When buying a home, most people think first about financial responsibility. It's one of the most important purchases that you can make in your lifetime. But many people don't consider the importance and the time it takes to own a home. Like owning a car, you have to take steps to keep up with regular maintenance. Do you change the oil in your car? Check the oil, rotate the tires, replace the windshield wipers when they are worn, these are all maintenance tasks that we tackle, or pay someone to take care of on a regular basis because we know that if we don't, our car is not going to remain reliable and can cause us undue expense when these items are neglected for long periods of time.
You know what happens if you don't apply a maintenance program for your car. What do you think happens when you don't have a regular maintenance program for you home? All too often we find important components of the home that have been neglected. Consider what happens if you don't replace your furnace filter on a regular basis. We have found filters that are so dirty and packed with dust, dog hair and who knows what else. The furnace gets so starved for air that if you pull the filter with the furnace running you can hear the sound of the furnace taking a long, overdue, deep breath of fresh air. If a furnace struggles this hard to pull air, how long do you think it can last under these conditions? I don't know very many people that have expendable income to replace the furnace when it dies.
You need to make a plan to instill a maintenance program for your home so that it will be reliable and it's components will last for a very long time. We have put together a maintenance program that can help you tackle home maintenance tasks on a regular schedule.
Inspect your furnace filter every month that the furnace is in use. By inspecting the filter every month you will know when it needs replaced. A good way to remember is to set a reminder on your phone. Often, during heavy use, the filter will need to be replaced, so check it monthly and if you can, spend a little extra money for a better filter. Your furnace is an expensive component in your home. You need it to run to keep your family warm, you need it, so take care of it.
Clean hood range filters if you have one. You can use a degreaser to clean and degrease your filter. If you have never thought of cleaning this filter, you are in for a real treat when you pull it out.
Inspect your fire extinguishers. What, you don't have fire extinguishers? You need to have a fire extinguisher on each level of your home. If you don't have them, get them, and them check them regularly so that they are in good working condition if you ever need one.
Check the water softener for salt. Depending on how many people are in the household, this maintenance task can be done monthly or quarterly. If you don't have a water softener, we highly suggest you purchase or rent one to save your appliances, such as, dishwashers and washing machines from damage that hard water can cause. Even components such as toilets and faucets benefit from soft water. Hard water is damaging. If you do have a water softener, it won't work without adding salt. So keep it full and maintained to gain the benefits that the water softener is designed to provide.
EVERY THREE MONTHS
Test your smoke and carbon dioxide detectors. Just hit the test button, if the battery runs low and it starts chirping, please don't just remove the battery. These are small, inexpensive components that are meant to save you and your loved ones in the event of a fire. Your family relies on you to keep them safe. Don't remove the batteries in smoke and carbon dioxide detectors, replace them.
Check your plumbing for leaks
Go around the home and look under sinks, check around toilets. Check the valves for leaks, move stuff from under the cabinets and make sure nothing is wet. Check for leaky faucets and running toilets and make repairs as needed.
TWICE A YEAR
Give your home a deep clean. Pride of ownership shows in a home that is well maintained. Take one day, every six months and deep clean all of the areas that don't receive regular cleanings. Appliances, windows, closets and basements are all areas of the home that don't receive regular cleanings. Keeping a clean home and not letting dirt, grime and dust build up is a healthy decision that can keep your home in great shape for years to come. Think spring clean and fall clean. Twice a year, set a time to clean up the cobwebs.
Change the batteries in smoke and carbon dioxide detectors. When the time changes, spring forward and fall back, is a good reminder to replace these batteries. Don't skip this important task. It could save a life. Early warning is your best defense against a house fire. It may never happen to you, but don't risk it, replace the batteries.
ONCE A YEAR
Once the weather starts to turn warmer, it's time to get outside for some maintenance that has been neglected over the winter months.
CLEAN GUTTERS Keeping gutters clean is an important task. Rain gutters are designed to move water away from your roof, siding and foundation. Don't neglect this task. Clean the gutters and check for leaks. Make improvements as needed to keep water from entering into your home in unwanted places.
CHECK EXTERIOR DRAINAGE Check areas around the exterior home for negative grading. Fill holes that the dog has dug out and make sure that water is draining away from the home. Keep water from pooling at the foundation. Make improvements and add dirt as needed. Keep window wells free from debris and make sure that they have proper drainage and are dug out below the window to prevent moisture intrusion.
INSPECT THE EXTERIOR Walk around and if you are able check the roof or hire a professional to inspect the roof once a year. Check for paint chipping, siding damage, loose shingles on the roof and check the foundation for cracks. Make repairs as needed to prevent further damage. If paint is left chipping and peeling, moisture will get into the wood and cause rot. Nobody wants their house to rot. Loose shingles are an easy fix but if they are neglected water will get in under the shingles and can cause severe damage to the sheathing underneath.
GET YOUR HVAC SYSTEM CLEANED AND INSPECTED You should have your HVAC system cleaned and inspected every year to make sure that it is in good working condition and free of dirt and debris that can cause unhealthy living conditions. Keep a maintenance record on your system so that you know when it has been cleaned.
CHECK WINDOW SCREENS Check and repair or replace damaged window screens. Window screens keep out unwanted pests during warmer seasons.
TRIM SHRUBS, TREES AND REMOVE DEAD PLANTS Clean out flower beds to remove leaves and dead plants to prevent insects from harboring in these areas. Keep shrubs trimmed back at least 18 inches from your homes siding to prevent unnecessary damage to the siding. Keep trees trimmed and cleaned up. Cut down any suckers and thin out branches to keep the tree healthy and alive. Check for problems that insects can cause to shrubs and trees and if you are unsure how to treat them, call a professional. Keep power lines free from tree branches, have professionally trimmed if needed.
Delegating property maintenance tasks per season makes them easier to tackle. Sometimes these tasks can seem overwhelming and expensive but by having a schedule, you will know when it's time to get in there and get it done.
CHECK AND CLEAN DRYER VENTS Cleaning the lint from the dryer vent will keep your dryer running proficiently and remove any unnecessary dangers that built up lint can cause. While the dryer is running, check that the air is blowing out of the dryer vent on the exterior. If it is not, check for blockages and make sure that the duct work is connected. Vacuum the lint from around the back of the dryer and the hose and lint catcher if needed.
CLEAN OUT THE GARAGE Depending on your usage, this may need to be done on a more regular basis but get it deep cleaned once a year. Clean out dust and debris and get it clean and tidy.
CLEAN AND REPAIR THE DECK AND FENCES Check the deck and wooden fences and add paint or stain as needed. Make any repairs to loose or worn boards and posts. Keeping up with this maintenance will definitely add life to your wooden decking and fences. It also keeps them looking nice, when fences and decks get neglected they start peeling or turning an ugly gray color. If your deck or fence has been neglected and is that ugly gray color, use a pressure washer to strip it back to the beautiful wood color and texture. Once it's dry, wait at least 24-48 hours, add stain to protect the wood and then keep staining as needed on an annual schedule.
TAKE CARE OF INSECT PROBLEMS Summer is the time that bugs come out to play. Not all insects are bad but sometimes they are in the wrong places and can make our lives miserable if left to breed and multiply. Hire a professional to treat targeted insects if you are unsure how to treat and protect your home from unwanted pests.
CHECK AND REPAIR CRACKS IN DRIVEWAY AND SIDEWALKS Make sure to seal and fill any cracks before winter to prevent moisture intrusion. When moisture gets into cracks in the concrete, it can freeze during the cold months of winter and cause severe damage to the concrete. Don't let this happen to you, keep cracks in sidewalks and driveways sealed with the right sealant to prevent moisture intrusion and damage.
TURN OFF AND FLUSH OUT WATER TO IRRIGATION SYSTEMS AND OUTDOOR FAUCETS Keep your sprinkler system for your lawn, damage free by flushing the system and shutting of the water to sprinkler systems and exterior faucets. Most exterior faucets are frost free types and the water does not need to be shut off. If you are not sure what type of faucets you have, hire a professional to inspect them and let you know if they need shut off for the winter to keep them from freezing during the coldest months.
GET THE CHIMNEY CLEANED You can have this done in the spring or fall but just make sure that once a year you have your chimney cleaned by a professional.
Winter is a g