Miriam Keri's Blog
When you own a home, you take over the landlord responsibilities of maintaining the property. That means you change out the lightbulbs and call the plumber when the drain plugs. Twice a year you faithfully check the smoke detectors and replace their batteries. You even take care of the lawn or hire a professional landscaping service to do it for you. But a few areas need regular attention of which you may be unaware. These sneaky tasks, when left undone, can end up costing a wad of cash down the line.
Schedule service for these items into your life:
- Gutters and downspouts: Because you can't see into them, you tend to forget that a gutter is just a long trough. In the Fall it fills with leaves and debris that need clearing out so that it can do its job—moving water off your roof and away from your foundation. When the gutters become blocked, water piles up endangering your roof and eaves with water damage. If the water freezes, it may cause an ice dam that will further damage your roof. Debris left in the gutter clogs the drains too, so water can't drain away from the roof. If it overflows and falls near the foundation, the extra water and potential ice can wreak havoc with your home's support structure.
- Roofs after a storm: If you live in an area prone to thunderstorms or tornados, the resultant hail and wind can damage your roof even if you can't see it. Hail hits the composite shingles causing divots not visible from the ground. If the divots are deep, or if an area gets hit more than once, your roof develops holes that cause leaks. The wind lifts the shingles away from the roof deck. If the shingle bends, it becomes weak and eventually breaks off. At least once a year, and particularly after a major storm, have your roof inspected. Any certified roofer can do this for you, but if you see granules from your roofing tile on the ground, call your insurance adjuster to see if you need a new roof.
- Water heater: In addition to periodically checking water lines and the thermostat, your water heater needs the sediment drained from the bottom of the tank. Simple to do for standard water heaters, connect a hose to the fixture at the bottom of the tank and drain out some of the water—perhaps five gallons. The sediment resting at the bottom will flow out with the water, and your tank will be more efficient for the next year.
- Air conditioning condensers: If your A/C is outside, weeds and vines may grow into the fins, blocking the airflow and causing the unit to overhead. Keep all plants and debris away from the unit. Protect if from animals too as shedding animal hairs can clog the grate. On the inside, change the filter monthly for best results and to keep your ducts free from dust and lint.
Owning a home is a wonderful responsibility to take seriously so that your forever home lasts you forever. If you are not able to carry out these inspections yourself, seek the assistance of certified contractors to help you.