When you purchased your home, you likely got a home inspection. However, for many homeowners, that was likely the last time they had their home inspected. This makes periodic maintenance more important than ever for homeowners in retaining their investments and protecting their health and safety.

Preventive home maintenance inspections, or as we like to call them Healthy Home Checks, are essential for people who already own their homes and intend on staying in their homes for many years. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t upkeep their homes as often as they should, and it’s not uncommon for issues to arise during the course of homeownership. Routine Healthy Home Checks helps homeowners gain an unbiased opinion of their homes, making them aware of any critical maintenance, health and safety issues found.

Not surprisingly, some of the most common issues found in homes during Healthy Home Checks are the same as what inspectors find during a Full Home Inspection for a buyer – that's because the home seller likely didn’t perform any routine maintenance! Common issues found typically include cracked caulking, non-functioning garage door safety features, improper drainage away from the home, wood rot, insulation gaps, improper attic ventilation, moisture in the basement, and roof leaks, to name a few. The list goes on and on, and without addressing these critical issues, your home value could suffer, your energy bills could be inflated, and your well-being in your home could deteriorate. Proper maintenance not only helps you protect your investment in the long run, but also helps you better manage your budget, avoid costly repairs, and enhance your overall well-being.

What is Preventive Maintenance?

Benefits of a Regular Preventive Home Maintenance for Seniors

Preventive maintenance is a strategic method some homeowners take for reducing the likelihood of a system or structure failing. This type of upkeep is performed while an area of the home – anything from the roof to electrical outlets – is still in use. Through observations, inspections and periodic repairs, preventive maintenance has the goal of preventing total failure.

While this maintenance plan seems pretty straightforward, it’s not commonly practiced by many. Majority of homeowners practice what’s called “reactive maintenance,” where no routine maintenance is performed, and the homeowner simply reacts to something breaking down or needing repair. While this may seem like a way to keep maintenance costs low, this is actually more expensive in the long run. On average, maintenance costs are less expensive than repairs costs, and depending on the repair, you may incur other costs besides the repair itself.

Take for example getting an annual Mold Test. While the $500 cost may seem like a lot to front, it’s well worth the investment when you compare it to the cost of mold testing, mold remediation, fixing the issue that caused the mold, and living in a hotel temporarily, which could easily cost $5,000+.

Types of Preventive Maintenance

There are countless types of preventive maintenance out there, but for the most part they all fall into one of two categories: time-based or usage-based. Each type has its own benefits and is focused on avoiding breakdowns between maintenance periods.

Time-Based Maintenance vs. Usage-Based Maintenance

When something is serviced at regular intervals of time, it’s considered time-based preventive maintenance. Having your yard sprayed for termites every few months is a great example. By doing so, you’re lessening the likelihood of having to pay for wood damage down the road.

When upkeep is based on the actual use of an item, it’s referred to as usage-based preventive maintenance. The light on your refrigerator that notifies you when the water filter needs to be changed is a great example. Changing the oil in your car every 3,000 to 5,000 miles is another.

It’s important to know that one type of preventive maintenance is not better than the other. Each method caters to the specific needs of your home, such as spraying or termites or changing your fridge’s water filter. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines if provided on the recommended maintenance strategy so you can avoid system failure and keep your home running smoothly and safely.

Why is Preventive Maintenance Important?

Technician Installing Smart Home Security System in Room

Proper preventive maintenance is important for a variety of reasons. One of the most obvious is to save money. Failing to maintain any system becomes very expensive due to unexpected, and frankly inconvenient, breakdowns. Paying for damages caused by termites, for instance, has a cost that's significantly less than simply having periodic visits from your local pest control provider.

You can also imagine how neglecting to repair even minor issues can become especially expensive. In fact, 20 percent of all insurance claims are directly linked to water intrusion, so not replacing a damaged shingle (a minor cost) can quickly become expensive and cause serious damage to your home. Moreover, proper maintenance will help your home retain a higher resell value over time. So, when you’re ready to sell, the investment in maintenance will be worth it!

Preventive maintenance is also an environmentally friendly practice. For example, an HVAC unit that’s not properly maintained will use more energy as it slowly starts to break down. This emits more emissions into the air than a well-functioning system, not to mention that it drives up your monthly utility bill. In many cases, a sudden increase in your energy bill can be a telltale sign that a system in the home needs maintenance.

Necessary Preventive Maintenance

There’s no all-inclusive guide to preventive maintenance in a home. After all, every home is different and requires a customized maintenance plan. There are certain issues, though, that are faced by most homeowners in the U.S. and should be on your home maintenance checklist.

Weekly Home Maintenance Tasks:

Cleaning - Cleaning Bathroom Sink with Spray Detergent

  1. Clean Floors: Vacuum and mop floors to remove dirt and grime.
  2. Dust Surfaces: Wipe down all surfaces, including furniture, to keep dust at bay.
  3. Laundry: Wash clothes, beddings, and towels regularly.
  4. Bathroom Cleaning: Scrub toilets, sinks, and showers to prevent mold and mildew build-up.
  5. Garbage Disposal: Empty all trash bins and clean them to avoid odors.
  6. Garden/Lawn Care: Water plants and mow the lawn as needed.

Monthly Home Maintenance Tasks:

  1. HVAC Filter Check: Clean or replace air filters to ensure efficient heating and cooling.
  2. Drain Check: Inspect and unclog drains in sinks, showers, and tubs.
  3. Appliance Check: Clean and inspect major appliances (refrigerator coils, dishwasher, etc.).
  4. Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Test and replace batteries if necessary.
  5. Gutter Inspection: Clear out any debris to ensure proper drainage.
  6. Water Softener: Check and refill salt if you have a water softener system.

Annual Home Maintenance Tasks:

WIN Home Inspector doing a Pest Inspection

  1. Roof Inspection: Check for damages or leaks and clean gutters.
  2. Exterior Painting Touch-Up: Maintain the exterior paint to protect against weather damage.
  3. Furnace and AC Service: Have a professional service your heating and cooling systems.
  4. Chimney Inspection/Cleaning: Ensure it's clear of debris or creosote build-up.
  5. Window and Door Seals: Check and repair any caulking or weather stripping.
  6. Deck and Patio Inspection: Repair any damage and consider resealing.
  7. Pest Inspection: Check for signs of termites, rodents, or other pests.
  8. Water Heater Maintenance: Flush the water heater to remove sediment build-up.
  9. Basement/Crawl Space: Check for water intrusion or insulation issues.
  10. Landscaping: Prune trees and shrubs, and plan for seasonal care.

These are just a few of the more important preventive maintenance tasks you should be doing around your home.

From HVAC inspections to quickly repairing a leaking roof, preventive maintenance is essential! The cost savings alone make these routine tasks worthwhile. By being a responsible homeowner,

If you aren’t convinced you need to do preventive maintenance yet, think of it this way - A Healthy Home Check is like visiting your doctor for an annual health checkup. You do this practice not because you feel sick, but because you want to ensure you are in good health and get ahead of any underlying conditions. The same goes for your home. You should do routine maintenance and get a Healthy Home Check not because your home has an apparent issue, but because you rely on the advice of a qualified and trained professional to keep your home healthy. Just like you trust your physician, trust your local WIN home inspector to keep your home safe, healthy and well maintained. The doctor will see you now, call us today to schedule your Healthy Home Check!


Roof Leak Statistics