|Home Care & Ownership Tips
Four Times Better: Quarterly Home Maintenance
In this series of articles, Ownersite Technologies looks at the tedious, but necessary, and wise art of home maintenance. The articles provide an in-depth examination of what you can do on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, biannual, and annual basis so that you leave no stone or unturned or repair left behind. All of these tips are geared at helping you maximize the value, reliability, and safety of your home. Of course, these are just general guidelines and many may not be applicable for your particular property. Home maintenance can vary based on the age, location, type of use, and materials used.
You have just got up to speed on the weekly and monthly maintenance items and now here is the hardest part of all: remembering which tasks fall into the category of four times a year. While some people align their quarterly maintenance by the season (and be sure to review our articles on fall, winter, spring, and summer maintenance records), there are some tips here that transcend the seasons and could be tackled at any point in the year.
Divide and Conquer the Quarterly Checklist
Quarterly tasks fall into work that should be completed every three months or so, depending on the age and state of your home.
- Inspect the interior and exterior of the chimney. Trouble spots include deteriorating bricks and mortar as well as signs of leaks and critter dwellings, such as birds, nests, squirrels, and insects. Any visible identification of these issues could mean scheduling the help of professionals.
- Maintain weather-stripping and caulking around all doors and windows. All areas that show their age – holes and cracks – need a definite facelift. This could mean laying down new weather-stripping or digging out hard caulking so that new material can fill in the cracks.
- Clean faucets and shower heads. While this was suggested in the monthly task article, that maintenance schedule would primarily be for those areas of the country that suffer with the effects of hard water. Calcium build-up leads to reduced water pressure so it’s best to use vinegar or a special cleaner to keep these clean. At the same time, it is best to look for leaks, clean aerators, re-caulk, and replace washers, as necessary.
- Examine the homes exterior walls. What you are looking for is primarily dependent on the type of materials used in the construction of your home – brick, stucco, siding, etc. Problem areas include deteriorating brick and mortar, damaged or cracked siding or stucco, and dry rot. Also look at the condition of the paint to see if the house is in need of touch-ups, such as peeling accent pieces, or it is really screaming for an entire coat.
- Peer into the royal thrones, a.k.a., the toilets. Don’t stick your head in that far but really just look around to inspect for any leaks or lack of stability. For instance, it is easy to install a new wax ring and re-caulk the toilet so it does sway back and forth when you sit down.
- Inspect the water heater. It is important to take care of any leaks right away because bigger issues could arise if the device is left in disrepair. Wrap the water heater with insulation if you are in a particularly cold area or check that the earthquake straps are in good shape. Also, if you live in an area known for hard water, drain 1-2 gallons on a quarterly basis to reduce calcium build-up in the tank.
- Check the plumbing shut-off valves. These valves need to open and close property so that they can be shut off in case of an emergency or natural disaster.
- Lubricate all the hardware. To keep all doors in their best shape, it is important to pay attention to the hardware that holds it all together and allows for free and easy movement. All door hinges should be lubricated with light household oil, such as WD-40.
- Look at all window and sliding door tracks. To keep the windows and sliding doors moving, all tracks and sills should be clear of dust, dirt, and other debris. Any rollers should be lubricates while all weep holes should be kept clear to operate properly during the rainy season.
Other areas that might need to be considered for quarterly maintenance include the following:
- Clean the swimming pool filter completely, including removing the grids from inside the filter, spraying them off, and adding sand or diatomaceous earth back into the filtering system.
- Vacuum under the refrigerator and dust condenser.
- Turn mattresses over.
- Check operation of water pump, sump pump, or septic tank.
- Adjust automatic sprinkler times.
- Fertilize your grass and reseed, as necessary.
Setting Up a Plan of Attack
While the list may seem like a formidable task, no one said you have to do it all at once! The best plan of attack is to set out a schedule of weekend projects that can be spread over the three months in that quarter so you do not feel so overwhelmed. You can also discuss the list with your family or roommates to see who might be able to create a digestible division of labor so that you can fly through the responsibilities.
You will have to decide if you complete these tasks yourself, get assistance, or hand them over to someone who is better qualified (see our article on DIY versus hiring a professional). Primarily, the decision would be based on time, finances, skill, and safety.
Paging Homeowner: Your Quarterly Maintenance Tasks Have Arrived!
With all the things you are balancing in your life – work, family, and relationships – it may be a major feat that you can remember what you have on your agenda for tomorrow let alone what type of home maintenance projects are on the docket for this quarter of the year.
An online maintenance schedule provides a more relevant service than just using some sort of computer software because it follows you wherever you go in terms of accessibility through a PDA, cell phone, or computer. A Web maintenance schedule also allows you to share it with others – hopefully, all those other pairs of hands that are willing to help – or to serve as a reminder about another property, such as your child’s dorm or apartment or a tenant-inhabited property. The e-mail alerts help everyone to stay on top of the tasks – both big and small – that help your home looking and feeling like new.
Ownersite Technologies is happy to offer a free 30-day trial of Home Ownersite, the comprehensive, web-based tool that simplifies home inventories and recordkeeping. With plans starting at only $29.95 per year, Home Ownersite is the perfect tool to manage the complete ownership lifecycle for your home and valuables. To start your free, no-obligation trial or to review the different plans available, please click here.