Things Every Homeowner Should Know - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Things Every Homeowner Should Know

Prevention can solve larger problems later. Schedule once per month to do a

walkthrough & go through checklist. Know you limitations, this list may have items you

can perform yourself & identify items that you do not feel comfortable in doing but can

help guide you in getting the proper professional attention. Always know your limitations

& consult with a professional if you have any concerns or items that you do not have

experience with. This list is intended as a guide only & does not replace a professional

inspection or analysis.


Check for exposed wires and signs of wear in the fuse box. Mark each circuit so

you know what outlets or appliances are included on each.

Check places where wiring is exposed, such as the attic. Look for exposed wires and

wires with cracked insulation and make repairs as needed.

Check the attic to be sure that insulation or other material is not blocking free

air flow through attic vents.

Keep a fire extinguisher handy and in operating condition for use in the

kitchen and near any wood-burning stoves or fireplaces.

Keep flashlights handy and in operating condition.

Keep outside security lighting in good repair.


Fire Extinguisher: Check that it's fully charged; recharge or replace if needed.

Sink/Tub Stoppers and Drain Holes: Clean out debris.

Garbage Disposal: Flush with hot water and baking soda.

Clean and sharpen your garbage disposal by running a tray of ice cubes

Water Softener: Check water softener salt drum and replenish salt if necessary.

Forced-Air Heating System: Change filters once a month if user's manual

recommends fiberglass filters. (see Heating System Guidelines for intervals &

types of filters recommended).

If you have an energy recovery system (air exchange system), remember that

these filters also need to be cleaned or replaced.

Clean dirt and dust from around furnaces, air grills and ducts.

Test smoke alarms and other alarm systems at least monthly

Regularly clean out fireplace ash pit.

If you have ground circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in outlets near sinks, the laundry, and

the garage, check the GFCIs monthly and after an electric storm. Check your GFCIs

for proper operations by tripping the circuit interrupter buttons and then resetting

them. If they will not trip and reset, contact a licensed electrician

Flush all toilets and run water through all sinks, especially in bathrooms that are not

used on a regular basis.


Wall Furnace: Clean grills.

Range Hood: Clean grease filter.


Faucet: Clean aerator.

Tub Drain Assembly: Clean out debris; inspect rubber seal and replace if needed.

Floor and Outdoor Drain Grates: Clean out debris.

Check all ceilings and walls for cracks, loose or falling plaster, signs of leaks

or stains, dirt and finish damage.

Check for cracks where ceilings join walls and where moldings attach to

ceilings and walls.

Check for odor or visible evidence of mildew or mold.

Check for finish damage around cabinet pulls.

Examine all joints in ceramic tiles and laminated plastics for adequate


Check caulking around sinks, bathtubs and showers. Replace with long lasting

resilient caulking material as needed, such as silicone or latex.

Check all floors for wear and damage, particularly where one type of flooring material

meets another.

Check stairs for loose treads, handrails or carpeting.

Check faucet and hose connections under sinks and toilets. Look for leaks at

shut-off valves at sinks, toilets, laundry equipment and the main water shut-off


Clean your faucet aerators and inspect your plumbing for leaks.

Check that the water pressure is adequate and all drains run freely.

Check the exterior drainage conditions to ensure that nothing is causing water to

stand in puddles for more than 24 hours and that water from any source is not

draining toward your foundation.

Inspect, lubricate and clean all of your exterior vents. Make sure that air flows freely

and that each has an operable damper to prevent back flow of outside air and to

keep small animals from entering your home.

If you have a basement and it has a sump pump, check to make sure it is operating

properly, clean the pump screen and remove any soil buildup from the well.


Smoke Detector: Test batteries and replace if needed. Good reminder is every time

you set clock forward or back.

Toilet: Check for leaks and water run-on.

Garbage Disposal: Tighten drain connections and fasteners.

Clothes Washer: Clean water inlet filters; check hoses and replace them if they are


Clothes Dryer: Vacuum lint from ducts and surrounding areas.

Range Hood: Wash fan blades and housing.

Check the condition of lamp cords, appliance cords, vacuum cords, washer and

dryer cords, extension cords and plugs.


Roof: Inspect roof surface, flashing, eaves, and soffits; repair if needed.

Gutters and Downspouts: Clean them out or install no-clean version. Inspect and

repair weak areas; check for proper drainage and make repairs if needed. Be sure

gutters and downspouts are kept open and in good repair so water does not pool

around the foundation of your home.

Exterior Caulking: Inspect caulking and replace any that is deteriorating.

Windowsills, Doorsills, Thresholds: Fill cracks, caulk edges, repaint; replace if


Window and Door Screens: Clean screening and repair or replace if needed; tighten

or repair any loose or damaged frames and repaint if needed; replace broken, worn,

or missing hardware; tighten and lubricate door hinges and closers.

Check your foundation for cracks or crumbling mortar.

Check the inside and outside of foundation walls for termite damage.

Examine the inside of basement walls for dampness or water stains indicating

a leak.

Check that the crawl space vapor barrier is in good condition and placed correctly.

Fences, gates and retaining walls should be checked for condition of structure

and materials.

Check bricks or blocks for cracked mortar or loose joints.

Check siding for loose or missing pieces, lifting or warping, or any sign of


Check painted surfaces for peeling, chipping, or blistering; water damage; or


Examine all trim for tightness of fit, damage or decay.

Inspect and adjust sprinkler systems. Set your timers for the proper season to ensure

enough, but not too much water per station.

Service your lawn mower and yard equipment (blowers, edgers and trimmers).


Gutters and Downspouts: Clean out. Inspect and repair weak points; check for

proper slope. Make sure you have splash deflectors at the base of the downspout to

deflect water away from the home or it is directly piped away from the home

Chimney or Stovepipe: Clean flue (more frequently if needed); repair any cracks in

flue or any loose or crumbling mortar.

Thermostat: Clean heat sensor, contact points, and contacts; check accuracy and

replace thermostat if it is not functioning properly.

Outdoor Faucets: If you live in an area with freezing winters, shut off valves to

outdoor faucets. Open spigots and drain, store hoses. Anti-frost sill cocks will not

function as designed if hoses are left attached. Disconnect all hoses from exterior sill

cocks before the temperature drops below freezing.

Trim shrubs and bushes at least one foot away from the foundation walls.

Clean leaves and debris from around outside heating or air conditioning units.

Drain fuel from yard-care equipment in the late fall or early winter and

properly service equipment. Use a fuel stabilizer in all your fuel.

Doorways, below-grade window wells and storm drains should be cleaned of

debris or leaves.

Driveways and walkways should be checked for cracks, breaks or erosion & filled or


Check the condition of caulking where two different materials meet, such as where

wood siding joins the foundation wall, at inside corners and where window and door

trim meets the siding.

Check the windows for cracked or broken glass, loose putty around the glass panes,

holes in screens and evidence of moisture between pane and storm windows.

Storm Windows and Doors: Replace any cracked or broken glass; tighten or repair

any loose or damaged frames and repaint if needed. Replace damaged hardware;

tighten and lubricate door hinges and closers.

Check that windows and doors close properly and examine all hardware, lubricating

moving parts.

Inspect and clean all weep holes for water drainage (windows).

Check weather-stripping on windows and doors for damage and tightness of fit.

Make sure that all window and door locks work properly.

Have the chimney checked and cleaned each fall before you use it.

Your sprinkler system should be winterized before the temperature drops below



Inspect roof surface, flashing, eaves, and soffits; repair if needed.

Trim back tree branches that scrape against or overhang the roof. Keep

branches away from the chimney to avoid fire hazard.

Check for curled, damaged, loose or missing shingles.

Check the lower edge of the roof sheathing for water damage.

Examine all roof flashing and the flashing around chimneys, vent

stacks, roof edges, dormers and skylights.

Check vents and louvers for free air movement. Clean screens and remove

bird nests, spiders, insects and dust.


Septic Tank: Have a professional check the tank (watch for backup throughout the

year). In many areas, it is recommended that the tank be pumped every year.

Water Heater: Drain water until it is clear of sediment; test temperature pressure

relief valve; clean burner and ports (gas heater).

HVAC System: Have heating and cooling systems checked once a year by a

qualified serviceperson.

Inspect your garage door(s), rails and lock system; adjust and lubricate, as

necessary. Consider changing your garage door opener code as a security
















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