Small Home Maintenance: A Checklist To Avoid Huge Repairs

Owning a detached house feels like a dream for many people as real estate prices remain high, particularly in countries like Canada and the United States.

In 2022, the average cost of a new home in the United States stood at $540,000. While in Canada, the average sold price of a home reached $650,140 in August 2023.

These steep prices have led to the popularity of tiny homes, which are much more affordable than traditional houses or apartments. Despite their smaller size, they still require proper maintenance, like all residential buildings.

This article will delve into the value of proper home maintenance and the specific areas homeowners should inspect regularly.

Tools to Get Your Home Improvement Project Started

The Cost of Neglecting Maintenance

Neglecting home maintenance may seem like a minor issue at first, especially in smaller homes. However, the longer you postpone inspection and maintenance tasks, the higher the cost will become once you face these repairs.

 Many homeowners underestimate the impact of putting off maintenance tasks. Here are some ways neglecting maintenance can impact your tiny home and wallet:

High repair costs

One of the most noticeable effects of neglecting maintenance is the exponential increase in repair costs. Minor issues you could have easily fixed with routine maintenance can skyrocket into significant problems that demand extensive repairs and replacement.

For example, a small leak in the roof can cause water damage, mold growth, and structural issues if left unattended. Repairing a major leak can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars compared to the minor expense of patching a small leak in its early stages.

Health and safety risks

Poor home maintenance can also cause health and safety risks to the people in your home. 

For example, failing to service your HVAC system can cause issues like poor indoor air quality and even carbon monoxide leaks. Ignoring leaks can lead to mold growth, which can also cause respiratory problems.

Stress and inconvenience

Living in a small home with unresolved maintenance issues can be incredibly stressful and inconvenient. Leaky roofs, malfunctioning electrical systems, or a broken heating system can disrupt your daily life and lead to uncomfortable living conditions.

Indoor Maintenance Checklist

You and your family likely spend most of your time indoors at home. Therefore, paying close attention to your home’s indoor components and ensuring proper and regular maintenance is essential.

Here are some of the main indoor components that require your attention:


Your home’s foundation is what keeps it stable through the years. Over time, the ground may shift underneath your home, affecting its structural integrity. Weather conditions or temperature changes can also impact your home’s stability.

It’s a good idea to check your foundation at least twice a year for cracks or damages. Pay close attention to cracks that are thicker than 1/8 of an inch.


Water damage is a widespread and costly problem in homes. It could damage the home’s structural integrity and even exacerbate mold growth, which can cause an entire host of structural and health issues.

Regularly check all plumbing fixtures for leaks and issues. A quick inspection at least once every three months can help you identify plumbing problems in their early stages. Make sure to deep-clean your drains to prevent clogs. 

If you end up with a bigger problem than anticipated, you can always call an emergency plumber in Toronto or your local area. They can help you manage existing problems and offer advice to prevent similar issues in the future.

Electrical system

A well-functioning electrical system is essential in one’s daily life since most, if not all, home appliances require electricity to function. 

Homeowners must know the location of their fuse box or circuit breaker to address potential problems. These boxes are usually found in low-traffic areas of the house, like utility closets, garages, or basements.

Keep your fuse box’s cover closed at all times. Check it periodically every couple of months to detect signs of moisture, rust, or dirt, which can affect your home’s electrical system. Aside from power problems, faulty wiring can increase the risk of house fires.


A heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system is critical for all homes in regions with a wide range of temperature changes throughout the seasons.

While HVAC systems in tiny homes are usually less complex due to the limited space, they still require proper maintenance. An efficient HVAC system helps ensure good air circulation and comfortable indoor temperatures.

Make sure to replace your filters every one to three months, depending on your unit. Consider scheduling a tune-up or maintenance appointment with a professional to avoid issues.

Also Read: 3 Critical HVAC Services and Why You Need A Professional

Water heater

Long-term water heater usage causes sediment to settle and build at the bottom. When left unchecked, these sediments could corrode the unit and its components, causing it to break down and have a shorter lifespan.

Replacing a water heater can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. Proper maintenance and cleaning can ensure your unit lasts longer and serves your home for years.

Flush and clean your water heater annually to eliminate the sediment that settles at the bottom. Drain your unit of its remaining water, open your cold water supply, and stir the sediment buildup. Repeat this process until the draining water runs clear.

Aside from cleaning your unit, check for signs of corrosion and other damages that can affect its performance.

Dryer vent

Each time you run your dryer, lint and dust can accumulate in the machine’s vents. This process helps further clean your clothes, but the heavy buildup of these substances can become a fire risk.

Clean your dryer vent at least once a year. If you have a large household or do lots of laundry, it’s essential to do this cleanup more frequently. Not only will it minimize the risk of a fire, but it can also improve your dryer’s energy efficiency.

Stove and hood vents

The more you use your stoves, the more grease and residue accumulate on its hood. This buildup can cause house fires if left unattended. Ten percent of house fires in Canada happened during cooking.

Clean your vent screens and stove hoods to minimize grease buildup. Take out your range hood filter and rinse it in soapy water to remove oil and grease. 


Refrigerator coils in good condition are critical to maintaining your refrigerator’s energy efficiency. Make sure to clean and vacuum them at least twice a year to minimize dust buildup. 

Cleaning refrigerator coils can help improve cooling capabilities and reduce electricity bills.

Also Read: How to Move a Refrigerator Without Breaking Your Back

Outdoor Maintenance Checklist

While the charm of small spaces often lies in their simplicity, maintaining your tiny home’s exterior is essential for its longevity and comfort. 

Here are some critical outdoor areas you need to consider when maintaining your tiny home:


Poor roof maintenance can lead to deterioration and other problems like mold and moss buildup, damaged shingles, etc. These problems can make it easier for water to seep through and cause leaks. When not addressed, these issues can affect your home’s structural integrity and become costly to fix.

Begin by inspecting your roof regularly, especially after severe weather events. Look for damaged shingles and signs of wear and tear.

If you find debris like leaves and branches, remove them. This step can help prevent clogs and water damage. 


Leaves, twigs, and various debris can accumulate in your gutters. Tiny homes often have smaller gutters, making them prone to clogging. Regularly clean gutters and spouts to prevent water damage and mold growth.

Aside from preventing clogs, it’s also essential to check the structure of your gutters. Check for any damage or rust, and repair or replace damaged sections promptly.


Your house’s siding acts as a protective barrier against outside elements like the weather, physical impacts, and other intrusive elements. Keeping it clean and damage-free helps protect your home and improve its longevity.

Clean your siding to prevent the buildup of dirt and mildew. For wood siding, check for rot and apply paint or sealant as needed. 

Inspect for cracks, holes, or loose panels. Repair or replace damaged siding to maintain your home’s integrity.

Customize Your Checklist

Each home is unique. You can change your home maintenance checklist to accommodate your home’s unique needs and characteristics.

Maintaining a home requires performing small or menial tasks and repairs more frequently. However, these efforts help you save money in the long run, allowing you to enjoy your home and live comfortably.

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