Home Maintenance your home isn’t glamorous, but these simple projects can be done in a weekend and protect your home from costly damage. Such repair can be as simple as re-inserting a screen seal or taking a storm window in for a new glass. No matter your skill set, these maintenance steps are critical to protecting your home and your health.
The simplest way to protect your foundation and basement from water damage is to walk around your property during heavy rain. Are the gutters draining down the pipe or leaking over the lip onto the ground? Your downspouts may need to be cleared. Is water pooling around the foundation? You may need to bring in fill dirt.
Once the rain quits, climb up to the corners where your downspouts run with gloves and a stick. You may find a clog of leaves or twigs holding water in the gutters. Clear the clog with your gloved hands until the water starts to flow down the spout. Water is 8 pounds per gallon; full gutters can put a lot of stress on your home. Keep them cleared after the leaves drop each fall to stay on top of this task.
If you live in a cold country, walk around the home and check where cold air can get under your home. If you have a basement, you will need to make sure your windows can be completely sealed against the cold; adding a plastic cover to your window well is a good start.
Adding insulation from the inside can also cut down on cold leaks. If you have a particular water pipe that tends to freeze frequently, you may need to wrap that pipe in foam or add heat tape to that pipe. Never add heat tape to a leaking pipe; fix the leak first, then wrap and tape it up.
Your furnace filter is one of the most straightforward changes you can make to protect this vital and expensive equipment. Your HVAC unit will need to be cleaned and cleared if you live in an area that is extremely
prone to tree waste, such as cottonwood tree fluff
A dirty HVAC unit is going to be less efficient. Over time, your cooling unit and fan controller can become so stressed that they will break down or burn up. Get this unit cleaned up each spring at least and consider getting it checked out again during the hottest part of the year if you have a lot of vegetation waste.
The water that comes to your faucets can be made unusable and unsafe if your backflow device fails. Regular backflow testing can help you stay on top of this risk; backflow repair is critical if your drinking water shows signs of contamination.
If your backflow valve starts to fail, your water will
show signs of rust
- smell bad
- run slow
- taste terrible
As soon as your drinking water runs anything but clear, you need to get your water backflow tested. Luckily, you can get this tested once a year and only need to pay for the repair if it’s needed.
If your screens are falling out, there’s a chance the seals on your windows and doors are aging out and starting to fail. The foam in your windows can degrade over time due to heat and sunlight exposure. The rubber seals on your windows and doors will lose flexibility, get brittle, and crumble away.
Check your caulking as well as your seals. If there’s a lot of caulking built up, be aware that the bottom level may be aging out. In that case, you will need to cut out all the caulking and start over. In this case, consider adding an ethafoam rod to the cracks before adding a fresh layer of caulk. Check your window and door seals in the spring and fall.
Get in the habit of Home Maintenance regularly. Notice where moss grows around your foundation; you may be headed for basement problems. If you have to rake leaves each fall, check your gutters. If your curtains move when the windows are closed, check your window seals.