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Home Maintenance Checklist

 

Exterior Maintenance

o  Gutters & Downspouts:  Remove leaves and debris, check for proper drainage. You can do this by using a hose to check proper angle of gutter also if there is any objects in the downspout(s).

o  Siding: Clean siding either by a hose or pressure washer, checking wood for possible damage, or if you horizontal siding checking for a bow or loose pieces, loose material should be scraped sanded primed and painted.

o  Exterior caulking: Inspect caulking around windows and doors, also where pipes or fixtures come out of the house, as well as the seams on horizontal siding where they butt together. Removing old caulk first then clean area and re-caulk.

o  Roof: Inspect roof for damage to roof material, including skylights, vents, chimney ridge cap, and side walls.

o  A/C unit: That big thing outside that you notice running on hot days, well keeping that cleaned as well helps the unit run efficiently and last longer. You can simply use dish soap, or a mild degreaser in one of those garden pump sprayer(s), filled with water do this by spraying it into the a/c unit allowing to soak for 5-10 min, then use a garden hose to wash clean.

o  Weather stripping:  Inspect around doors, patio sliders, and pet doors and replace if any is worn or damaged. Use the dollar bill method between door and seal.

o  Foundation:  Check for crack’s, and or deteriorating concrete or brick, brick mortar may be loose or mortar may not be present, look for vents missing or damaged vent screens.

o  Decks, Porches & Stairs:  Check for loose railings and balusters. Over time the weather deteriorates the stain check to see what the color is, if it looks faded, cracked, or peeling. It may be time to refinish, also check for posts that are water damaged or rotten at the bottom, check stairs for loose or damaged boards, as well as handrails.

o  Landscape:  Turn on the system one zone at a time look for water gushing out or, heads that are not popping up due to grass being over the head.  Replace batteries in the station timer and set for the summer season, check the manifold control boxes, see that there are no leaks.  Boxes are usually having a green top, watch for spiders. In the winter open all valves to let pressure out or you can use an air compressor to blow lines out.

o  Trees:  During the years trees grow and grow, due to the weather trees take a lot of the abuse causing a branch to be weakened and start to split, be sure to check all trees.  If you notice something out the ordinary call a tree arborist. For winter if trees overhang the house you may want to prune or have pruned your gutters will thank you.

o  Painting: Check for lifting/peeling paint, cracked, or in poor condition, check, siding and trim, around doors and windows. Note houses pre 1978 need to be checked for lead before removing, and scraping.

o  Hose Bibs:  Look at all outdoor faucets for leaks or broken handles, and worn out threads. If you do not have frost proof hose bibs you may want to install or have installed for the winter. Or you can use a hose bib cover or even pipe wrap.

o  Hoses: Store hoses for winter making sure to empty water out, if you roll them up you can use plastic wrap or press and seal, this makes it easy and inexpensive to access them.

 

Interior Maintenance

o  Smoke Detectors:  Should be at least one in every sleeping room, and one or two in the hallway depending on length. Alarms should be checked monthly. If your home does not have a carbon monoxide alarm you might want to consider. These are great asset to the home, for that odorless, colorless, toxic gas, that is often forgotten about.

o  Fire Extinguisher:  Inspect and note if needle is in the green or red, making sure pin is secure and that there is a pin, also check the service tag to see when the next service is due. One thing you can do is turn extinguisher upside down and hit the bottom with a rubber or sand mallet to loosen the chemical powder, after a while the powder will become packed.

o  Chimney/ Gas insert: Check for creosote buildup, and or spider webs, or any other material that could cause a problem.

o  Furnace: Check and or replace return air filter’s usually located in the ceilings or on the wall, keeping these clean will improve the performance and extend the life of the unit. For winter turn on the unit to ensure that it is properly working, so it will be ready for the cold months.

o  Dryer: This is an important task check and clean lint trap, and dryer duct for loose lint or duct to full local home improvement warehouse will have a brush to clean the duct.

o  Refrigerator:  Inspect the back of the unit you might be surprised at the dust and debris back there, you can vacuum this out or use compressed air in a can for the hard to reach. Doing this simple task could save $$, as well as add life to the fridge. Also check the seal on the fridge for cracks and or missing sections you can close a dollar bill and see how freely it moves out. This will be an indicator of a worn seal or a good seal.

o  Plumbing:  Check for leaks in fixtures, also drain pipes, and look for staining of lifting wood material. Also check the toilet for running water you may need a toilet tune up, not sure where the water is leaking in the toilet use some food coloring in the tanks this will tell a person if it is the flapper and not leaking elsewhere, when in doubt call a pro.   

 

o  Garbage Disposal:  This being a commonly used feature, try using a lemon or lemon juice to freshen it up. Also putting ice where the garbage disposal is sharpens the blades.

o  Water Heater:  Draining 3 gallons of water out of it will remove the sediment, doing this increases the life of the heater, also making the unit more efficient, you can also purchase and install a water heater blanket cost is around $20. One more tip setting the temperature on the water heater could save $$ a good range is 90 to 115 degrees, as well keep in mind that you lose 5 degrees when water runs through the pipes to final location.

o  Carpets:  Look to see if the carpet has wrinkles, if so it may need to be restrecthed to prevent a tripping.

o  Flooring: Look for staining or a soft floor, or floor being out of level, and even squeaking when walking over certain areas.

o  Electrical: Tripping the GFCI’s to ensure they are working properly. Checking other plugs for a tight fit when plugging something in. If you notice a loose fit replace immediately or have it replaced.   

Energy Efficiency

 

o  Install a programmable thermostat for your furnace, will help control the temperature and save money in the long run.

o  Install energy efficient light bulbs where necessary, these save lots of energy by using 11 watts to 22 watts, also the light is more relaxing, and not to mention the bulbs last up to 5 years, as well as the price has dropped in the last 2 years.

o  Insulating your water heater and adjusting the temperature setting will continue to add to your savings, not to mention helps the unit perform better.

o  Using a quality furnace air filter improves air flow and assists in the unit to perform at its best, filters should be replaced monthly.

o  Check the level of your attic insulation or have it checked to ensure the proper amount is there, if not you will want to have more added, this is the best way to save energy and money. Not having enough is like leaving the window open.

o  Check to see that windows are properly closing, and that they are caulked on the outside, minimizing air flow.

o  Check door weather stripping and door threshold seal, make sure there is no damage and that there is a proper seal.

o  Pulling out the fridge and vacuum the coils, will help the fridge perform and run more efficiently.

o  Always remember to purchase energy star appliances, when needed, you can look on the yellow label to get an idea of energy cost per year, most of the new appliances have rebates, as well as the utility companies have tax credits, so do your research when buying a new appliance.

 

 

Winter Tips

o  Wrap all pipes that will be exposed to low temperatures, you can use pipe wrap which comes in 5ft lengths and is available in various diameters. Or an insulation type that comes in a roll at various lengths.  If this will not work for those that have wells or any other exposed pipes that get extremely cold they make a low wattage wire that you can wrap around the pipe and plug it in to a wall outlet some manufactures make a kit with a thermostat built into it.  Find what will work for your home and climate, most are readily available at most home centers.

o  Seal all gaps and cracks if applicable, this will stop the air from entering your home, and or replace weather stripping around doors and or windows.

o  Keep an ice melting substance or product around the home or business this will keep the walked on surface non slip.

o  Drain water from hoses and store away for the season, also with sprinklers make sure the water is out of the lines, if your sprinkler system has a shut off valve for draining you’ll want to open it, if your system has auto valves then no worries here, the best tip is to use compressed air to remove the water.  Most commonly for those who have very cold winters. To perform this task find out how many sprinkler heads there are per station, you will have to manually turn on the system and each station, after this is accomplished turn the shut off valve so there is no water entering the sprinkler system. Remove the top of the sprinkler head it should just twist off, and there will be a spring in there and a plastic screen if applicable, do this for all or as many heads as you can, this allows the water to escape, you may have to use a towel or your hand to create a seal at the sprinkler head your working with. You’ll probably not going to get all the water out but will get most of it. Keep in mind that you put the right sprinkler head in the same location. Also turn your timer to rain mode this will keep the programmed settings for the year to come and the sprinkler system will not come on.

o  For those of you who have a chimney, the drafts from it can be unbearable it is always a good idea to keep the damper closed. Although the best way that I have found is to use

A chimney balloon, it eliminates the drafts and the product is reusable click on the link to visit the site and see for you. www.chimneyballoon.us/

o  Prepare an emergency kit:  To include the following

·         Flashlight and extra batteries.

·         Candles, and or lamps with oil.

·         Matches or lighters.

·         Extra blankets, first aid kit, bottled water.

·         Phone numbers of local fire, police, power or electric companies, and phone companies. When in doubt call 911.

·         Cell phone and charger, even the one that will charge the phone from AA batteries they are readily available at the local home centers or electronic stores.

·         Have a family evacuation plan: Including where to meet, the best and efficient ways out of the home, draw a map of the home and exit locations, and do a trail run.

·         If you have a 2 story home then you might want to consider how to get out if trapped on the 2nd story here is a site to look at. http://www.firstalertsafety.com/First_Alert_Fire_Escape_Ladders_s/5.htm

·         Fire extinguishers are a great tool if you don’t have one know is as good as any to have one, and get familiar with it, call the local fire department to set up a training or the local fire extinguisher dealer can help, keep in mind that at least on each level and one in the garage or basement, depending on the size of the home, ask your local fire department if you are unsure.




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