See the full issue of the April 400 Life magazine here.
Keep your home in top shape with this handy home maintenance checklist
Inspect your roof and make minor repairs.
Winter can be especially hard on a roof. Look for ice, hail or water damage. Replace any cracked or missing shingles and clear any debris.
Clean your gutters and downspouts. It’s not glamorous work, but your home’s gutters play an essential role in moving water away from your home and preventing damage. Consider installing gutter guards to ensure your gutters remain functional and free from debris.
Pressure washing is frequently used on vinyl siding, concrete and sometimes wood decks to treat mildew and other growth that accumulates over time. Pressure washing can be a great way to remove grime without having to scrub by hand. But it requires a delicate touch to get it right. Sometimes it is best to leave the job to professionals. But homeowners willing to give it a go can try pressure washing themselves, as various stores rent power washers.
Maintaining an Air Conditioning unit can save money and protect homeowners’ investments. Keep it clean. Vacuum the fins and coils of the AC unit on the external compressor/condenser fan with a soft-bristled brush. Straighten coil fins. The fins on the condenser are easily bent and that can affect the flow of air through the coils. If you cannot easily straighten them, then consult with an HVAC professional to do so. Periodic maintenance is necessary to ensure uninterrupted service on a home AC unit.
Inspect windows and doors and re-caulk where necessary. Because a proper seal is essential in both heating and cooling seasons, this job should be performed twice a year to protect against drafts and moisture, and to keep insects out. Worn weatherstripping should also be replaced.
A lush, green lawn can vastly improve a home’s curb appeal. Thick, healthy grass indicates that homeowners care enough about their property to invest the time, effort and money to make them beautiful. Soil fertility is the foundation of healthy lawns. A lawn aerator will create holes in the soil. This can improve drainage and encourage worms and helpful microorganisms that require oxygen to thrive in the soil.
Winterize outdoor areas. Homeowners often take steps to winterize the interior of their homes in the weeks before winter’s arrival, but such efforts should extend to the outside of a home as well. Inspect the deck for problems. Damaged boards and loose handrails should be fixed before winter arrives. Clear the deck of potted plants. Even homeowners who intend to use their decks in winter should remove potted plants from the deck in the fall. Moisture can get trapped between deck boards and plastic, wood or ceramic containers in cold weather, and that can contribute to mildew, discoloration or decay.
Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors at least twice per year, and test them to make sure they’re in good working order at least once per month.
Plumbing and pipes may be vulnerable to cold weather. Frozen pipes may burst and cause substantial damage to a home, potentially causing flooding and structural damage. Homeowners should disconnect and drain garden hoses before winter arrives. Water to outdoor hose bibs should be turned off, though the valves on these outdoor faucets should be left open to drain. Also, outdoor faucets can be covered with insulating foam covers.
Service HVAC systems. It’s important to ensure that heating systems are working properly prior to the cold-weather season. It may only take hours for the interior of a home to reach dangerously low temperatures without adequate heat. Homeowners should schedule annual checkups of furnaces and hot water heaters. Inspect the heat exchanger for cracks, install a clean air filter and make sure all thermostats are working properly. Air filters should be changed every three months.
Have chimneys inspected annually and properly cleaned by a professional chimney technician. Make sure tree branches and other obstacles are cleared away from the top of the chimney. Use seasoned hardwoods that have been split for several months to a year. “Green” wood creates more creosote. Open the damper and fireplace doors so that air supply flows freely and can vent the smoke promptly, reducing residence time in the flue; otherwise, creosote can form.
Content courtesy Metro.