By Shannon Roxborough
Cold weather has fully set in, and now is the ideal time for your house to have a once-over, before the snow, ice and deep freeze arrives. This is the second installment, here’s a roundup of everything interior items that should checked out, watched closely or repaired.
-Check for loose door hinges and doorknobs.
-Inspect the walls and floors for popped nails, loose boards, loose tiles and soft spots that could be a sign of problems.
-Examine ceilings for stains, which could indicate a roof or plumbing leak.
-Make sure ceiling fans and still secure and haven’t worked their way loose with use.
-Make sure ceilings, floors and areas above doors aren’t sagging or cracked in new places, which could mean a foundation or other structural issue.
-Check that the stair newel post is sturdy and note any loose banisters or balusters.
-Use a flashlight to check out the fireplace and up the chimney, looking for loose bricks, cracks, signs of animal nests, or excess soot that could cause a chimney fire. Be sure the damper works properly.
-Test smoke and CO detectors and replace batteries as needed.
-Look for loose outlet covers, receptacles, and boxes.
-Check outlets and the main panel for scorch marks, which could be a sign of loose or damaged wiring.
–Test all GFCI outlets by plugging in a lamp or radio then hitting the test and reset buttons to make sure they work.
-Check pipes and shutoff valves for signs of rust, corrosion or leaks.
-Check the water pressure. Low pressure could indicate buildup in the line, faucet aerator or shower head.
-Check drains for speed of drainage. A slow drain may have a clog or a blocked vent pipe.
-Flush the toilets to make sure they operate properly and stop running. If not, open the tank and look for worn or damage parts.
-Drain the hot water heater to remove sediment or hire a professional to do it for you.
-Look for loose or cracked tiles in the shower or around sinks.
-Check the condition of caulk around the tub and shower and check for signs of mildew.
-Slide open and close shower doors to check them for sticking, rust or obstructions. Take a look at the gaskets around the door glass for gaps and tears.
-Turn on the shower and bath faucets and check for leaks around handles and valves. Make sure set screws around escutcheon plates and tight.
-Unscrew the shower head and look for collected sediment in it that could be effecting water pressure.
-Examine vent fans for obstructions or dust and clean them.
-Check washer hoses for signs of aging (cracks or brittleness) or leaks.
-Check dryer vents for tears. Remove vent line and vacuum or brush out lint in hose. Be sure to also to so around the lint screen inside unit.
-Check registers and vents for loose or missing covers and screws.
-Check around radiators for leaks or floor damage.
-Use a flashlight to look into the furnace flue and for soot buildup or corrosion. Tap on it to see if rust falls. It it does, there may be an issue with condensation, which is caused by an inefficient unit. Have a HVAC contractor to service the system.
-Inspect the furnace for overall deterioration, rust, loose parts and other sources of potential problems.
-Test sink drainage and look for signs of faucet leaks.
-Look at all the cabinet doors and drawers to make sure they open and close properly. Check for loose hinges or sticking drawer slides.
-Turn on the garbage disposal and listen for signs of obstructions and motor problems.
-Try the stove burners for proper operation.
-Check the oven door gasket for signs of wear and tear.
-Make sure the gas shutoff valve is working. It should be able to turn completely (until it’s completely perpendicular to the pipe).
-Open the dishwasher and spin and lift the washer arm by manually to make sure it isn’t stuck. Be sure that nothing has dislodged the drain hose (it should arc up to prevent backwash from the drain into the dishwasher).
-Look for signs of leaking under and around the dishwasher.
-Look around the attic space during daylight hours, with the lights turned off. Look for holes in the roofing that let light in.
-Examine joists and rafters for structural damage.
-Inspect vents for gaps.
-Check out fan motors for frayed wiring or loose screws.
-Check insulation for damage or damp spots.
Shannon Roxborough is a widely published freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in numerous national magazines, newspapers and websites. An avid home improvement enthusiast, he has more than a decade of DIY experience and previously ran a property maintenance business.