One part Bob Vila, two parts clueless
July 22, 2013 1:05 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking to develop a good maintenance schedule for my new old home. It was built in 1930, radiator heat, newish boiler and water heater. Beyond the standard cleaning, what kinds of monthly, yearly, semi-yearly things should I be doing to make sure it doesn't fall apart?
posted by Think_Long to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I have my modern HVAC system looked at twice per year. I spend $220 per year and a technician comes out and does all the stuff it needs, makes sure it's all in working order and replaces the filter etc. If something needs fixing he lets me know and then I get it fixed.

Plumbing and gas...not the things a regular person should mess with.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:15 PM on July 22, 2013

This looks like a useful one here.
As does this one.

Although I didn't see anything on either one regarding cleaning your roof. We get a lot of moss growth that needs scrubbing off once per year to prevent damage to the shingles. I don't know if that's an issue in your neck of the woods.

I'd also add to check for signs of leaks on the ceiling inside around chimney/stovepipe/windows. We have a wood stove and had to reseal around where the stove pipe exited the roof.

A lot of the maintenance items seem to be along the lines of stop and really look at all the parts of your house on a regular basis. I think it's easy to get used to seeing little cracks or chips or whatever that just become part of the scenery. If they aren't dealt with, they become bigger and more expensive problems later.
posted by Beti at 1:32 PM on July 22, 2013

Best answer: We have a 1930s home as well, so there is much to be done. Our house hasn't really been updated much over the years - so here is how we maintain our biggest issues.

If you have a slate roof, check to see if shingles are falling/detaching every time you come up the drive way.

We bleed our radiators every 2 years.

Do you have the original windows? Make sure your glazing is in good condition, and oil it every 2-3 years.

Get on a ladder after each winter and take a look at your chimney. Does it need to be repointed? (same thing for general brick work in the area).

Is your basement finished? Does it have parging? During the summer months - feel around the edges of your basement to make sure your parging is holding strong, and not deteriorating and holding onto moisture.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 1:46 PM on July 22, 2013

Steam heat or hot water heat (e.g., you don't bleed steam radiators)?
posted by she's not there at 2:08 PM on July 22, 2013

There's a Web *.0 site for this: Brightnest.
posted by notyou at 2:09 PM on July 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

I have my gutters cleaned 3X per year.

I get my trees pruned annually, and the arborist checks them all for soundness and safety I had the neighbors 40 ft pine tree fall across the back yard, so this is important.

You can have an energy audit done, call your local utilities, they can see if you're losing heat or cool through the house and you may be eligible for federal, state and local programs to upgrade the energy efficiency through your home.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:20 PM on July 22, 2013

Best answer: Off the top of my head:

Inside mechanicals:

- drain the scale out of the boiler once or twice a year.
- same thing for the water heater.
- check the anode rod on the water heater once a year. Note how quickly is it disintegrating and plan for replacement as needed.
- make sure all the relatively unused drains get flushed out once or twice a year. Better to find out that a drain is clogged when you test it, then when it is flooding.
- make sure any sump pumps work properly
- open up the faucet aerators once a year and clean out the gunk.
- maintain the well water system properly, if you have one.
- same for water softener.
- arrange for cleaning of grease traps as needed. it depends on your usage and their size.
- check and repair any caulking around sinks, tubs and toilets yearly.


- once a year, get on a ladder and check all the windows. Make sure their paint is touched up and any caulking is intact and doing its job.
- same thing for the doors.
- while you are up there, wash the windows.
- clean the gutters in the spring and as many times as necessary during the fall
- check the all the seals on the doors and windows and make sure they are intact.
- hose down and/or wash the areas of the house that don't get regular rain.
- check around the foundation for any areas where water appears to have been standing. If it is a landscaping area, regrade it to slope away. If it is a wood deck, have it checked and releveled. If it is concrete, make sure the joint is sealed with the appropriate sealer. Or have it repaired (mudjacking) or replaced if it is sagging.

If you have an air conditioner, backflush the outside coils at least once a year, and weekly if or when you have a floating fuzzball season. Make sure the drain runs freely on the inside coil, and have it cleaned if it is dirty. Change the filters more often than you think should be necessary. Hepa types of filters need to be changed more often, because they catch more dirt.
posted by gjc at 6:02 AM on July 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

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