Whether you only own a personal home or you own rental homes, you should be concerned about proper home maintenance.  Failure to diligently monitor a home can lead to costly damages over time.  If you have tenants, it can also lead to unhappy tenants who move out thus leaving you to foot the bill until the home is rented again.

1. Keep all wood on the exterior of the home painted. Failure to keep these areas painted will lead to softness and deterioration.

2. Make sure the dirt around your foundation properly slopes away from the foundation and not towards it.  Fill in any holes around the foundation and if necessary, add dirt backfill around the foundation to ensure that water drains away from the home and not into a basement or crawl space.

3. Keep your gutters free of leaves and debris.  Failure to do so can allow water to back up in the gutters and overflow which could lead to water penetration into your home.

4. Check all windows and doors for gaps and seal them with a weather proof sealant to prevent water penetration.  Failure to keep these areas sealed can also lead to water intrusion and serious damage.

5. Inspect any trees in your yard for dead limbs or limbs that may be hanging down.  Also keep an eye of the base of your trees.  Any that are rotted at the bottom need to be removed before they fall on your house or a neighbor's house.

6. Monitor your roof for damaged or missing shingles.  You should be especially vigilant after bad storms and high winds.  Damaged or missing shingles can allow water penetration.

7. Have your chimney inspected and cleaned as needed at least once a year.  It doesn't take much creosote to cause a fire.

8. Have the heating and air conditioning system cleaned and inspected at least once a year.  Also remember to change filters monthly.  This will allow the system to run more efficiently and will place less wear and tear on it.  Keep all vegetation cleared away from the exterior air conditioning unit to allow for proper air flow and function.

9. If you have a crawl space, you need to enter this area at least once a year and check.  Look at the walls and the plumbing for signs of leaking. A musty smell in the home, higher than normal water bills and puddles on the floor of the crawl space can be indicators of a problem.  If this area has standing water in it, do not enter it.  Call a professional contractor to get rid of the water and figure out what the problem is.

10. If you have ground fault circuit interrupters in the receptacles in your home, they must be tested or tripped on a monthly basis or they may not function properly.  Failure to trip them regularly will result in ground fault circuit interrupters that either will not trip or will not reset after they are tripped. This should be part of routine home maintenance.

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