After you’ve put so much time and effort into finding your ideal home, not to mention the money you’ve invested, don’t let it be a waste! The time is now to start thinking about preventative maintenance. Failure to keep on top of common household maintenance issues can lead to bigger, more expensive problems down the road. However, with routine inspections, by yourself of a professional, you can troubleshoot potential problems in your plumbing, roof, foundation, HVAC system, and elsewhere.
Here are some common maintenance issues that need regular attention, and some simple preventative measures to keep larger problems from occurring.
1. Clutter in the Gutter
Where there are gutters, there is clutter! Gutters are essential for keeping water away from the foundation, doorways, windows, siding, wood, and other areas of your house. However, when your gutters are full of leaves, limbs, soot, or even frisbees, then the job of the gutter is impaired. As rainwater reaches the tributaries of the gutter, the clutter will cause the water to overflow down onto the foundation of your house or towards windows, onto doorways, sidewalks, and porches, or even into your interior walls. Eventually, faulty gutters will rot wood, separate from the house, and will need to be completely repaired.
Inspect your gutters every month for obstructions, loosened anchors, and bent or broken gutters and downspouts. If you are unable to clean your gutters, call a professional and make necessary repairs before further foundation or house damage occurs.
2. The Roof Over Your Head
It may not rain every day in Portland as many people believe, but there’s no denying that it rains a lot. With the rain comes problems such as moss on the roof. While this may look quaint and endearing to many, it only looks good on someone else’s roof. Not on yours. While the moss seems harmless it can potentially lead to moisture issues within your roof which can cause damage throughout your house.
Moisture, missing shingles, damage around the soffit and fascia, and old or worn shingles can lead to water damage and safety issues if not taken seriously. Attics, walls, carpeting, flooring, electrical outlets, and furniture can be potentially destroyed by a faulty roof. This can lead to expensive repairs.
As a preventative measure, walk around your house once a month and look at the condition of your roof, and keep a close eye on your ceilings and attic too. If you see anything out of the ordinary or any distress to shingles or tiles, call a roofing expert to inspect your roof for possible issues.
3. A Strong Foundation
Like the foundation of any structure, you depend on its strength and integrity for safety and security. When a foundation becomes weakened, larger issues arise and become problematic, especially when your home is involved. Your home’s foundation can be jeopardized by excess water penetration, issues of settling, extreme weather conditions, or it may be unsound due to poor construction.
You can prevent foundation problems from getting worse by monitoring the surroundings of your house. However, it is also important to recognize potential larger problems that will require professional help to correct. Large cracks on the outside of your foundation, evidence of water on floors, or cracks in interior flooring are signs of larger issues that may lead to a 15% reduction in your home’s value.
4. Help for Your HVAC
If you notice that your HVAC system is cycling on and off frequently or is staying on without changing the temperature then there may be a simple solution. Time to change the filter. If that doesn’t correct the problem you may need to call in an HVAC repair service. After all, your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC) can be your best friend in hot or cold weather. So like any friend, you need to show it you care. That way it will work when you need it most.
To preserve your HVAC system and its many complex parts, you will need to have it serviced regularly. You should change the filters seasonally to provide clean air within your house and clean off your outside AC unit with a hose and clear any trees or shrubs around the unit to ensure maximum airflow. For the more technical parts, call an HVAC expert to service your system once a year to guarantee that the cooling and heating elements are running efficiently and at maximum power. You do not want to wait for your AC or furnace to malfunction to get it serviced due to higher emergency costs and possible unavailable parts.
5. Take Care of Your Water Heater
Tucked away out of sight there is a very important member of your house that provides warm and hot water for your basic needs and luxuries. It’s your water heater and there are probably people in your home who don’t realize such a thing even exists. They never give a thought to how their bathwater got so warm and steamy.
Yes, water heaters are often overlooked and neglected because they are quiet and efficient, however, they are not maintenance-free. Water heaters should last between 5-10 years when properly maintained. Signs of an aging water heater that need attention can include knocking noises, evidence of water around its base, lack of warm or hot water, or a longer waiting period for the water to warm.
Flush your water heater at least twice a year to remove harmful mineral sediment. Also, it’s a good idea to have a technician inspect the unit to make sure it is functioning properly.
6. Pay Attention to Toilets, Sinks, and Pipes
We depend on water for everything from showers to washing our cars, but we often don’t think about the pipes needed to transport the water. That is, until it is too late. Many pipes have fittings and seals that corrode, shrink, or break over time. This leads to water damage in ceilings from showers and floor damage from leaking toilet rings at the base of the floor. It also ruins cabinets, countertops, and walls.
Do your due diligence by inspecting for leaks around your house often. Evidence of small leaks usually involves easy fixes, but once the leaks become bigger, repair costs could be thousands of dollars.
7. Don’t Get Stumped by the Sump Pump
One way to ensure a safe and strong foundation is to make sure water is being directed away from your house and that is the purpose of your sump pump. Sump pumps take away water from around and under your house and prevent problems that affect the structure of the house.
To maintain a properly working sump pump, check its water level, clean the pump of debris, check its power source, and have it serviced yearly. It is also a good idea to have a battery backup system installed and maintained in case of power failures.