We don’t think twice about having our cars regularly serviced. Why don’t we do the same with our homes? San Francisco architect Malcolm Davies of Malcolm Davis Architecture is a stickler for home maintenance. Here, he shares how to look after your living quarters—and save money in the long run.

Photo by Bruce Damonte via Mark Reilly Architecture

Davis recommends having your gutters cleaned in August, before the rainy season. Another good time to get them cleared is late fall, when gutters are often filled with fallen leaves.

Photo by Rasmus Norlander, courtesy of Johannes Norlander Arkitektur

"If you have wires going into the house, such as for cable or telephone, to keep them dry, it’s better for them to come up through a hole not down."

Photo by James Brittain

"On the exterior of your house, keep everything six to eight inches away from the walls. A lot of people plant right up to the edge of the house, but you need to keep soil and flowers away to avoid rot. Instead, replace soil with gravel or a similar drainage solution."

Photo by Jim Powell

Photo by Marili Forastieri

"Check for any cracks in windows and for peeling paint. If water gets into a frame, it can rot the jamb. In double-paned windows, when the paint starts peeling on the outside, water can get in between the glass and the frame and make it fog."

Photo via the Finnish Design Shop

Remember to check your smoke detectors. They are there for a reason.

Photo by David Price, courtesy of Harper Collins

"If you have a chimney and burn soft woods, this can create a lot of creosote that can build up over time and be a fire hazard. Get the chimney inspected."

"Clean the filters on the vent hood in the kitchen–grease buildup can lead to a fire. This can be as easy as placing the filters in the dishwasher."

Photo by Justine Hand