Home maintenance tasks

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RobLyons
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Home maintenance tasks

Post by RobLyons » Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:09 pm

I would like to know what home maintenance tasks are absolutely essential to perform regularly vs those that do not need to be performed as often. Would also be good to know which tasks can be DIY vs pro.
Also for anyone with natural gas, how often do you have to service the boiler? Converting from oil to gas next week!

Below I started a short list from my experience. Thanks!



DIY
Regular schedule
landscaping
replacing lights, filters, other
cleaning
smoke / CO detector test
checking fire extinguishers
visual inspections of property (chimney, walkways, entry ways, plumbing, etc)
pool cleaning and maintenance
test irrigation system


Not as often
chimney cleaning (minimal use, scant creosote)
staining deck
drain hot water heater - I haven't performed this in 7 years with no issues, YET, lifetime warranty won't be voided due to sediment, YMMV
interior painting, new furniture, etc
all wear/tear items like carpet, screens, flooring
seal grout



Pro
Regular schedule
gutter cleaning (YMMV)
boiler maintenance
septic tank inspection/cleaning


Not as often
chimney cleaning (based on own comfort/height of roof)
basement drainage system clean out
termite inspection
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

tesuzuki2002
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Re: Home maintenance tasks

Post by tesuzuki2002 » Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:23 pm

Some of these are very dependent on regional location...

Topic Author
RobLyons
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Re: Home maintenance tasks

Post by RobLyons » Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:28 pm

tesuzuki2002 wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:23 pm
Some of these are very dependent on regional location...

Hence why I said it's from my experience... :sharebeer
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

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LilyFleur
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Re: Home maintenance tasks

Post by LilyFleur » Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:30 pm

clean refrigerator coils

HomeStretch
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Re: Home maintenance tasks

Post by HomeStretch » Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:34 pm

Here’s a prior thread that had a lot of maintenance items listed:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=267831

zlandar
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Re: Home maintenance tasks

Post by zlandar » Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:03 pm

Replace rubber seal on the toilet fill valve every 10 years. If you have a water sensor alarm under the toilet you could wait until it starts to leak before replacing.

The rubber eventually cracks and can cause a slow leak. Not a problem if you notice it. It’s a problem if the toilet is seldom used and the water causes major damage.

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Shackleton
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Re: Home maintenance tasks

Post by Shackleton » Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:08 pm

This seems like the sort of thing that you can easily get from lists on the internet (and then edit as needed) rather than creating your own list. I once got a very thorough list (pages long) from a home inspection company. I probably still have it somewhere, but would have to dig through the basement... not gonna happen for a bit.

For now, whenever we hear of things that should be done on a schedule, we add a reminder to our Alexa/Echo device. Cleaning the dishwasher trap and the hot tub filter actually get done fairly regularly now! :D
“Superhuman effort isn't worth a damn unless it achieves results.” ~Ernest Shackleton

andypanda
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Location: Richmond, Virginia

Re: Home maintenance tasks

Post by andypanda » Wed Dec 04, 2019 9:36 pm

"Also for anyone with natural gas, how often do you have to service the boiler? "

What kind of boiler? A new, high efficiency condensing boiler will probably need to be serviced yearly. Technology is wonderful as long as it works.

I have a Burnham gas boiler in my house that heats hot water for 9 radiators on two stories. It's a simple boiler not much larger than a footstool, with a standing pilot light and a tiny circulator pump about the size of a car oil filter. I bought the recommended pilot light model because the basement is unheated and damp and they said the cast iron guts would last much longer if I left the small pilot burning year round.

I have it looked at every 5 or 8 years, usually if something begins failing. It's been through 4 thermocouples and one $120 circulator pump since 1980. Another six weeks and it will be 40 years old. :) Considering that the house has 10-foot ceilings and 14-inch solid brick walls with no insulation, the heating bill is quite reasonable and the house stays toasty.

I hope yours treats you as well.

andypanda
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Re: Home maintenance tasks

Post by andypanda » Wed Dec 04, 2019 9:44 pm

Absolutely essential? Clean your gutters and downspouts. Or at least check them. Keep an eye on the downspouts when it rains to see if they're all clear. Water backing up under the shingles is bad and so is water running over and down the outside walls and in around the windows.

Mr. Rumples
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Re: Home maintenance tasks

Post by Mr. Rumples » Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:06 am

I'm a bit obsessive about my gutters. On a ranch house, gutter cleaning can be done by hand. Yes, it can be gross to some. While I have someone blowing out mine now when he does my yard, if he were to stop, I could get up on a ladder a few steps, reach in and do it. I keep an eye on the flow coming out to be sure there aren't blockages. At my age, I don't get on the roof anymore.

(The next gutters I get will be dump (flip) gutters which are gaining in popularity where I live. )

barneycat
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Re: Home maintenance tasks

Post by barneycat » Thu Dec 05, 2019 7:10 am

+1 for toilet maintenance, and I'd add the flange that connects the toilet to the plumbing system.

We just had one go and our entire bathroom flooded....

I also have 1) running washer on clean cycle, 2) cleaning dishwasher interior (seal, filter trap), 3) testing water shutoff valve

What are your thoughts on the water heater drain? I've never done it and haven't seen any problems; but I've read this is something that should be done yearly.

spitty
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Re: Home maintenance tasks

Post by spitty » Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:08 am

Treat the working parts of your garage doors 1-2x per year; this time I used WD-40 gel spray hoping it sticks a bit longer ($9 at Walmart). Past I've always used what the local Overhead Door place sells..they say it's non-silicone based and lasts longer. YMMV! Anyway, spray the spring heavily, top and bottom. Then the two pulleys at either end of the bar that holds the spring. Finally the rollers/roller tracts and cycle up-down a few times. Some spray the hinges holding the door sections, but this can get messy. We had a spring break years ago making that door unusable before having it fixed, so there's our motivation to maintain. Spring replacement/rewinding is scary and has killed people!

carolinaman
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Re: Home maintenance tasks

Post by carolinaman » Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:18 am

I have gas heat and have it serviced and inspected every fall. Also do air conditioning service in Spring. The guy charges me $125 for both and NEVER tries to sell me unneeded things (unlike big HVAC companies in our area).

I have crawl space and inspect it during cold weather for any problems: moisture, plumbing, insulation, wet or sagging timbers, mold, etc. I also check my attic. These out of sight areas can develop problems that if caught early can be less costly and problematic.

We have city water but still have a septic tank/drain field. After 47 years of use, I had it checked and serviced this fall. I expected a full replacement and big $$$. They quoted $500 to drain it but once they inspected it said the system was clogged, in addition to being full, and chemicals needed to be used to unclog it. Total cost was $2400 for both. I paid an extra $400 to put in 2 risers to connect system to ground level. One thing that may have extended the life of the system is that I have been putting bacteria treatment in the system monthly for many years.

HomeStretch
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Re: Home maintenance tasks

Post by HomeStretch » Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:20 am

Clean your dryer vent.

likegarden
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Re: Home maintenance tasks

Post by likegarden » Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:58 am

Honestly I do not do all items on the list, have no problems. Gutters I now do little cleanout, I have Gutter Helmet now at the back of the house where they needed cleanout often, no more problems. 2 other gutters I have screens on, and they need removal of pine needles only at the entrance to each downspout once a year. AC and heating are only a few years old, and I have a service for $200/ year to check them. They do not think waterheater needs maintenance, probably will get replaced in 10 years, waterheater gets soft water. We have town water and connection to town sewer.

FI4LIFE
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Re: Home maintenance tasks

Post by FI4LIFE » Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:00 am

I can't imagine why you would need to service a natural gas boiler every year but I will admit that I don't know much about the newest technology. Of course the installer will recommend you service it as often as possible. Every 3-5 years should be fine. Use carbon monoxide detectors in the home when you switch.

I've had my ancient AC condenser and air handler for 8 years (was probably in the house for 20+ years before we moved in). Only had it serviced this year for the first time because the condensation line was not flowing properly. I consider this a "fix it when it breaks" item.

Septic tanks need to be emptied every 3-5 years or you risk solids gumming everything up (laundry detergent being a big culprit). This can vary based on your specific system and soil conditions.

Toilets have caused me many problems over the years. I would agree with others to at least check for leaks regularly and would add that you should consider replacement of the wax seal at the business end of the toilet every 10 years or so.

I don't believe in obsessive yearly maintenance. Add up the cost of the unnecessary maintenance and you are paying for the equipment twice.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Home maintenance tasks

Post by Sandtrap » Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:17 am

Sometimes, when you mess with things that are running fine year after year, something breaks.
Strange about these things. . . .

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fru-gal
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Re: Home maintenance tasks

Post by fru-gal » Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:19 am

carolinaman wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:18 am
We have city water but still have a septic tank/drain field. After 47 years of use, I had it checked and serviced this fall. I expected a full replacement and big $$$. They quoted $500 to drain it but once they inspected it said the system was clogged, in addition to being full, and chemicals needed to be used to unclog it. Total cost was $2400 for both. I paid an extra $400 to put in 2 risers to connect system to ground level. One thing that may have extended the life of the system is that I have been putting bacteria treatment in the system monthly for many years.
I've been told by both the septic system installers and the government inspectors that additives to septic systems are useless and sometimes harmful.

I have a horribly expensive advanced septic system on a waterfront lot. I have a yearly maintenance contract for about $300. I forget if they come out once or twice a year. Similarly I have a generator contract for about the same amount. Both cover inspections, adding stuff etc. some repairs except the cost of parts, pumping out the septic system when it gets to requiring that.

I have the AC people out once a year to check things over and also to replace the high filtration filter as it is under the house(!) and I am too old to do it. Theoretically the filter should be changed more often, but this process has worked for a decade or so. Also contrary to what a previous AC person told me, the high filtration filters do not wreck the system. Regular filters tried once were demonstrably bad for anyone with breathing issues.

I never have anything done to the gas boiler that runs the baseboard heating.

neilpilot
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Re: Home maintenance tasks

Post by neilpilot » Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:42 pm

spitty wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:08 am
Treat the working parts of your garage doors 1-2x per year; this time I used WD-40 gel spray hoping it sticks a bit longer ($9 at Walmart). Past I've always used what the local Overhead Door place sells..they say it's non-silicone based and lasts longer. YMMV! Anyway, spray the spring heavily, top and bottom. Then the two pulleys at either end of the bar that holds the spring. Finally the rollers/roller tracts and cycle up-down a few times. Some spray the hinges holding the door sections, but this can get messy. We had a spring break years ago making that door unusable before having it fixed, so there's our motivation to maintain. Torsion Spring replacement/rewinding is scary and has killed people!
I fixed your post above so it is less misleading. A garage door with extension springs, in comparison,is much safer and doesn't scare most DIYs.

Also if you Google garage door lubricants you typically find that "light-duty lubricants, such as WD-40, are only suitable for cleaning the tracks of an automatic garage door. Because an overhead garage door opener has a heavy workload, a sturdier lubricant than WD-40, such as silicon spray or motor oil, is required to keep it operating smoothly and quietly." This would be true for the WD-40 gel variant as well.

jharkin
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Re: Home maintenance tasks

Post by jharkin » Thu Dec 05, 2019 1:12 pm

RobLyons wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:09 pm
Also for anyone with natural gas, how often do you have to service the boiler? Converting from oil to gas next week!
If its a traditional cast iron boiler feeding forced hot water baseboards/radiators - the answer is almost never. There simply is nothing that needs cleaning and not much to wear out. If you call for service it will mostly just be a safety check to verify the pressure release safety valve, backdraft pressure switch, automatic water feed, expansion tank, etc all work properly. They might check the gas regulator setting but that really shouldnt change after initial install.

For condensing boilers the manufacturer may specify periodic cleanings to satisfy the warranty. I have a Veissmann condensing in my new (to me) house and the local factory certified guy says every 2 years on propane and every 3-4 on natgas is enough. Its mostly just to make sure the heat exchanger gets cleaned.


BTW, if you are putting in a new boiler, have a stainless steel indirect water heater integrated with it and ditch the existing tank heater. Then you can remove "drain the water heater" from your list as stainless tanks last forever and never rust. Also more efficient.

andypanda
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Re: Home maintenance tasks

Post by andypanda » Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:43 pm

"I can't imagine why you would need to service a natural gas boiler every year but I will admit that I don't know much about the newest technology."

From the little I've learned while shopping...

The condensate is slightly acidic with a ph between 3 and 4. And it needs to be neutralized before running through metal drains, etc. If you can't drain it by gravity you'll need a condensate pump. Heat is recovered from the condensate and that's part of what makes the system more efficient than letting the heat go up the chimney. Of course, the condensing boiler has cooler exhaust and the gas may not be hot enough to rise and require a fan to give it a push.

More or less, if everything isn't properly balanced and working the system could dissolve itself at various points. That's a bit of an overstatement, but the key to the system's efficiency is that acidic condensate. They're much better than they used to be, and a fascinating bit of engineering, but they're not as simple as a plain old boiler.

Bruce T
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Re: Home maintenance tasks

Post by Bruce T » Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:56 pm

HomeStretch wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:20 am
Clean your dryer vent.
In addition to the dryer vent, make sure to clean out under/in the non-drum portion of the dryer chamber ... lint can collect near the heat source and catch on fire... at least this is true for older natural gas dryers (probably due to drawing dusty air in for combustion air).

Topic Author
RobLyons
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Re: Home maintenance tasks

Post by RobLyons » Fri Dec 06, 2019 7:11 am

Shackleton wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:08 pm
This seems like the sort of thing that you can easily get from lists on the internet (and then edit as needed) rather than creating your own list. I once got a very thorough list (pages long) from a home inspection company. I probably still have it somewhere, but would have to dig through the basement... not gonna happen for a bit.

For now, whenever we hear of things that should be done on a schedule, we add a reminder to our Alexa/Echo device. Cleaning the dishwasher trap and the hot tub filter actually get done fairly regularly now! :D

True, I just trust this forum more than random internet!

I may need to buy Alexa. I can't seem to find a method to set reminders in the apple ecosystem, thanks
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

Topic Author
RobLyons
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Re: Home maintenance tasks

Post by RobLyons » Fri Dec 06, 2019 7:13 am

jharkin wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 1:12 pm
RobLyons wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:09 pm
Also for anyone with natural gas, how often do you have to service the boiler? Converting from oil to gas next week!
If its a traditional cast iron boiler feeding forced hot water baseboards/radiators - the answer is almost never. There simply is nothing that needs cleaning and not much to wear out. If you call for service it will mostly just be a safety check to verify the pressure release safety valve, backdraft pressure switch, automatic water feed, expansion tank, etc all work properly. They might check the gas regulator setting but that really shouldnt change after initial install.

For condensing boilers the manufacturer may specify periodic cleanings to satisfy the warranty. I have a Veissmann condensing in my new (to me) house and the local factory certified guy says every 2 years on propane and every 3-4 on natgas is enough. Its mostly just to make sure the heat exchanger gets cleaned.


BTW, if you are putting in a new boiler, have a stainless steel indirect water heater integrated with it and ditch the existing tank heater. Then you can remove "drain the water heater" from your list as stainless tanks last forever and never rust. Also more efficient.


I asked plumber yesterday and he said I shouldn't touch the current water heater as it either doesn't need draining or because it has a lifetime warranty.. The latter seems to be a cop out and money maker for him. Will be finding a new plumber after install.
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

spitty
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Re: Home maintenance tasks

Post by spitty » Fri Dec 06, 2019 8:13 am

Also if you Google garage door lubricants you typically find that "light-duty lubricants, such as WD-40, are only suitable for cleaning the tracks of an automatic garage door. Because an overhead garage door opener has a heavy workload, a sturdier lubricant than WD-40, such as silicon spray or motor oil, is required to keep it operating smoothly and quietly." This would be true for the WD-40 gel variant as well.
You got me paranoid, Neil :shock: ..now I'll have to spray the springs again with the usual! I saw the WD-40 gel recommended in a homeowners magazine so thought I'd try it. WD website says it lasts 12x longer than their standard stuff with good rust prevention. Overhead Door recommends a non-silicone based product--the gel is not silicone based. Motor oil would be a great idea if one avoids making a mess. Appreciate your comments.

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Shackleton
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Re: Home maintenance tasks

Post by Shackleton » Fri Dec 06, 2019 8:26 am

RobLyons wrote:
Fri Dec 06, 2019 7:11 am
Shackleton wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:08 pm
This seems like the sort of thing that you can easily get from lists on the internet (and then edit as needed) rather than creating your own list. I once got a very thorough list (pages long) from a home inspection company. I probably still have it somewhere, but would have to dig through the basement... not gonna happen for a bit.

For now, whenever we hear of things that should be done on a schedule, we add a reminder to our Alexa/Echo device. Cleaning the dishwasher trap and the hot tub filter actually get done fairly regularly now! :D

True, I just trust this forum more than random internet!

I may need to buy Alexa. I can't seem to find a method to set reminders in the apple ecosystem, thanks
While I trust this forum for a lot of financial-related things, in cases like this I prefer something that has a professional business name on it (so you know that business is putting some of their reputation on the line), and is specific to the details of my house (example: we live in a high mountain (long cold winters, VERY low humidity) area on a well with septic, and hydronic radiant heat and no AC. Very different than a suburban house on the local water/sewer system with traditional HVAC in an area that never goes below 45 degrees and has AC, or a NYC coop in a high rise building.) Plus, I can get 2-3 of these lists from the professionals, and compare/contrast their advice for more learning.
“Superhuman effort isn't worth a damn unless it achieves results.” ~Ernest Shackleton

regularguy455
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Re: Home maintenance tasks

Post by regularguy455 » Fri Dec 06, 2019 8:34 am

Pouring bleach/water in the PVC drain pipe for HVAC. This line can clog up with gunk and create a blockage. Blocked lines can cause flooding in your attic when the drain pan overflows.

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