by Phillip B. Burum, DR Horton,
President, Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter
With the new year with the horizon, Americans will be spending most of the next week coming up with New Year’s resolutions. If you are a homeowner - and because your home will probably be the biggest and best investment you will ever make - here is a New Year’s resolution that will pay great dividends for 2019 and for years to come: resolve to implement a regular home maintenance schedule.
Keeping your home on a regular maintenance schedule will preserve its value and ensure that it will provide a comfortable, safe shelter for you and your family for years to come.
· Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Systems (HVAC) - Many types of heating and air conditioning systems contain filters to remove dirt and dust from the air. Check the instruction book or search online by model number: In many cases, the home owner should change filters at least every three months.
· Plumbing - Clean your faucet's aerator which is the spring inside the end of the faucet every three to four months. To maintain your garbage disposal, you should run cold water through it during use. If your faucet leaks, it is often a simple fix that involves replacing the faucet washer. For clogged drains, have a plunger and/or a plumber's snake. To unclog toilets, get a coil spring-steel auger, which can be found at hardware or home-improvement stores.
· Pipes - Noisy water pipes should be fixed promptly. The condition that causes noisy pipes may be accompanied by vibration that can cause fittings to loosen and leak.
· Fireplaces - When you're ready to use your fireplace, be sure to build the fire on the grate, never on the fireplace floor. To prevent soot and to add color to the fire, throw in a handful of salt. Store your firewood outside, away from the house and not directly on the ground. Have a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) - Certified chimney sweep inspect your chimney and fireplace annually, especially if you build a lot of fires in the winter (www.csia.org/).
· Floors - To maintain unpainted concrete floors in your basement or garage, first apply a concrete sealer, which makes them easier to clean. When you're ready to clean them, use a solution of four to six tablespoons of washing soda in a gallon of hot water. Add scouring powder to the solution for tough jobs. For hardwood, be sure the floors have a polyurethane finish before cleaning with water. Hardwood floors that do not have a polyurethane finish will need to be waxed periodically. Use liquid or paste "spirit" wax. Remember, the best polish for vinyl floors is water emulsion wax.
· Safety and Security - If you have a home security system, regularly check the alarms and circuit breakers to ensure they are in working order. Inspect the sensors one by one. The batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should also be checked twice a year to ensure they are operable. Hard-wired and battery-powered detectors should be replaced every ten years.
· Roof, Gutters and Downspouts - A qualified roofer should inspect your roof every three years. Skylights should also be inspected each time your roof is inspected so leaks don't develop from cracks and interruptions around the seals, caulking and flashings. Make sure that gutters and downspouts do not get clogged with leaves or other objects.
· Windows and Doors - Inspect exterior windows and doors yearly to see if the caulking around them has split and cracked. If so, replace the caulk and clean any mildew. For a simple solution to wash extremely dirty exterior windows, combine equal parts vinegar and water or three tablespoons of denatured alcohol per quart of warm water. Use a piece of crumbled newspaper to wash the glass to avoid lint left behind by paper towels. To help a window slide easily, rub the channel with a piece of paraffin.
· Siding - Inspect your siding yearly to determine if your wood-sided home needs to be repainted. Trim shrubbery away so that it does not touch the siding. The exterior of your house is built to withstand exposure to the elements, but a periodic cleaning will improve the appearance and, in many instances, prolong the life of siding and other exterior products.
· Garage - The moving parts of garage doors should be oiled every three months.
Remember, the key is to develop a schedule and keep to it so you can stay ahead of problems. Maintenance today could save major repair investments tomorrow.
Have a Happy New Year!