Maintenance Overview for a Healthy & Happy Building
23 Jun 2016
POSTED BY: Admin | Comments: 0

By: Don Epp

For the past year I have written blogs about maintenance tips and ideas for any home.  I have suggested that a home that is well-maintained will have fewer emergencies.  Predicting and planning maintenance preventatively is less stressful and costly than reacting to a maintenance crisis.  To recap, I will provide a year’s worth of maintenance tips into this blog entry. The overall goal of preventative maintenance is to save money in the long run by avoiding unnecessary repairs.



Generally speaking it is a good idea to walk around your entire property at least once a season and observe the grounds and exterior of the building.  Each season puts its own stresses on a building and with careful monitoring changes and potential problem areas can be identified and corrected. Here are some areas to monitor and take note of when doing a walk about:

  • Observe the roof; look at the shingles and anything that might be out of the ordinary. 
  • Check out the eaves; look for any signs of birds building a nest. Clean the eaves trough in the fall and make sure water flows away from the building.
  • Notice any changes in the siding, are there new cracks, or holes from past hail storm?
  • How are the fence and gates holding out? Are there loose boards or wobbly posts?
  • Look at the foundation and check for cracks, monitor to make sure they are not increasing in size.
  • Inspect the caulking around windows and doors and look for wood trim that needs to be painted. Make sure that the doors and windows seal properly and adjust the weather stripping as needed.
  • Ramps and decks need to be inspected for sliver and other hazards, as well as stability.
  • Correct any landscaping or trees that will interfere with overhead wires or that are rubbing against the building.
  • Check sidewalks for cracks that become tripping hazards and have them repaired.


Plumbing is a system that should not be overlooked.  Some of these tasks can be done on a casual basis and others may need a more intentional effort to observe. To ensure all pipes are kept running properly, it is important to:

  • Look for signs of leaks on all exposed pipes especially where pipes go through the walls or floors.
  • Check the operation of all faucets, look for loose handles, leaks, low pressure (clogged aerator or shower head) and ensure the temperature is not too hot. 
  • Check the drains for speed of drainage.  A slow drain could mean a clog; the water should drain with a swirl. Bubbles are a sign of a problem.
  • Check the toilets - open the tank and look for worn or missing parts.  Make sure the bowl is firmly fastened to the floor and that the tank does not wiggle.
  • Check the tub and shower caulking, and replace as needed. Clean the tracks for the shower door, and inspect the rubber gaskets for tears and gaps.
  • Inspect the door gaskets on the washing machine and dishwasher, and look for signs of leaks.
  • Make sure your sump pump is working and moving water away from the building.
  • Add salt to your water softener as needed.
  • Add water to unused drains to prevent them from drying out.
  • Turn water off to outside taps and disconnect garden hoses (in fall and reconnect in spring).


This is where life happens and often it is the slow process of wear and tear that erodes the condition of the interior of the home.  Often it takes a fresh set of eyes to notice the changes or planned observations that prevent items in the house from wearing out.  Wear and tear on carpet often goes unnoticed or the finish on the ceiling becomes faded, or the doors and door jambs have many scratches and nicks on them. Maintenance can repair and refresh these items that one does not notice right away. Some tasks related to interior maintenance include:

  • Lube door hinges and window operators.
  • Check ceiling fans to make sure they are securely fastened to the ceiling and operate smoothly.
  • Observe the walls and ceilings look for damage and decide when walls need to be repaired or repainted.  Water stains on the ceiling need to be investigated further and repaired.
  • Check handrails and grab bars to ensure they are fastened securely to the walls
  • Test all smoke and CO detectors to make sure they are connected and all sound at the same time. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) suggests testing your alarms monthly and replacing the detectors every 10 years.
  • In the basement look for evidence of leaks especially in the spring.
  • Perform a thorough cleaning twice a year. This cleaning will help with the overall air quality in the building and give you a chance to inspect items that are not usually visible.  You may notice a moldy area on the wall behind a couch from a slow leak somewhere nearby.
  • Make appointments to have fire safety equipment tested; however, continue to observe the gauges on fire extinguishers so that they are ready to go when needed.
  • Plan for a commercial carpet cleaning annually or every 18 months.
  • Check the operation of all cabinet doors and drawers for smooth opening and closing.
  • Make sure all contact information is up to date, so that when something is needed there is a number to call.



Most mechanical repairs should be left to the professionals.  Although, it is a good idea to be knowledgeable of how the systems work so that it is easier to determine if the system is not functioning as it should and what type of repair is needed. 

Remember to:

  • Replace furnace filters, clean HRV filters and clean range hood filters on a regular basis.
  • Test the exhaust fans to make sure they are working properly.  The fan should be able to hold up one square of toilet paper.
  • Clean dryer ducts and dryer lint traps with a vacuum yearly.
  • Vacuum the fridge coil and electric baseboard heaters to remove dust from the heating element.
  • Boilers – record the value on gauges monthly; have a professional inspect the operation of the boiler, pumps, safety devices and inline filters annually.
  • Make sure all vents are clear of snow and debris.
  • When calling a technician for repairs provide the make and model number of the equipment and have the owner’s manual available as it may contain specific information.

Maintenance, repairs and renovations are a normal part of home ownership.  Since Saskatchewan seasons can be so extreme many maintenance tasks will need to be done seasonally.  It is my intention that the tips and suggestions that I have provided will assist you in the task of maintaining your building.  

A user friendly maintenance checklist is available for downloading from the Members Resource section of the SARC website. Please feel free to edit it to suit your specific needs as you perform maintenance in your building.

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