Home maintenance is apparently one of the most neglected tasks required of homeowners.

Hi, my name is Dariusz Rudnicki Google+ profile and I’ve been working almost 13 years as an Illinois home inspector (retired from this profession as of December 2010). The above “Home maintenance…” statement is based on almost 5000 of evaluated properties, and consultation with thousands of home owners hardly performing any home maintenance.

I’m sure that you’re no different, you know that there’s nothing unusual about not maintaining our homes for several months, even years. Many of us are acting this way because we simply have no time to check the problem, not until it becomes too annoying to continue living with it.

Many homeowners are not aware how critical some areas in our homes are, and how even the most basic home maintenance could have a significant impact on our health and safety.

Have you by any chance been in your house attic or crawlspace lately?

Believe it or not, but many people don’t even realize that there’s an attic and / or a crawlspace – those two areas should be on your home maintenance priority list. Even more – you’ll find answers to several of your home maintenance problems in those areas.

House maintenance - mold in the atticHouse maintenance - clogged attic ventsHouse maintenance - flooded crawlspaceSimple misunderstanding of the attic ventilation and issues with crawlspace drainage / crawlspace ventilation could create a perfect mold growing environment. Eliminating that musty smell in your house is sometimes the answer to your allergy problems. But without looking into those areas, you won’t know …

Tip: Roof replacement is one of the more expensive house remodeling projects – check your attic before calling a roofing contractor. If it is mold contaminated, replacing sections or even entire decking might be cheaper than hiring mold remediation company – with heavy contamination this could double the cost of a roof replacement.

House maintenance - exposed incandescent light bulb is not permitted, too close to storage, poses fire hazard

House maintenance - have smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors installed on every floor, in all bedrooms, hallways, staircases, and test them on regular basesHouse maintenance - install GFCI receptacles in required locationsBecause your safety partially depends on home maintenance, no section of your home should be ever excluded from this routine… how about your closet light fixture?

  • Did a fire ever cross your mind while replacing a burned out clothes closet light bulb?
  • Is it maybe an old pull-chain type fixture with an exposed light bulb?

If you packed your top shelf with old, unused clothing and kids stuffed animals – see how close they are from the light bulb – maybe just a fire away.

They save lives and should be on top of your home maintenance schedule punch list, even if they are the only item … well, throw a GFCI outlet next to it – it is your priceless life, and the price for that minimum safety is so low.

House Remodeling and House Repairs

Many hazardous situations are created when the homeowner starts to perform home maintenance related repairs or remodeling without even basic or too little knowledge about what he’s doing.

Maybe it is your first personal, self executed idea, your own home remodeling project, and all you need is a little advice. Just ask – if you can’t find the information you’re looking for in my articles, contact home maintenance – it’s FREE, and I’ll get you an answer.  To submit pictures with your question, use Virtual Help.

  • Make sure that your home repairs are safe and comply with a current local building code.

House maintenance - every water heater TPR valve requires discharge pipe, it's a safety hazard without itHouse maintenance - new water heater, improperly installed vent pipeCan you imagine that almost every single water heater installation that I see, claimed to be performed by a homeowner or even a professional has serious and hazardous safety issues.

Huge source of safety hazards are also contractors hired for house remodeling projects – they often forget that building codes change every few years. They don’t realize that something considered safe in the past or assumed as safe might be a life-threatening issue today.

  • Always check the background of the professional you’re hiring for home repairs or remodeling project, ask for referrals.

Chicago real estate / new and gut-rehabbed properties issues

I personally consider current situation of Chicago new home construction and gut-rehabbed properties / conversion condos as scary and depressing.  I’m not sure about other large cities, but Chicago homeowners are suffering, often without even knowing about it.

Several years of booming real estate business created enormous number of “construction companies”, often based on workers that became “the professionals” overnight.

Quality of those newly constructed homes, “professionally” gut-rehabbed properties, remodeled condos, and conversion condos declined significantly because of the huge demand – everything used to sell.

House maintenance - improper type of the vent pipe connector used on WHHouse maintenance - firewall violation in multi-family unit building - large gaps around air ducts and vent pipes in furnace closetSo if you recently became a homeowner and only have cosmetic issues – consider yourself lucky, because living in many of those properties without correcting serious safety hazards … well, it’s not safe.

It’s obvious that Chicago building department / code enforcement division simply couldn’t keep-up with the developers. After issuing construction permits … failed in many cases to send a building inspector to the site. This is of course based only on my home inspections … Let me know how your Chicago property is doing, check Chicago condo safety top 10 list.

  • If you’re in a process of buying real estate – have it inspected before the purchase.

No matter how little of home maintenance, property repairs or home remodeling you’ll ever do – make sure that it is performed properly.

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