Twin Oaks Home Inspection

Home Maintenance Tips

Maintenance tips are updated throughout the month. 

Return to this page often to view some great ideas on solving some of the most common house problems in the New Hampshire Area

Cleaning Wood Stoves and Chimneys: Hiring a chimney sweep to clean and inspect the chimney before heating season is always recommended.  This is the safest means of getting the chimney cleaned and a lot less costly than a chimney fire. Cleaning out the stove fire box and fireplace pit is also recommended.  Inspect for cracks and leave about 1 inch of ash for a better fire.  If you are a casual user only, it is still a good idea to use a cleaning log to loosen up any built up creosote.

Maintain Equipment: Time to put gas in the snow blower.  Change and check oil conditions, spark plugs and safety equipment insuring that all items are operational before the first need.  If you have a power washer, either make sure that it is completely drained and oiled or store in a warm location for the winter.

Clean Condensation pump: With the cold weather here, the furnace will be getting a work out to keep you warm in your home.  In most FHA systems, the condensation is drained to a condensation reservoir which is then pumped into the disposal drainage system.  If this pump gets clogged, the spillage will be on your basement floor and can create a mess if not detected in a timely fashion.  The solution is to regularly clean the reservoir and pump with a CLR (Calcium, Lime and Rust) cleaner.  This product is available at local hardware stores and other outlets.

Clean and Replace Filters: Regularly scheduled replacements of furnace filters (2-4 times per heating season) will keep airflow efficient and keep electric bills down by reducing the time that the blower operates.

Check for Duct Leaks: This is a good time to check for air leaks in FHA system distribution ducts.  Use smoke sticks or incense to identify leaks at joints or elbows in heating system.  Simply locate the smoke near the joints during blower operation to see if the smoke either is drawn into the joint or is blown away.  In either situation, a leak is causing the reaction.  Seal the joints with an appropriate paste seal or duct seal tape (not duct tape) and recheck for leaks.

Seal opening behind ceiling fixtures: If there are even small openings around the electrical box in your ceiling fixtures, you are losing heat or treated air to the attic. Caulk around the box to reduce heat loss. Also check around bathroom exhaust fans. 

Safety Equipment at Home: Do you have a smoke detector at home? How about a carbon monoxide detector and fire extinguisher? Be sure to test all your equipment & replace batteries.  Best reminder is to change the batter when you change the clocks on March 11th.

Insulation: If you were thinking of adding some insulation in the attic, this is the best time to get that done.  The attic will be cooler to work in and the added insulation will provide for a warmer home in the winter and cooler home in the summer.  It is recommended to have an R-49 rating of insulation in New Hampshire home attics.  Most homes older than 5 years typically have R-30 or less.  Adding unfaced R-19 will provide a greater insulation blanket and reduce energy costs for years to come.