We all know an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, right. It is certainly true when it comes to home upkeep. At the same time, most of us will defer maintenance until a problem arises. Unknowingly, we are trading a small investment today for more costly repair tomorrow.
I found 13 tips suggested by plumbing and HVAC experts to help you spot potential problems early before they become costly repairs or safety hazards later on.
Change the batteries in your home’s carbon monoxide detector and smoke detectors every year. In a National Fire Protection Association study of home fire statistics between 2007 and 2011, smoke alarms were present in 73 percent of the reported home fires, but only sounded in 52 percent) of them! And don’t forget the carbon monoxide detector.
Have your heating and cooling checked twice a year, once in the fall or winter for the heating element and also in the spring to make sure the air conditioner is ready for the summer heat. Have a licensed HVAC contractor do this, not a handyman.
Check your hot water heater for damage and corrosion as well as the inlet and outlet water pipes for the same. A professional plumber can spot leaks and if other things like a sacrificial anode rod needs replacement, a plumber will know that, too. This item should be changed every other year to keep your water heater from corroding prematurely.
Check the outdoor water hose bib. Small leaks should be addressed as to not become big leaks later.
Sprinkler systems should also be checked for operability and leaks at the change of seasons, like before weather cools and before the summer heat hits. This is also a great time to check your irrigation timer settings and run times. Your plants obviously need more water in the summer than winter.
Vacuum your refrigerator coils. Dust collection creates unnecessary heat for the appliance’s motor and can wear it down prematurely.
Stay on top of changing your home’s air filters. This is especially important for keeping home allergens and dust at bay, particularly if you have pets in your home.
Clean range hood filters. Having a filter that doesn’t do the job can be problematic for a home that doesn’t vent well. It can also allow for carbon monoxide levels to build up when gas appliances are used often.
Test your garage door opener’s auto-reverse feature. To prevent children, animals and others from being pinned under the weight of a garage door, the auto-reverse feature has been mandated on garage door openers since the early 90s. Simply place an item, like a small two-by-four or a ball, in the path of the garage door while the opener is in operation. When the door touches the item, it should automatically change directions. If the opener does not immediately reverse the door, then your opener is considered unsafe.
Check the faucets and toilets in rarely used rooms. If you have guest quarters or a room that doesn’t see much activity, make sure the toilet is flushed and sink used, or shower turned on and off at least once a week. Dry rot and other problems could create larger repairs when these items go unused for long periods.
Clean your windows. Think beyond aesthetics here. Cleaning the outside of your windows, creates the opportunity to inspect the exterior of your home, which many people rarely do. You’ll spot broken screens and cracks in stucco and weather stripping around windows and doors that may need your attention. These small issues can add up to big savings if addressed immediately.
Clean your dryer vent at least once a year. It’s likely the greatest fire hazard out there. Nearly 3,000 clothes dryer vent fires are reported annually, causing an average of 5 deaths, 100 injuries and $35 million in property losses, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.
Caulk. A four-dollar tube of caulk can potentially save you thousands in repairs. Tubs and showers are common areas of concern. Once caulked areas show signs of wear, strip off the old caulk and re-seal. It keeps the mold out – along with lots of bigger problems. Sealed areas around windows where caulk may be aged or peeling are also problem zones. An annual or semi-annual caulk check-up is always recommended.
If you need the help of professionals, make sure you call on us to share the network of resources we have amassed over the years. The goal at Four Corners Real Estate Group is for you to have a Five Star Experience!