Home Maintenance Made Simple
Learn how a home works, how to maintain it, and how to save energy.
Home maintenance is a primary responsibility for every homeowner, whether you’ve lived in several homes of your own or have just purchased your first one. Staying on top of a seasonal home maintenance schedule is important, and your InterNACHI Certified Professional Inspector® can help you figure this out so that you never fall behind. Don’t let minor maintenance and routine repairs turn into expensive disasters later due to neglect or simply because you aren’t sure what needs to be done and when.
Your home inspection report is a great place to start. In addition to the written report, checklists, photos, and what the inspector himself said during the inspection—not to mention the seller’s disclosure and what you notice yourself—it’s easy to become overwhelmed. However, it's likely that your inspection report included mostly maintenance recommendations, the life expectancy for the home's various systems and components, and minor imperfections. These are useful to know about.
The issues that really matter fall into four categories:
1. major defects, such as a structural failure;
2. things that can lead to major defects, such as a small leak due to a defective roof flashing;
3. things that may hinder your ability to finance, legally occupy, or insure the home if not rectified immediately; and
4. safety hazards, such as an exposed, live buss bar at the electrical panel.
Anything in these categories should be addressed as soon as possible. Often, a serious problem can be corrected inexpensively to protect both life and property (especially in categories 2 and 4).
Most sellers are honest and are often surprised to learn of defects uncovered during an inspection. It’s important to realize that sellers are under no obligation to repair everything mentioned in your inspection report. No house is perfect. Keep things in perspective as you move into your new home.
And remember that homeownership is both a joyful experience and an important responsibility, so be sure to call on your InterNACHI Certified Professional Inspector® to help you devise an annual maintenance plan that will keep your family safe and your home in top condition for years to come.
Just Like an Engine of Your Car
Just like the engine of an automobile, your house works as a system of interdependent parts. Every part has an impact on the operation of many other parts. A typical home has over 10,000 parts. What happens when all the parts work together in the most desirable, optimal way? You are rewarded with a house that is durable, comfortable, healthy and energy-efficient.
You can make it happen in just a few steps:
Step #1: Monitor the house.
Step #2: Recognize potential problems.
Step #3: Correct problems properly.
This book will help you do all three steps.
As you know, the home inspector is not an expert but a generalist. Your home inspector inspected the home and reported its condition as it was at the time of the inspection. That is the main responsibility of the home inspector. A home inspection does not include predictions of future events. Future events (such as roof leaks, water intrusion, plumbing drips, and heating failures) are not within the scope of a home inspection and are not the responsibility of the home inspector. Who’s responsible? You are - the new homeowner. Welcome to homeownership. The most important thing to understand as a new homeowner is that things break. As time goes on, parts of your house will wear out, break down, deteriorate, leak, or simply stop working.
But relax. Don’t get overwhelmed. You’re not alone. This book is for you and every homeowner experiencing the responsibility of homeownership. Every homeowner has similar concerns and questions. And they are all related to home maintenance.
The following questions are those that all homeowners ask themselves:
#1 “What should I look for?”
#2 “What does a real problem look like?”
#3 “How should it be corrected?”
The answers to these questions are written in this book. This book will guide you through the systems of a typical house, how they work and how to maintain them. The systems include the following: the exterior, interior, roof, structure, electrical, HVAC, plumbing, attic and insulation.
You will learn what to monitor as the house ages. Most of the conditions and events that you will see and experience will likely be cosmetic and minor in nature. Most homes do not have major material defects.
Throughout the book, there are references to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (www.nachi.org). InterNACHI is the world’s largest association of residential and commercial property inspectors. The InterNACHI Residential Standards of Practice (SOP) defines what a home inspection is and lists the responsibilities of a home inspector. The SOP can be viewed at www.nachi.org/go/sop. Be sure to read the Standards of Practice to which your inspection is performed.
This book comments upon the responsibilities of a home inspector because we are assuming that a home inspector has given you this book to read. Sometimes, when a new homeowner is performing maintenance, apparent problems are discovered or revealed. Or, as time goes by, things in the house leak or fail. A new homeowner experiencing a problem should refer to the Standards of Practice, which outlines the responsibilities and limitations of the home inspector.