Top Ten Spring Real Estate Home Maintenance Tips
Here are some great home maintenance tips to keep your home in shape and to maintain the value of your real estate investment. In no particular order, check out these suggestions. You've made a large commitment by buying real estate, so why not keep it well maintained?
1. Clean out your gutters. Remove leaves, pine needles, roofing material, and other junk from your gutters. If you're comfortable with the work, and have a proper ladder, you can get out most of the material by hand, and then it can be useful to use a hose to rinse down any small stuff. Just make sure that your downspouts are clear also. This is a good time to confirm that water can easily move through the entire system. Also, be sure to check that the downspouts face away from the foundation of your home and that there's an extension to move any water at least 5 feet from your home's foundation.
2. Check out your roof.
Since you're pretty much already up there while you're cleaning the gutters, you might as well inspect the roof. You'll want to see if there are any damaged or missing shingles. Also get a peek at the vents to see if there are any signs of rusting, or cracking on the boots at the base of the drain vents. A pair of binoculars can come in handy for the parts that are too far away to see easily from the ladder. Call a pro if you see anything that looks problematic
3. Inspect door and window seals. Winter weather, and time can cause the caulking around windows to crack or loosen. Door seals sometimes dry out of become loose, especially at the bottom of exterior doors. Fixing these damaged seals, or replacing old and cracked caulking can save energy and keep moisture away from places you'd not want it to be. This can save money in the long run by preventing additional damage from water intrusion.
4. Inspec the outside faucets (called a hose bib) and double check the sprinkler system. Leaky hose bibs waste water and will also cause additional damage if you allow water to leak down around the foundation. Water may leak from the handle when the water is turned on, which isn't too much of a problem, but it's best to make sure these are all operating properly. If the faucet does not shut off completely and leaks constantly, have it repaired or replace right away. Fire up your sprinkler system and check out all the sprinkler heads to make sure they're operating properly and also check for leaks. If you aren't sure how to get your sprinks going, there are plenty of pros out there that can help you without a high cost.
5. Take a look at your air conditioning compressor unit.
That's the big box with a fan in it on the side or back of the house. Make sure the exterior unit (compressor) is clean, and that there isn't anything like bushes, leaves or other stuff blocking the airflow around the sides.
6. Now go do your basement and the attic. Some things you want to look for are leaks, water stains, and mold. Depending on how your home was built, you may have a basement, a crawl space or a combination of both unless you live in an area with what's called a slab-on-grade home with neither basement or crawlspace. Some stains especially in older homes are normal. There's a thing called efflorescence which does indicate moisture, however most home inspectors don't consider this a problem. If you see something and you're unsure whether it's a problem or not, call in a professional to get some assurance on next steps.
While most modern homes have attic space, it's not usual anymore to have the type of attic we think of like we see in the movies. Yeah sure there's usually a hatch in one of the bedrooms or a closet, but if you poke your head up there you'll see trusses every couple of feet and it's very hard to move around up there. One thing to look at is the insulation. If you have loose insulation it should be even and about 18" deep or more. If it's extremely uneven, or there's little or low insulation up there, call a pro and let them make a recommendation.
7. Change those batteries If you're not in the habit of changing batteries when daylight savings time comes on and off (which is an easy way to remember this task) now's the time to change the batteries in your smoke alarms, and your carbon monoxide alarms. Also, double check the fire extinguishers in your home. Make sure the gauge shows the needle in the green zone. It's also a good idea to think about if you have enough fire extinguishers, and they're located in the right places. Typically it's a good idea to have one in the kitchen, the basement, the garage, and it's not a bad idea to have one in the master bedroom. Be sure more than anything else to know where they are, know how to use them, and keep them in a place where it's easy to get to in an emergency.
8. Change air filters Change your air filter regularly, and definitely in the spring. Air conditioning systems move air with more pressure than when the system is running to deliver heat. Therefore, is a great idea to swap in a clean filter when warm weather arrives. Several modern thermostats such as a Nest brand will give a reminder when it's time to replace a filter in an HVAC system. A great rule of thumb is to replace furnace air filters every three months. Spring is also a great time to replace any water filters (although modern refrigerators with build in water filtration will notify you when the filter needs replacement) and range hood filters (although some range hood filters can be cleaned!).
9. Clean out your dryer vent. To reduce the risk of fire , clean your dryer vent. You can likely do this yourself, just disconnect the vent from the back of the dryer. Then use a dryer vent brush to remove lint. These brushes can be found at any big box or local hardware store. It looks like a big round brush with a wire type of handle. Pull the vent cover off of the outside of the house, thread the wire line down through the vent line and then go to the other end and pull it through. If you have a very long vent or it has a couple bends in it, you may need to disconnect it in a couple spots to make this work. A handyman can also usually take care of this for you. I'd say once a year is a good cycle for this.
10. Clean your outdoor BBQ grill. Love cooking outdoors? Even if you grill during the winter, it's smart to do an annual clean up. Your gas grill can have a lot of build up on the grilling surfaces, especially if you have the type with multiple layers. When the grill is cold, lift out the grilling racks and brush them off as may be needed, and often the inside of the box will have debris that needs to be removed.
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