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How do I make sure my home stays in tip-top shape?

Springtime is here, and it has brought its normal swarm of home sales. Even if you’re not looking to sell your home, now is a great time to check these areas of your home, and make sure they are maintained well. These are common home inspection items in the inspections I’ve been attending lately. If your house was inspected today, would it pass?

Roof and Gutters

Walk around the outside of your house. How is the roof looking? Are there loose shingles? Do you see indentations in the roof? If you live on a lot with mature trees, are those trees hanging over your roof? If so, it might be time to trim those branches.

Also check your gutters. Do you see areas where the gutters need to be repaired or replaced? Again, if you live on a lot with mature trees, it might be time to clean those gutters.

Need more details? Check Prolong the Lifespan of your Roof.


Walk through your house, and check each of your windows. Open the window and look at the sash underneath. This also will tell you whether the hardware is still in good shape. While you are there, clean the window casing.

In addition, look for condensation on your window panes. This can be a sign of a window seal that has failed and should be replaced.

For further information, check Tips for Regular Window Maintenance.


Water is the enemy of all homeowners. Whether it’s water in the basement, water from the foundation, water from the roof, or water from within the house, you want to avoid having water issues in your house. For more detail on how to prevent water from entering your home, check this link: How to Prevent Water Damage.

Some key things to check:

  • Plumbing fixtures and pipes: Are any of your plumbing fixtures (sinks, showerheads, etc) leaking? Even a slow leak can lead to a big problem in the future. Look at the pipes under each sink as well to see if there are leaks you need to address.
  • Toilets: Are there any leaks around the base of the toilet? Is the toilet firmly attached to the floor?
  • Grading outside the house: The ground outside the house should slope away from the house, not toward it. Ground and soil can settle over time, so check this now to prevent grading issues from leading to water in your basement.
  • Downspouts: All downspouts should be set up so that water flows away from the house. If the downspouts are coming off at the ends, and not diverting water away from the house, get that resolved now. Downspouts should be at least 5-10′ long.
  • Basement: While you’re at it, check your basement for any dampness or signs of water entering the basement. If you have a sump pump, test it to make sure it’s working. Also check any of the pipes in the basement for signs of leaks and corrosion.

Heating and Cooling

Pop quiz: How many of you change your air conditioner (AC) filter regularly? If not, go buy a year’s supply today and change the filter.

Outside of changing your filter, you should regularly check your AC and furnace, or hire a licensed contractor to do so. Several contractors in the area offer maintenance plans, which may also be combined with duct cleaning. For more details on what the regular maintenance can include, check out some area vendors: HVAC Maintenance.

Even if your furnace and AC are working, don’t forget to set up your regular duct cleaning and other maintenance. Performing these basic tasks will add years of life to your AC and furnace.

Check out my vendor list for contractors in Des Moines area.