What is Preventive Maintenance?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Preventive or preventative maintenance is routine maintenance which is designed to prevent the need for more costly repairs. By regularly engaging in activities which contribute to the upkeep of a home, a homeowner may be able to sidestep serious problems which arise as a result of neglect, and more expensive maintenance can be delayed. Many people regard preventive maintenance as a critical part of caring for a home, and this practice is generally viewed as cost effective, sound, and highly advisable for homeowners. Evidence of regular maintenance can also increase the resale value of a home, by assuring buyers that the home was well cared-for.

Preventive maintenance aims to eliminate the need for future repairs.
Preventive maintenance aims to eliminate the need for future repairs.

Any number of things can fall under preventive maintenance. On the outside of the home, things like cleaning the gutters, oiling decks, re-painting a home and trim regularly, clearing brush and plants away from the side of the home, and checking the condition of drains and vents could all be considered preventive care. Each of these activities is designed to reduce the risk of damage to a home, keeping the home in good condition.

Oil changes are part of a car's preventative maintenance.
Oil changes are part of a car's preventative maintenance.

On the inside of a home, wrapping pipes, steam cleaning carpets, replacing weather stripping, stripping and re-waxing floors, bleeding the heaters, blowing off boiler pressure, and similar activities are all a part of preventive maintenance. While none of these things are strictly necessary, performing them prolongs the life of the house and its components, helps the house run more efficiently, and reduces the risk of a dangerous problem or accident, such as a boiler explosion.

Preventive maintenance on railroad tracks can help avoid a train derailment.
Preventive maintenance on railroad tracks can help avoid a train derailment.

Many people have a preventive maintenance schedule, which breaks up various tasks over the course of the year. By setting up a schedule, people ensure that each task is performed on a regular basis, and they also ensure that they are never overloaded with routine maintenance activities. Spring and fall tend to be prime times for preventive maintenance, as people may already be doing things to prepare the house for the change of seasons. It is possible to find preventive maintenance guides which include generic calendars in some home supply stores.

Preventive maintenance may include steam cleaning carpets.
Preventive maintenance may include steam cleaning carpets.

In addition to being valuable in the case of homes and other structures, preventive maintenance also extends the life of a car, and makes caring for a garden easier. In the case of a car, for example, regular oil changes, alignments, and tuneups prevent the emergence of costly car problems. Gardens benefit from regular pruning, mulching, fertilizing, and other routine tasks which promote the healthy and even growth of plants.

Staining decks is a form of preventive maintenance.
Staining decks is a form of preventive maintenance.
Arc welding may be performed as part of a preventive maintenance plan in an industrial setting.
Arc welding may be performed as part of a preventive maintenance plan in an industrial setting.
Car tire alignments are a form of preventive maintenance.
Car tire alignments are a form of preventive maintenance.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

anon990728

Does a PM always necessitates a cyclic overhaul which is time consuming & often expensive?

sherlock87

People can take care of themselves in a preventative maintenance sort of mindset as well. Many doctors talk about things like a healthy diet, regular exercise, and avoiding excess as ways to prevent injury and illness and thus maintain your health- very similar to the way you might take good care of your house to maintain its "health" and condition.

anon132270

what is the precaution of preventive maintenance?

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