Start 2020 Right with a Home Care Schedule
By Philip Burum
One of the final steps in purchasing a state-of-the art new homes is when the homeowner is presented with a package of warranties and instructions on the operations of all their new home’s appliances and maintenance. Yet, for existing homeowners, that information often has years or decades to get misplaced or misfiled. So with the holiday season coming to a close and before tax season preparations begin, here are some handy guidelines for homeowners to prepare a regular maintenance schedule to preserve your home’s value and ensure that it will provide a comfortable, safe shelter for you and your family for years to come. Print this list and post it on a refrigerator door or bulletin board for easy reference.
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.
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 homeowner should change filters at least every three months.
Roof, Gutters and Downspouts – A qualified roofer should inspect your roof every three years. Skylights should also be inspected so leaks don’t develop from cracks and interruptions around the seals, caulking and flashings. Keep gutters and downspouts clear of debris.
Garage Doors – The moving parts of garage doors should be oiled every three months.
Plumbing – Clean your faucet’s aerator which is the spring inside the end of the faucet every three to four months. If you have a water leak, the washer in your faucet usually needs to be replaced. 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. Noisy water pipes should be fixed promptly because the condition that causes noisy pipes may be accompanied by vibrations that can cause fittings to loosen and leak.
Concrete and Hardwood Floors – To maintain and clean unpainted concrete floors garage, first apply a concrete sealer, then 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 floors, 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.
Walls – Masonry walls sometimes develop a white powdery substance. This is called ‘efflorescence’, a crystallized soluble salt that can be removed by scrubbing with water and a stiff brush.
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 a wood-sided home needs to be repainted. Trim shrubbery away so that it does not touch the walls. 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.
Fireplaces – Store 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/).
The BIA Baldy View Chapter seeks to advance the opportunity to attain the American Dream of home ownership. For additional information on the benefits of homeownership, go to www.biabuild.com on the web.