After a long harsh winter like the one we’ve had, Spring is a perfect time to get some home maintenance done while the snow is gone and temperatures are milder. Whether you own a home that is brand new or is several years old, there are a few chores that are sometimes forgotten, but should be done in order to keep your home in top condition. Just like anything else, poor maintenance can lead to costly repairs down the road. As a home builder, here are some items I recommend you do and the consequences if not done!
1. Clean out your dryer vents regularly. Along with the lint trap within your dryer, the vents that lead outdoors should be checked for any blockages or buildup. Remove the vent from the back of your dryer and vacuum to pull any excess lint from the vent hose. As well, check your outside vent and make sure it’s clean. Check to see that insects or rodents can’t get in.
By not doing this, over time, your dryer could take longer to dry clothes, attract vermin or cause odors and in extreme cases, cause a fire.
2. Clean your gutters. It’s easy to overlook your gutters because they are up high and not easy to see into. However, they can get full of leaves and debris and stop water from draining and create a backlog.
Failure to clean out the gutters could lead to water seeping into the house causing flooding and mold. In the winter, ice dams can form and cause water to overflow and freeze onto your roof, or even cause the gutter to detach because of the weight of the ice.
3. Inspect your roof. While up cleaning the gutters, take a look at your roof. Look for any damage. Today’s shingles are much better than the old asphalt shingles and last much longer. But wind damage or tree branch damage can happen to any shingle and can cause a leak that won’t be apparent to you till the damage is done.
4. Inspect your sump pump. Often a scum can build up on the float of the pump which floats up when the water rises and turns the pump on, and as the water is pumped out, the float will drop and turn the pump off. If there is scum on the float switch, it may not float properly, and the water will overflow causing a flood. Ensure the scum is cleaned off. If you have what is called a submersible pump (where as the pump sits on the bottom of the pit), the float is on a short electrical cord attached to the pump. You must make sure that the float has a clear path to float up and down without obstruction. Make sure that it can not get caught up on the top of the pump or get tangled in the discharge pipe. This too can cause the pump not to come on when required.
While you are down in your basement or crawl space with your head deep into the dark hole called the sump pit, assure that there is no debris or mud in the bottom of the sump pit. This too can cause failure because sump pumps aren’t designed to pump anything but water, and if the pump sucks in foreign matter, it can cause a failure and even burn out your pump.
Lastly, keep in mind that sump pumps are basically an electric motor with an impeller. They don’t last forever, and rarely give you notice that they are about to stop working. If your home is prone to a lot of ground water or power outages, a back up pump is not a bad investment. You can purchase a battery back up pump and even one that will operate without power by use of municipal water pressure. Contact a local plumber if this is an option for you, as any plumber will know what will work for your situation.
|5. Change your furnace filter. We often neglect our furnace filter. There are many reasons one should pay attention to the furnace|
filter. All the air in your house travels through the filter multiple times per day when the furnace fan is running, during both heating and cooling cycles. Dust, pet hair, pollen and normal air born particulates will travel with the air. If your furnace filter is dirty and restricting the air flow to your furnace, your furnace will not function at it’s designed efficiency, and it can also cause premature wear on the furnace. Furnace filters are inexpensive and available at any hardware store and there are also washable, reusable furnace filters available. Check the style and type of filter your furnace has, and pick up a spare. Lastly, clean and vacuum your air registers, most can be removed easily. You will be shocked what you may find inside a floor register.
When doing your spring clean, open and vacuum.
6. Seal cracks and gaps. It is not uncommon for houses with concrete basements or concrete block foundations to have cracks form over time. This doesn’t necessarily mean there is a structural issue, but can be the cause of a water leak. Inspect your foundation. Don’t pile debris against it nor should you mound topsoil for garden beds against it without first inspecting it and possibly protecting it first. Caulking is another item that should be inspected. All penetrations through your home are detailed with caulking to make the home air tight and water tight. This includes windows, doors, dryer and furnace vents etc. Caulking doesn’t last forever, over time it dries out, shrinks and cracks. If you are not comfortable with redoing your caulking, there are companies that specialize in just that, caulking.
7. Clean your window wells. If you have basement windows with window wells, there are often drains buried in the wells that allow water to drain from your window well to the foundation drainage system. If your window well is full of debris such as old leaves, the drain could fail and rain water could fill the well and overflow through the window. Clean out your window wells on a regular basis, it’s cheap insurance.
Keep in mind, whether your home is new or old, they all require a bit of work and preventative maintenance, do it a little at a time so it doesn’t become daunting. Following these easy home maintenance tips can save you a lot of heartbreak and money.
|Sincerely, James Bazely|
President, Gregor Homes Ltd.