By: Calli Schmidt/NAHB.org
Your home may be the biggest investment you will ever make. Taking good care of it with regular maintenance is necessary to maintain its value and ensure it will provide a comfortable, safe shelter for you and your family for a long time.
Here is a home maintenance quiz that will test your maintenance knowledge. While this quiz does not address every home maintenance project, it does provide helpful tips and reminders for chores you may have overlooked.
1. How often do forced-air furnace filters need to be changed?
At least every three months during the heating season.
2. What part of the faucet usually needs to be replaced when you have a water leak?
3. Should you run hot or cold water through your garbage disposal?
4. How often should the moving parts of garage doors be oiled?
Every three months.
5. What tools can you use to unclog your drains?
A plunger and a plumber’s snake.
6. What tool can be used to unclog a toilet?
Coil spring-steel auger.
7. What faucet part needs to be cleaned every three to four months?
Aerator — the screen inside the end of the faucet.
8. What can you use for traction on icy sidewalks, steps and driveways?
Cat litter or sand — never use salt because it damages the pavement.
9. Where should the fire in your fireplace be built?
On the andirons or grate, never on the fireplace floor.
10. What will prevent soot and add color to the fire in your fireplace?
Throw in a handful of salt.
11. Where should your firewood be stored?
Outside, away from your house and not directly on the ground.
12. What helps keep unpainted concrete floors easy to keep clean?
13. What should you use to clean unpainted concrete floors?
A solution of 4 to 6 tablespoons of washing soda in a gallon of hot water. Mix scouring powder to the solution for tough jobs.
14. When can you clean hardwood floors with water?
When the floors have a polyurethane finish.
15. Do hardwood floors need to be waxed?
Hardwood floors that do not have a polyurethane finish probably will need to be waxed periodically. Use liquid or paste “spirit” wax.
16. What is the best polish for vinyl floors?
Water emulsion wax.
17. When is basement condensation at its maximum?
In new homes because gallons of water went into the concrete of basement walls.
18. Why should noisy water pipes be fixed promptly?
The condition that causes noisy pipes may be accompanied by vibration that can cause fittings to loosen and leak.
19. Why should frozen pipes be thawed slowly?
Frozen pipes should be thawed slowly to prevent the formation of steam, which could cause the pipe to burst.
20. How often should your roof be inspected?
A qualified roofer should inspect your roof every three years.
21. What should be regularly checked on your security system?
The alarms and circuit breakers should be checked to make sure they are in working order and the sensors should be inspected one by one.
22. To ensure your safety, what household equipment uses batteries that must be checked regularly to make sure they are operable?
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
23. What do you use to fill nail holes and cracks in plaster walls and gypsum wallboard?
24. What is the white powdery substance that develops on masonry walls?
Efflorescence sometimes appears on masonry walls. It is crystallized soluble salts that can be removed by scrubbing with water and a stiff brush.
25. At what temperature should your water heater be set?
120 degrees Fahrenheit
26. How often do skylights need to be inspected?
Skylights should be inspected each time your roof is inspected so leaks don’t develop from cracks and interruptions around its seals, caulking and flashings.
27. What is a simple solution you can use to wash extremely dirty exterior windows?
A solution of equal parts vinegar and water or 3 tablespoons of denatured alcohol per quart of warm water. Use a piece of crumpled newspaper to wash the glass to avoid lint left behind by paper towels.
28. What can you use to help a window slide easily?
Rub the channel with a piece of paraffin.
29. What should you look for when you inspect your siding yearly?
Determine if wood-sided homes need to be repainted; check to see if the caulking around the windows and doors has split and cracked, and replace the caulk; clean the mildew; trim shrubbery away so it does not touch the siding.