As home inspectors, we’ve seen it all. We’ve seen the damage that failing to perform even simple routine maintenance tasks can do, often leading homeowners to unnecessarily expensive repairs or replacement.
Here are 7 home maintenance projects to schedule today to save yourself from pricey repairs tomorrow:
Drain the Sediment from Your Water Heater
Over time, the bottom of your water heater accumulates sediment. This sediment can create hot spots and may lead to damage to the water tank if you have a gas-powered water heater. If your water heater is electric, the sediment can damage the lower heating element and may lead to failure.
Taking a few minutes each year to drain the sediment using the lower valve on your water heater can pay off in the long run. Not only will it improve the longevity of your water heater and prevent a catastrophic failure, but it can even save you money on energy costs. Win-win!
Clean Dryer Vents
According to the United States Fire Administration, more than 2,900 home fires each year are caused by clothes dryers, with 34 percent of those fires caused by unclean dryer vents. Lint builds up in your dryer vents and can spark a flame or, at the very least, causes your dryer to work harder and requires you to run your dryer longer with each load.
Use a vacuum with a flexible hose or specialized dryer-cleaning kit to clean the accumulated lint from the dryer vent and lint trap at least once every 6 months. This is especially important if you use fabric softeners, as they can cause increased lint build-up. If possible, remove the vent from the back of the dryer and the exterior of your house and remove any build-up. Smooth metal ducts help decrease lint accumulation, so consider swapping them out for corrugated metal vents. And if you have plastic dryer ductwork, replace it as soon as financially possible. Plastic ductwork increases the risk of fires.
Test Your Sump Pump & Backup Pump
A clogged or non-working sump pump can cause severe basement flooding, damaging your belongings and your home’s foundation. The time to find out if your sump pump is working is not during a heavy storm!
At least once a year, pour a bucket of water into the sump pump pit, making sure your pump switches on and drains the water. If you have a backup sump pump, repeat this process after switching off your main sump pump. If you have a battery-powered backup pump with a battery that’s more than 2 years old, replace the battery even if it seems to be working fine during your test.
Check Your Foundation
Your home’s foundation is among the most important things to keep in good repair. A faulty foundation can settle, leading to cracks that can let in water and damage your basement walls.
Twice a year – we recommend spring and fall – inspect your home’s foundation. Ensure that your landscaping grades away from the foundation by at least 6 inches over 10 feet. Also, check all water downspouts to make sure they extend at least 5 feet away from the base of the foundation. If you see damage or improper grading, fix the issues yourself or hire a professional.
Clean Gutters & Downspouts
Clogged gutters and downspouts can lead to short-term and long-term damage to your home. In the short term, clogged gutters can mean improper drainage and water pouring off your home’s roof during a storm. Over time, this can lead to water damage inside your home, damage to your foundation, sagging and broken gutters, or roof damage.
Get up on a ladder at least twice a year – in spring and late fall – and clear all leaves, sticks, and other debris. Use a hose or a bucket of water to make sure water flows properly through the gutters and downspouts. While you’re up there, check your roof for signs of damage. If you don’t feel comfortable getting up that high, bring in a handyman to help.
Get HVAC & Air Conditioning Systems Cleaned & Inspected
Have you ever been at home in the middle of a frigid day when your heater stops working? It’s expensive to get a repair person out to service your HVAC system, can take days because of an influx of calls, and is downright uncomfortable in the meantime.
Calling in a pro once per year, especially if you have an aging HVAC or air conditioning system, is vital to preventing these emergency repairs. A professional will clean and inspect your entire HVAC or air conditioning system, recommending maintenance to keep everything running smoothly. You can also take an active part in your HVAC and air conditioning maintenance, covering your air conditioner each winter. Also stay on top of changing your furnace filters. It’s recommended you change smaller (1”-2”) filters every 90 days and larger filters every 3-6 months, or more often if you have pets or anyone in your home has allergies.
Check Window Seals & Wells
Broken window seals mean air is escaping your home, decreasing your home’s energy efficiency and increasing your energy bills. Clogged, dirty, or damaged window wells could prevent water from properly draining outside your home, which can lead to flooding or water damage indoors.
At least twice per year, open your windows and clear the wells of any debris or dirt. This can be accomplished with traditional home cleaners or a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. As you clean, check the wells for damage and inspect around the windows themselves to see if you have any cracked or missing seals.
Expert Home Inspections in Central Maryland
At Inspections by Bob, we want to help you protect one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make by providing thorough, quality home inspections. Contact us today to schedule your personalized home inspection.Tags: home maintenance tasks, important home maintenance