Whether your house is old or new, there will always be upkeep involved with it. Several things in your house require attention, but the attention is often delayed until something breaks and a substantial bill follows. Here is a list of six common maintenance tasks that often get overlooked each year.
Gutter Clean Out
Gutters often get overlooked because they are outside and the buildup of leaves and dirt is difficult to see. When gutters are not cleaned out, it can create a backlog of water that can easily seep into your home and cause flooding or mold. In the winter, ice dams can form and cause water to overflow and freeze onto your roof or cause your gutter to detach due to the weight of the ice. You also may not realize that clogged gutters are the perfect home for insects and rodents that can easily find their way into your home.
It is advised to either inspect your roof yourself or hire a professional to inspect it for you once a year. Not only will this help you catch problems early on, but it will also help you keep your warranty as many warranties are voided if a roof is not well maintained. During the inspection, look for sun rot, cracked caulk, rust, and missing or broken shingles. If you see any signs of moss or algae, this could potentially be from roof decay. Roofing materials change when water is present and these changes could be detected by a moisture survey that is done every five years.
Creosote is a highly flammable substance that builds up on the inside of your chimney as a result of burning wood. An annual inspection and chimney cleaning are important to remove the soot and creosote and reduce any potential fire hazards. Even if you have not used your chimney in a while, pests may have built nests that could clog your flue or chimney chamber.
Service Heating and Cooling Systems
Dust and condensation can degrade your heating and cooling units as well as the ducts that they use. It’s important to replace the filters to help them operate efficiently and to reduce the likelihood of breakdowns. An annual inspection of your heating and cooling systems can help verify whether or not they’re working properly and possibly extend their lifespans.
Flush Out Water Heater
Sediment from elements like sand, iron, magnesium, and calcium can build up in the bottom of your water heater causing rust and discoloration in the hot water taps. The sediment can also work its way into your faucets and contaminate the water. It’s important to flush your water heater occasionally to help keep your water heater running efficiently. Keep in mind that you will not have any hot water for a few hours afterward.
Clean Refrigerator Condenser Coils
Condenser coils, found at the back or bottom of your fridge, are there to cool and condense refrigerant, which is a substance used in the refrigeration cycle. When these coils become clogged with dust and pet hair, the coils are no longer able to release heat efficiently, thus causing the compressor to work harder. This then leads to higher electricity bills along with a shorter lifespan of your fridge. It is recommended to clean the condenser coils at least once a year or more depending on whether you have pets.
Test Your Sump Pump
If your house has a basement then you should have a sump with an associated pump in it. Check your sump pump every three months (four times a year) by pouring a bucket of water into the sump. The pump should switch on automatically and pump the water out of your basement. If the pump isn’t working, it might require further maintenance, check the float switch and power supply, if these aren’t faulty then the pump may need to be replaced entirely.
If you neglect your sump pump for too long, you may come home one day to a flooded basement and have to wade through water to try to figure out why the pump isn’t working. You’ll also be left with the mammoth task of drying out your furniture, appliances and basement carpets.
Lubricate Your Garage Door Springs & Rollers
Your garage door hinges, springs, and rollers should all be lubricated annually with a spray which is specially designed for lubricating garage doors. Every time your door is opened and closed, water and dirt work their way to the tracks and hinges and may start to cause corrosion and sticking if they are not properly protected.
You can even further your garage door maintenance by spraying your springs. Lubricating your springs will also extend their life as the coils won’t be rubbing against each other so aggressively.
Clean Out Your Dryer Vents
Your dryer vent provides a path for the air to get from your dryer to the outside of your home. Unfortunately, lint collects in the ducts and could start causing blockages which lead to longer drying times and strong odors.
Remove the vent from the back of the dryer and use a vacuum cleaner on the strongest setting to pull any excess lint out of the duct. Do this once every six months to ensure that the ducts are kept well opened.
Check the outside vent, as well as often small rodents and insects, make their home in the vent as it provides warm air during the colder winter months.
The Bottom line
Anyone who owns a home can benefit from keeping up with these tasks each year. They may seem like a hassle and are easy to put off or forget, but when completed, these tasks will save you a lot of money and time in the long-run. Not only will you live in a cleaner and safer home, but routine maintenance will also help you if you ever decide to sell your home. A well-maintained home is more valuable to potential buyers than a neglected home.