Preventative Maintenance Checklist

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Maintaining an old house can seem like a full time job at times. Old homes were built with materials and in a manner that requires regular maintenance. While this maintenance requires time it is ultimately a more affordable option than today’s home design of replacement rather than repair.

Regular Inspections

Regularly inspecting your old house is a must. You’ll find little issues to fix before they become big issues that require big time and money. Follow these inspection schedules and you’ll steer clear of most catastrophes that sneak up on other homeowners.

If you have an old house the best way to keep your repair costs down is by practicing preventative maintenance measures throughout the year. And how do you know when you need to do that maintenance? That’s what we’ll talk about here.


6-Month Inspections

  • Clean gutters and downspouts of leaves and debris
  • Inspect roofing materials (shingles, flashing, gutters, fascia) for any damage
  • Add 1/2 cup white vinegar to HVAC condensate line to prevent mildew buildup
  • Clean refrigerator coils
  • Change air filters every 3-6 months


1-Year Inspections
  • Touch up any chipped/missing exterior paint
  • Check for any areas of standing water on or around house
  • Inspect historic windows for any loose or missing glazing putty and any signs of rot
  • Check chimney cap for any damage or cracks
  • Keep all branches away from house and roof to prevent rot or wind damage
  • Inspect for any gaps in siding


This list is pretty simple and straight forward, but it has the power to save you buckets of money and hassle. Set aside one Sunday every six months and take inventory of your biggest investment. If you find any of these issues resolve them quickly and you’ll prevent them from becoming subject to the mushroom effect.

You can also see the presentation I did for Tampa Preservation regarding Preventative Maintenance right here.


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by Scott Sidler

I'm a historic preservationist and licensed contractor. I help old house lovers understand & restore their homes so they can enjoy the history and character that surrounds them more everyday! When not working, writing or teaching about old houses I spend most of my time fixing up my own 1929 bungalow with my wife Delores and sons Charley and Jude.


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