps over time, so unused drains need to be refilled periodically to maintain this barrier. Traps in laundry rooms, basements, and utility rooms are typically rarely, if ever used, and will require periodic maintenance. Simply pour 1 quart of water into the drain and the trap will be refilled!

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