1. GUIDE TO HOME MAINTENANCE Prepared by the Adult Services Staff of the Muncie Public Library
2. Purpose of this guide• Survey the major systems of an average home.• Suggest a regular maintenance schedule for each system.• Point out critical areas where the system may develop problems.• Suggest actions to prevent minor problems from becoming expensive ones.
3. Home systems• Roof, gutters, and downspouts• Exterior Walls and Windows• Heating and air conditioning• Plumbing• Electrical• Landscape__________________________________________• Protecting your Investment with Homeowners Insurance
4. Roofs, gutters, and downspoutsInspect: Spring and Fall Inspect for:  Loose or missing shingles.  Gaps in flashing around chimney.  Loose chimney bricks and mortar.  Wildlife infestation.  Clogged and/or leaking gutters and downspouts.
5. Roofs, gutters, and downspouts  Take action:  Call a licensed professional roofer to make any repairs to roof.  Clean gutters /downspouts yourself or with general handyman; plug holes to keep water from backing up into roof deck or behind siding resulting in rot and mold.  Cut overhanging tree limbs to reduce tree litter and rubbing against shingles.  Replace deteriorated chimney brick and mortar to prevent water damage.  Install chimney cap to prevent wildlife from entering home.
6. Exterior walls and windowsInspect: Spring and Fall
7. Exterior walls and windows Inspect for:  Peeling paint, bare wood  Siding that is in contact and metal. with bare earth.  Gaps in siding and trim  Plants/shrubs that are work. touching walls.  Missing caulk around  Insect and rodent holes windows. around vents and foundation.  Large cracks in stucco.  Malfunctioning garage  Progressively worsening door safety features. cracks in foundation.
8. Exterior walls and windowsTake action:  Make sure siding clears bare earth by 6 to 8 inches to keep water from wicking or splashing  Repaint wood and metal up behind siding. surfaces to create moisture barrier.  Cut vines off at ground level and let them die naturally. Pulling  Replace loose nails to close gaps them down could pull out in siding and trim. mortar or ruin siding.  Re-caulk windows, doors, and  Plug insect and rodent holes trim to keep moisture out and around foundation. conserve energy.  Test garage door obstruction  Use stucco patch large cracks sensor, balance, and automatic and paint for hairline cracks. reversal system. Call for professional repair is warranted.
9. Heating and air conditioning (HVAC) Inspect: Annually  A typical maintenance check-up of the home’s heating and air conditioning system (HVAC) includes:  Testing thermostat settings.  Lubrication of moving parts to reduce friction in motors and the amount of energy your system uses. Lubrication extends the life of the heating and cooling systems.  Inspection of the condensate drain in the central air conditioning system, furnace, or heat pump (when in the cooling mode). This is done to detect and remove clogs which can cause water damage in the house and affect indoor humidity levels.  Testing system controls to ensure they start, operate, and shut off properly and safely.
10. Heating and air-conditioning (HVAC) Maintenance of the cooling system includes  Cleaning the evaporator and condenser coils. Dirty coils reduce the system’s ability to cool your home and case the system to long. This increases energy costs and reduces the life of the equipment.  Checking and adjusting the refrigerant level.  Cleaning and adjusting blower components to provide proper airflow for greater comfort. Airflow problems can reduce the system’s efficiency by up to 15%.
11. Heating and air-conditioning (HVAC) Maintenance of the heating system includes:  Checking all gas (or oil) connections, gas pressure, burner combustion and heat exchanger. Improperly operating connections are a fire hazard and can contribute to health problems. A dirty burner or cracked heat exchanger causes improper burner operation. These conditions can cause the equipment to operate less efficiently and safely.
12. Plumbing systemInspect: Annually or Bi-annuallyInspect for:  Puddles or watermarks left by leaks in exposed pipes or where pipes run through the walls or foundation of the home.  Corrosion which can cause leaks and bad pipe connections. Corrosion may appear as a green stain around brass and copper fittings and on shutoff valves. It may present as a yellow or orange stain on old steel pipe.
13. Plumbing system  Low water pressure due to sediment buildup in the faucet or shower head. Low pressure may also be a sign of problems with the water line.  Slow drains caused by clogs or venting problems.  Toilets that do not flush properly or run after flushing.  Signs of water around the base of the toilet.  Cracked tiles in the shower, around sinks, or near water pipes. These can be a sign of a leak which can cause rotting beneath the tile.  Missing or broken caulking around tubs, sinks, and toilets.
14. Plumbing system Areas where mildew has grown. Toilets that rock or move. Flakes of rust inside the chamber of the home’s water heater. A blue flame at the water heater. If you see a yellow flame instead, the jet needs to be cleaned. Sediment at the water heater; drain annually. All faucets and valves to see if water leaks from them. Cracked, brittle, and leaking washing machine hoses. Replace them with braided stainless or other high pressure material.
15. Plumbing system Take Action Call a licensed professional plumber to repair most home plumbing problems. Remove aerators from faucets and clean sediment out to improve water flow. Remove shower heads and immerse in undiluted vinegar to get rid of lime scale and improve water pressure. Remove old caulk around tubs, sinks, and toilets then re- caulk.
16. Plumbing system Pour boiling water down clogged drains and use a rubber plunger to loosen clogs. If that does not work, try using hand auger. If clog is really stubborn there may be a blocked main drain/soil pipe. Call a licensed plumber.
17. Electrical systemINSPECT: Keep system up-to-date with household’s changing electrical demands. If you suspect your wiring is more than 40 years old, or made of aluminum rather than copper, it is prudent to have the system inspected by a certified electrician.Inspect For:  Installation of ground fault circuit interrupters (GFICs) wherever a circuit could become damp or wet (kitchens, bathroom, garage, laundry, outdoors).  Locations where appliances repeatedly come in contact with water and trip a circuit breaker. Use appliances in dry areas of the home.
18. Electrical system  Availability of surge protectors for entertainment and computer equipment and make sure equipment is plugged into them. Check equipment connectors for signs of wear or fraying.  Condition of extension cords designed for outdoor use. Do not use a regular extension cord with outdoor tools. Do not use electrical appliances in the rain and stay at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines.
19. Electrical system Safe use of space heaters. Keep them for supplemental use only. Keep them at least 3 feet away from combustible material and never leave a space heater on with an unsupervised child in the room. Turn the space heater off and unplug it when it is not in use. Safe use of halogen floor lamps which operate at a much higher temperature than conventional lamps. Never use them in a child’s room or playroom.
20. LandscapeInspect: Spring and Fall  Over seed thin patches in lawn; apply Take action: fertilizer. In the Fall  Rake leaf litter and remove thatch from lawn.  Clean out plant beds.  Plug entry ways for termites and  Cut plants away from house carpenter ants. siding.  Repair rot or other damage to wooden  Clean and store terra cotta stairs and decks. Check and repair planters. handrails and steps before they become safety hazards.  Blow out garden hose and store.  Clean out water features.  Get snow blower ready for winter.
21. LandscapeTake action:  Repair broken concrete walks and clean off algae on brick sidewalks in shady areas to In the Spring reduce slipping.  Prune /re-shape shrubs after blooming. Cut plants away from  Prepare planting beds; order house siding. Create holes in seeds. shrubs and hedges so they get sunlight for interior growth.  Repair and replace broken garden tools.  Get mower tuned up.
22. Homeowners InsuranceProtect your investment.How much would it cost to restore your life and your home if the unthinkable happened?How much homeowner’s insurance would be enough to rebuild your home and replace your family’s personal property?
23. Homeowners Insurance What kinds of policies are available? HO-1 or Named Perils Policy Protects against 11 named perils; such as,  Fore, smoke, volcanic eruption, lightning, riot, theft, vandalism, windstorms, explosions. Does not protect against floods, earthquakes, and poor home maintenance. Is very limited and many states are phasing this type of policy out. HO-2 or Broad named Perils Policy Protects against 17 names risks adding  Falling objects, weight of snow and ice, freezing of plumbing and damage caused by faulty electrical and heating systems.
24. Homeowners Insurance HO-3 or Open Perils Policy  Includes all possible risks with exception of earthquake, flood protection, war, and nuclear accident. This is the most expensive policy, but it is the most valuable. What Does Homeowners Insurance Cover? House structure. Buy enough coverage to pay for 100% of the rebuilding costs.  Determine replacement cost. DO NOT BASE LEVEL OF COVERAGE ON MARKET VALUE OF HOME. This is often not enough . Remember how many homes lost their value in our current economic situation . AVOID CASH VALUE POLICIES.  Talk to local building contractor or contact a building association to find out the going cost per square foot to rebuild a home like your.  Update your policy as costs change to avoid be underinsured.
25. Homeowners Insurance  Personal possessions.  Inventory contents of your home. photograph the items and keep photographs in a safe deposit box. Estimate the cost to replace each item (at current prices, not at what you paid).  Most policies will cover possessions at 50% to 75% of the coverage of your home’s structure.  Your can buy more coverage if needed. Riders can be purchased to cover valuable jewelry pieces, antiques, and fine art.  Buy a policy that provides replacement protection, not “actual cash value” Cash value coverage factors in depreciation and rarely provides enough to replace what’s been lost.  Liability  Standard liability coverage protects the homeowner if someone is injured in your home and sues.
26. Homeowners Insurance  Coverage is typically between $100,000 and $300,000. That may not be enough. It is wise to take out coverage to protect at least your net worth (assets minus debts).  If more coverage is needed, an umbrella liability policy protects your home and auto insurance . A $1 million umbrella policy can be added for a few hundred dollars a year. What is not covered?  Be aware of what is not covered by your homeowners policy.  Usually excluded are flood, earthquakes, and mudslides. Buy Separate coverage if your are at risk for those natural disasters.  Pricey jewelry , fine art, and antiques, etc. should be covered by Riders as they can push you over the standard maximum coverage in your policy.
27. Homeowner’s Toolbox• Adjustable wrench for plumbing loosens round objects • Measuring tape. A good measuring tape has a solid metal storage case with a sturdy return mechanism. The tape itself is wide and such as pipes. flexible.• Adjustable wrench for general use turns hex or square • Nuts, bolts, washers, brads, nails, screws, picture hangers. nuts and bolts. Medium sized wrench does fine around Assorted sizes; the home. • Paintbrushes. Have a set of brushes on hand in sizes ranging from 1” to 4’. The bristles can be synthetic or made from animal hair.• Caulking gun. This tool holds a 10.5-ounce standard • Plane. The plane is used to shave wood from boards to achieve a cartridge of caulk, and the trigger handle allows the smoother surface. Keep blade sharp. gradual application of a bead of caulk around doors, • Pliers, needle-nose pliers with wire cutter. Use needle-nose pliers for electrical projects and when the occasion calls for reaching into windows, and tubs. tight places• Claw hammer. Most common hammer for • Pliers. These scissor-like tools that can pick up small objects. Get driving/pulling nails. them in a variety of sizes. • Putty knife. The putty knife is also known as a spackling knife. It• Crosscut saw: The 8 point crosscut saw is good for has a square end and the thin blade is useful for applying spackling general work. Saws come with various numbers of teeth compound to fill nail holes, and rough spots in paint and plaster; per inch represented by “points”. The higher the • Rubber mallet. The mallet is also known as a soft-face hammer and is used to tap on soft objects or hit a wooden handle of a chisel. number of points, the finer and slower the cutting will • Safety goggles. Wear to keep eyes safe when using power tools; be. mowing the lawn.• Drill and drill bits. Electric or battery powered drills are • Screw drivers A good set of screwdrivers includes both slot head available. Choose one best suited to your needs and buy and Phillips head in a variety of sizes. a set of drill bits in variety of sizes to keep on hand. • Utility knife. (Trimming knife or carpet knife); can be used to cut dry wall, tape, string, cardboard boxes. Keep the blade sharp;• Level. Tool is made of wood or wood and metal with a • Work gloves: heavy to protect hands while working with lumber, small set of tubes each with an air bubble in them. The glass, metal and improve your grip. bubbles will float in the center of the tubes when the measured object is flat or plumb.