Staying mindful of a few home maintenance requirements will keep you and your home happy and healthy while avoiding costly repairs in the future. The tips shared here will help you win your fair share of battles while saving you time and money.
- Keep the Water Outside, Outside.
The simple fact is you can’t stop water; what you can do is anticipate it and direct it away from your foundation knowing it is bound by gravity and it’s tendency to find the path of least resistance.
Inspect your roof and attic at the end of the winter. If your shingles look like potato chips curling at the edges you need a new one or at least a repair in the affected area. Look for staining on plywood roof sheathing in your attic, or worse, brown stains on ceilings below.
Make sure your gutters and downspouts are clear and properly leveled to promote drainage. When rainwater exits your down spout does it run away from your foundation on its own or does it need some help from landscape tubing? Grading is important so follow the 5 to 5 rule: you want to have the soil at your foundation at least five inches higher than the soil five feet away from the foundation. Again, remember gravity’s role.
- Keep the Water Inside, Inside.
Specifically, keep water inside the fixtures it’s supposed to be in without signs of leaks or drips. There’s a lot of water-related activity in a home and it needs to be monitored. Here is a helpful checklist of where to look for leaks:
- Kitchen: fridge, sink, dishwasher
- Bathroom: shower/tub, toilet, vanity sink
- Utility room: washing machine and utility sink, water heater, furnace, hose bibs, etc.
Inspecting these places every New Year’s Day, along with smoke detectors, takes one hour at most and saves you time and money in the long run if you spot any issues.
- Keep Your HVAC System Fit.
Your heating and cooling system needs to be kept in top working condition. Luckily, it’s very easy to do and takes no mechanical knowledge and very little money. This system provides the conditioned air you breath and a respite from outdoor temperatures in winter and summer. It is both easy and necessary to change your own air filter once a month. Also try to have the system inspected twice a year – in March and September – this is like a routine oil change for your car.
Some interesting research has come out recently about the advantage of running the fan of your HVAC system in the “On” position at all times rather than on “Auto.” When doing so, set the system thermostat at a higher or lower temperature than normal (76 degrees as opposed to 72 in the summer) and lower in the winter than you may have normally done (64 degrees rather than 68). I’ve been doing this for a year now, my utility costs are a bit lower but the atmosphere in the house feels better with the continuous change of air. There’s less strain on the unit to run continuously then to turn on and off twenty to thirty times a day.
Keeping these few simple things on your radar, mindful of the laws of water and gravity, will keep you safe and out of hot water, or cold water, depending on the time of year.