House Maintenance Must-dos

Many home owners may not know much about home repairs or maintenance, but a regular maintenance schedule can prevent small problems from turning into big headaches. Following is an easy check list to keep handy and regularly check up on your house’s systems.    

Inside Tasks

  • Change your furnace filters monthly.  It’s so easy to do but so critical.  Clogged filters decrease furnace efficiency and can cause breakdowns.
  • Drain your water heater at least once a year.  Sediment will drain out along with the water from the water tank.  Removing sediment can prolong the heater’s useful life.
  • Check your circuits.  Test the performance of the circuit breakers in your electrical circuit box twice a year by flipping them off and back on.  If you have a circuit that keeps shutting off with normal daily electrical use, call an electrician.  A faulty circuit breaker could indicate a short in the wiring inside your walls.
  • Watch for drips.  Check under sinks periodically to look for leaks or water stains that might indicate leaks.  Catching a small problem early can prevent water damage.  Use a plunger to clean out sinks and tubs whenever water doesn’t drain normally.
  • Replace regularly.  Water heaters, furnaces, roofs, and other key components of your home should be replaced before they fail, based on their average useful lives.

Outside Tasks

  • Keep the wet out.  Water is a major enemy of your house.  Check each season for signs of water damage to  your home.  Flashing, the metal pieces used to seal the areas between roofs and chimneys and around doors and windows, are especially vulnerable to damage by wind or age.  Loose flashing can let water seep under a roof or inside walls, which in turn can cause mold.
  • Get to the bottom of things.  Check your home’s foundation for cracks or gaps that could let in water or varmints.  Also look at the ground around your house.  As homes age, they often sink slightly below the surrounding ground.  This settling lets water puddle against the foundation and possibly damage it. Doing major landscaping work also can cause changes to the ground’s pitch that let water flow toward the house.
  • Look up.  Chimneys take a great deal of weather abuse.  Visually inspect them each year for signs of loose mortar or loose or missing bricks.  Have the insides of chimneys cleaned every two to three years.  Also check your roof for loose shingles or dangling gutters.

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