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2018 Homeowner Resolutions: Improve Your Home to Run Smarter

Jan 26, 2018 07:30PM ● By Linda Ditch
How are your New Year’s resolutions going? Whether you make one or more each year or skip them all together, it’s a good idea to fill that new calendar with a few homeowner resolutions that will help maintain your house in good shape during the coming year.

These fairly simple steps can save a lot of bigger (and more expensive) headaches down the road.

Start Outside

  • Grab a notepad and pencil (or a camera), and then spend a few minutes walking around your house to look for problems. Check for missing roof shingles, clogged gutters and downspouts, rotted siding and windows, and proper water drainage around the foundation. Make a to-do list as you go. For example, you might write “Caulk open holes that could allow water to penetrate the house and cause water damage and mold.” Also, check to see if the perimeter soil or mulch is at least four inches away from the siding to avoid water damage.
  • Test your automatic garage-door opener each month to make sure it reverses when the door is blocked. In addition, lubricate the door’s hardware to keep it running smoothly.
  • Check the outdoor steps, porch, deck, sidewalks, and driveway for damage and snap a photo or make a note to remind yourself to get it repaired, if necessary, to prevent trips and falls.
  • See any peeling paint? Time to get a new exterior paint job to keep the siding and trim protected from the elements. If you see mildew or mild, make a note that it’s time for a power wash.

Heating and Cooling Systems

  • Schedule annual checkups of your heating and cooling systems to keep them on top working order. Short-changing proper ongoing care and maintenance will reduce the life of the equipment, and it will cost a lot more to operate. Heating and cooling systems require ongoing service to keep them operating safely and efficiently.
  • Vacuum the grates and registers for your heating/cooling system, as well as baseboard heaters, to remove dust, pet fur, and other debris.
  • Replace the filter on your heating/cooling system once a month during peak usage or as recommended by your system’s manufacturer.

Inside Maintenance

  • Just like outside, take a moment to walk around the inside of your home to look for problems. Pay special attention to the ceiling to look for water damage. Go up to the attic to check for water damage and to be sure the attic vents are clear. Check the water pipes in the basement, underneath each sink, and around faucets for leaks.
  • Do you know where the water shut-off valves are in your home? Locate them (look under sinks and toilets, plus the main shut-off valves in the basement) and test them to make sure they work so you’ll be prepared for a water emergency.
  • Drain your hot water heater once a year and clean out any sediment that’s collected at the bottom. Also, test the pressure relief valve. (Check heater’s manual for instructions on how to do both.)
  • Check the hoses on the washing machine for leaks and replace if necessary, and be sure to turn off the water to the machine after each use to prevent the hoses from breaking.
  • Vacuum out the clothes dryer’s exhaust duct once a year to remove any built-up lint, which is extremely flammable. If the duct pipe is plastic, replace it with a metal pipe since plastic ones are a fire hazard.
  • Have your fireplace chimney professionally cleaned once a year. Always check for nests in the chimney and loose bricks or mortar before using.
  • Replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors at least once a year. Changing the clocks in fall and again in spring is a good reminder to check or replace batteries.

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