Summer is a great time to catch up on some home maintenance – in between going to the beach and have great cookouts that is. The weather is more conducive to working with our hands, tools and water (for cleaning). If you can make the time and put in the effort, maintaining your home can save you big money in the long run. Catching issues early with these home maintenance tips, through home inspections and maintenance, generally costs much less than discovering it when it needs professional attention or worse emergency repair. To get you started, we have compiled 10 tips to help you on your way to maintaining your home this summer.
- Analyze your deck and sunroom. Check for rotting or split wood and nails that may have popped up. Replace any wood that is unsafe and hammer down any popped nails. Also check to make sure your wooden deck has a good seal. This can be done by sprinkling water on your deck. If the water beads up, then you have a good seal. If the water soaks in, you should apply a good sealant to help preserve the life of your deck and sunroom.
- Check your detectors. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are life savers but only if they are functioning properly. It is so disheartening to hear on the news about fires and carbon monoxide poisoning where the detectors were not in working condition. Take a few minutes and change the batteries and test your detectors working condition – it could save your family’s life.
- Keep it clean. No doubt the children and adults in your home will be going in and out a lot more during the summer months. Save on carpet cleaning bills, along with possible staining by doubling up on your door mats. Keep an outdoor mat at the threshold of your door for everyone to wipe their feet and a soft carpet one on the inside for double assurance.
- Maintain your refrigerator. Did you know that the refrigerator uses more power than any other appliance in the home? Keeping your refrigerator running at peak performance will help keep it as efficient as possible. Make sure your refrigerator door seals are tight. Test them by closing the door over either a piece of paper or a dollar bill, half in and half out. If you can pull the paper or dollar bill out easily, the latch may need adjustment or the seal may need replaced. Also, make sure to clean/vacuum the refrigerator coils every other month.
- Sharpen your mower blade. A key to a great looking and healthy looking lawn is cutting it with a sharp blade. Most manufacturers do recommend that you actually replace the blades yearly if you use your mower frequently, but getting it sharpened can be as effective. A sharpened blade not only helps the mower to perform better, it also reduces your need to water your lawn. A lawn cut with a sharp blade requires less watering than a lawn cut with a dull blade.
- Clean your gutters. Take advantage of the dry warmer weather to clear your gutters of any debris of leaves, needles, twigs, etc. Clean out your gutter with either gloved hands or a garden trowel and then run the garden hose through the gutter to ensure there are no leaks and that the water is flowing away from the basement, foundation or crawl space. Please use extreme caution when on a ladder. If you are unsure of yourself, hiring a professional is a great answer.
- Inspect driveways and walkways. You’re outside more often as it is, so take a moment to look down and inspect for cracks and holes in your driveway and walkways. If you find any, remedy them quickly to help prevent accidental slips, trips or falls. Doing so will also help prevent larger repairs and/or resurfacing. See weeds growing up in the cracks? Resist the urge to pull them. Instead, cut them down and either pour hot boiling water or spray chemical weed killer over the remaining plant. This will kill the root system so they won’t return.
- Clean out your water heater. Sediment builds up in your water heater tank. Use the spigot near the bottom of the heater to drain it. Once the tank empties, turn the water valve back on to flush the tank with clean, fresh water. Be sure not to turn the power back on to the tank until it’s full of water. By doing so, you'll prolong its life and reduce your electric bill. Always refer to your owner’s manual for proper instructions on your unit.
- Clean your dryer vent. Not all lint is caught in the lint trap; some makes its way into the dryer vent. A clear vent will save you money by reducing the time your dryer has to run. A plugged vent not only wastes money, but could also cause a house fire. Once you have disassembled your hose from the dryer, use a shop or house vacuum to reach inside the back of the dryer and vent tubing to remove the lint. After vacuuming out any lint residue, you should hook your dryer back up and run it on “air fluff” for 10 minutes.
- Inspect your roof. Your roof protects you and your family when it comes to enduring the elements—driving rains, sweltering sun rays, high winds and relentless hail. Inspect your roof for these visual warning signs including cracked caulk or rust spots on flashing, shingles that are buckling, curling, or blistering, and worn areas around chimneys, pipes and skylights. Always exercise extreme caution in conducting a physical inspection, roofing professionals should be considered for both your safety and peace of mind.
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