Your home is one of your biggest investments. It represents a real estate investment as well as a little something for your future. Managing retirement is considerably easier when you own your home and don’t have to pay rent, but too often major repairs leave homeowners struggling. The culprit? Lack of maintenance. Too many people ignore the things they need to do to keep their homes in good working order, neglecting to perform regular maintenance year after year until eventually something wears out.
When you own a home, it is natural to feel like your work is never done — but don’t think of it as a burden to put off year after year. Home maintenance is a privilege that renters never experience and when done correctly (and often) your home will last far longer than any lease! You’ll also be able to see problems as they come up and make adjustments or small repairs to forestall larger issues.
Here are some of the best things you can do before fall:
Check your Air Ducts
Periodically, you should have your air ducts cleaned. This actually only needs to happen every five years but you may want to make this a yearly thing if you or someone in your family suffers from asthma or allergies. You can have the ducts cleaned or the whole system cleaned and sealed. A thorough cleaning will take two professionals a few hours to complete properly. The system needs to be completely disinfected and the components cleaned. Part of the air conditioning unit will need to be disassembled and the whole thing cleaned with a high-pressure vacuüm. And while you’re at it, what’s stopping you from getting your ducts sealed? Getting an Aeroseal duct sealing solution for your home can save you boatloads of cash and dramatically increase efficiency.
Visually Inspect Your Property
You will also need to inspect your home visually. Go through it room by room. Examine plumbing for mold, rust, or leaks. You should also check your attic and other unfinished spaces for dampness, mold, or any standing water. Check your siding, too. You want to make sure that no wood is exposed to the elements. Weather-stripping needs inspected and repaired as necessary.
Caulk it All
One of the biggest things to do that can dramatically improve your home’s efficiency is caulking. The sealants around windows, doors, plumbing fixtures, walls, and thresholds tend to degrade over time, and the harsh Southwestern heat can make them erode even more quickly. Just buy a tube of caulking and go from room to room, inspecting the seals and replacing any that need it.
The change of the seasons is a great time to clean everything. Not only will your home look and smell great, but your devices will function better and it could help reduce asthma or allergy symptoms. Make it a time to clean everything. Mop your floors, wash your walls, and clean the counters. You should also clean your refrigerator’s coils, the shower heads, the faucets, and the exhaust screen on the stove.
Your water heater should also be flushed to clear out any sediment. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. You should also test the pressure valve. Your water will run clean and clear. You can use this as a marker to start fresh. Change filters on your vacuüm, HVAC system, dehumidifier, and exhaust fans.
Change Ceiling Fans
Take this time to service you ceiling fans. You should clean the blades and change the settings on your fans. As the weather cools, you want your reverse the blades so fans push warm air down.
Mind Your Lawn
Moisture can create problems with your foundation and encourage mold development. Examine your lawn and the landscaping around it. Make sure that there is no wood exposed and that the mulch and soil around your property only touches stone. You may need to make some adjustments, like making sure the land is graded appropriately. In addition, you should set up a maintenance schedule for your lawn, including watering and mowing. Remember, as the seasons change, you will need to water your lawn less and you will need to mow less frequently. This is also a good time to reseed.
Check the Gutters
Check the exterior of your home. Clean the gutters and make sure that any rains can flow freely. Outside faucets, hoses, pools, and water features should also be checked for leaks.
Clean your A/C Unit
The air conditioning unit will also need to be cleaned. You should rinse the coil and remove any debris from the face of the system. You may even want to cover the unit. If you use an evaporative cooler, you should drain it as fall approaches and save it for the spring.
Examine the Fireplace
If you have a fireplace, now is a good time to open the damper and clean the flue. That way, you can have a cozy fire whenever you want without worrying about your family’s safety.
Mind the Wood
Living in the Southwest can be harsh on your furniture and cabinets. Before fall, take the time to wax and polish the tables and stands in your home as well as kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities.
Clean the Sink Drains
You may also want to clean out your sink drains. There is a drain trap under your sink and it fills up with grease and gunk. Having a plumber clean this out every year will keep buildup to a minimum and make sure your drains are flowing freely.
Clean and Seal Countertops
If you chose a natural countertop for your kitchen, like granite or marble, you should clean the counter with a special stone cleaner every year. After that, you’ll need to apply sealer. This way, your countertops will stay in top shape.
You may also want to boost your home’s insulation. Spraying in insulation is a good way to fill finished walls, but you should also insulate ceilings and attics. There are several different types of insulation to choose from. Each will offer its own protection from the elements, some more than others. Talk with a professional to evaluate your existing insulation.
Scrub the Carpets
Your carpet should also get a thorough cleaning before the fall. The type of deep cleaning a professional can do will remove all the dirt your family tracked in all summer long and get the stains out.
Mind the Wood Floors
If you have wood flooring, these also need attention. You should remove the furniture from the room and clean the floors every year, and every decade the floors should be refinished. This means they will need to be sanded and a new coat of stain and polyurethane applied.
Check the Washing Machine
You should also check your washing machine. Inspect the hoses to the washer for leaks and kinks. These hoses should be replaced every five years anyway, so if you can’t remember the last time you changed them, you should probably replace them now.
Clean the Dryer
The dryer also needs attention, namely the lint traps. You should check where the dryer empties outside. This area needs to be clear of debris and anything else that could block it, like plants and bird nests. There is also a vent the between the lint filter you clean after drying your clothes and the one that empties outside. You should take care to clean this as well.
Check your Heater
The best time to check your heating system is before you need it. HVAC professionals can help you check the burner and ignition. They will also need to adjust and lubricate the moving parts in your central air or furnace system and check the control systems. It may also be necessary to recalibrate the heating system. Electrical connections and fuel lines should also be checked. They may need to be tightened or replaced. Air filters also need to be cleaned or changed and you may want to make sure that you have enough furnace filters to last the season — or at least a few months.
For more information on home maintenance and the tasks every homeowner should observe annually, check out the latest in the home maintenance solutions from Ambient Edge. Call 928-377-4631 in Arizona or 702-479-7464 in Nevada and schedule your appointment today.
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