Spring and autumn are the best times of year. The weather is cool and breezy, the flowers are blooming or the leaves are falling… It’s also the time to give your house a checkup …
1. Roof: Check roof and around vents, chimneys, skylights and eaves for leaks.
2. Gutters: Clean gutters and drain pipes so leaves won’t clog them and be sure they drain away from the house. (Fall: In cold-climate areas) Drain outside faucets.
3. Siding and Paint: Look for cracks and holes in house siding or paint, check for loose siding. Check caulking of joints and edges.
4. Windows and Doors: Seal drafty doors and windows, you can use caulk, insulation or expanding polymer spray. Replace seals as needed. Untended cracks and leaks allow heating or air conditioning to escape the home, as much as an open window.
5. Storm Windows and Screens: (Fall) Take down screens (if removable type) and replace with storm windows. (Spring) Remove, clean, and store storm windows (if removable). Check and patch all door and window screens. Put screens up.
6. Air Conditioner: (Spring:) clean condenser of leaves and debris, spray out fins of heat exchanger.(Fall: In cold-climate areas) Remove/cover window air-conditioners; cover exterior A/C units.
INSIDE THE HOME:
1. Attic: If there is no ridge vent, keep gable vents open year-round to ensure proper ventilation.
2. Fireplace: Clean fireplace of ashes. (Fall) Check chimney for loose or missing mortar. Have chimney professionally cleaned. Make sure damper closes tightly. (Spring) Leave damper open for improved ventilation if the home is not air-conditioned. Chimney safety is critical, always have your chimney cleaned and inspected prior to first autumn/winter use.
3. Filters: Remember to clean or replace filters once a month (more often if needed). Check and clean dryer vent, air conditioner, stove hood and room fans.
4. Safety Equipment: Ensure that all smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers are in good working order. Replace batteries in appropriate devices as needed, or at least annually.
5. Refrigerator: Make sure your refrigerator door seals are airtight. Test them by closing the door over a dollar bill. If you can pull the bill out easily, the latch may need to be adjusted or the seal may need to be replaced. In addition, if you have a coil-back refrigerator, vacuum the coils at least twice each year. Your refrigerator will run more efficiently with clean coils. Also, stock up! A full refrigerator uses less energy than an empty one.
6. Faucets: Check for leaky faucets in kitchen and bathroom(s). Replace washers as necessary.
7. Basement: Check basement walls and floor for dampness. Be sure to clean dehumidifier regularly, if you have one.
8. Heating System: (Fall) Have heating system serviced. Change filters.
TODAY: Make a list of the equipment and structures of your home that require routine inspection. I use a 1-inch three ring binder and labeled it “Home Maintenance” then place inspection sheets in the binder which list the things to look for and room to mark down the last date of inspection and room to take any notes.
Grandma always said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”