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Updated: Jun 26, 2021


When moving into a home, there are some things to take care of. The Home Set-up deals with things that are done just once. The Home Maintenance Program deals with regular activities.

Home Set-up

1. Gutters and Grading – Make sure gutters (eavestroughs) are clear and the ground around the home slopes down away from the home to help keep the basement or crawlspace dry.

2. Locks – Change the locks on all the doors. Deadbolts improve security and may reduce insurance costs.

3. Smoke Detectors – Install or replace as needed. Usually one is required on every floor level, near the sleeping areas. Smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years, and it is difficult to know how old the existing smoke detectors are. We recommend replacing them all. We strongly recommend photoelectric rather than ionization type detectors.

4. Carbon Monoxide Detectors – Provide according to manufacturer’s recommendations and local requirements, typically near every sleeping area.

5. Electrical Circuits – Label the circuits in the electrical panel, so you can shut off the right fuse or breaker quickly. If the panel is already labelled, verify that the labelling is correct.

6. Heating and Air-Conditioning Systems – Have these inspected and serviced. We recommend setting up a service contract to ensure the equipment is properly maintained. It makes sense to protect your investment in these expensive systems.

7. Duct Cleaning – This should be done shortly after moving in, and again after renovations. With a properly maintained air filtration system, duct cleaning is not required on a regular basis.

8. Wood Burning Appliances – Have the chimney inspected and swept before using.

9. Main Shutoffs – Find and mark the main shutoff for the heating, electrical and plumbing systems. You need to be able to shut things off quickly in an emergency.

10. Well Water – If the home is on a private water system, the well water should be tested by sending a sample to a lab. Some municipalities have a testing program in place. After this initial test, water quality should be tested at least 3 times every year.

11. Backwater Valve – If the home is on a municipal sewage system, inspect the backwater valve to prevent sewage backup. If the home does not have a backwater valve, consider installing one. Municipal grants and/or home insurance discounts may be available.

12. Septic System – If the home is on a private sewage system, a specialist should inspect the system. Septic systems need to be pumped out every 3 to 5 years.

13. Sump Pump – Test to make sure it will operate when needed. Consider installing a secondary pump with backup power supply for use in case of power outage. A high water level alarm should also be considered.

14. Clothes Washing Machines, Dishwashers, Refrigerators – Use braided steel hoses rather than rubber hoses for connecting the supply piping. This reduces the risk of flooding due to a ruptured hose.

15. Clothes Dryers – Use smooth walled (not corrugated foil or plastic) metal exhaust ducts to vent dryers outdoors. Keep the runs as short and straight as possible.

16. Fire Extinguishers – Provide at least one on every floor. The fire extinguisher near the kitchen should be suitable for grease fires.

17. Fire Escape Routes – Plan fire escape routes from the upper stories. Obtain rope ladders if necessary.

Home Maintenance Program

Good maintenance protects your investment, enhances comfort, extends life expectancies and reduces your costs. It makes great sense. Some homeowners do the maintenance themselves, and others get help with


1. Gutters (Eavestroughs) – Clean to extend their life and keep the basement/crawlspace dry.