Preventative maintenance now can save a lot of time and money later
October 2, 2008
Preventative maintenance now can save a lot of time and money later and Fall is a good time to begin assessing your home for any damage or repairs that need attending to. Whether you have just moved into your first home or have been living in the same house for several years, conducting your own regular home inspections will help keep your house in good condition and maintain its value. Here is a list of a few maintenance items that can help you identify areas where work may be needed to ensure that minor repairs don’t turn into major expenses.
Window and Door maintenance
- Old or failed caulking, missing weather stripping and poorly installed windows will increase your utility bills through lost energy and it will also make your heating systems work longer than needed. The other issue is the rain and moist air leaking around these openings. Check for leaks around your windows and doors, especially near the corners such as peeling paint, a potential sign of water getting into the wood. Check caulking and weatherstripping on windows and doors for damage and tightness of fit and replace if necessary. Caulking has a life span and it should be replaced before it is worn out. Remove the old caulking and clean out the opening. Apply a full even bead of caulking around all of the doors and windows.
- Check caulking around sinks, bathtubs, and showers. Caulking can become brittle and therefore useless as a water seal. After removing the old caulking at the seams, use a resilient silicone bathroom grade caulking, and do not forget the edge of the tub at the floor and wall. If neglected, a tub enclosure that has seen extensive water damage is a costly repair that can climb into thousands of dollars.
- Check the grading and drainage around the foundation and have perimeter drains serviced. Water seeping into basements can often be caused by evetrough downspouts and negative grades to a home eventually, resulting in either dampness on the inside of the basement or foundation problems. Ensure that the ground around your home slopes away from the foundation wall, so that water does not drain into your basement. Examine the foundation walls for cracks, leaks or signs of moisture, and repair as required. The gutter and downspout system should keep water from pooling around the foundation. Be sure gutters and downspouts are kept open and in good repair and if necessary use downspout extensions. Clean leaves from eavestroughs and roofs to ensure proper drainage from the roof. Keep perimeter drains clear by installing a DrainBrain or DrainGuard System on your downspouts.
– Have your furnace or heating system serviced by a qualified service company once a year. It is wise to have this done during the off season when heating contractors aren’t as busy. Check your furnace filter. If the filter accumulates regular household dust and is not replaced regularly, your furnace has to work harder to pull the air through the duct system; shortening the life span of your furnace. Clean or replace filters monthly during the heating season. Have the chimney checked each fall before you use it. A build up of creosote and soot can be very dangerous and check chimneys for obstructions such as nests.
- Provide adequate attic ventilation so that the underside of the roof and outside air is at the same temperature. Check to make sure attic insulation is not blocking roof ventilation. If the soffit areas are blocked or filled with insulation this can create moisture build-up. If there is excessive frost or staining on the underside of the roof, or ice dams on the roof surface this could be caused by a lack of proper ventilation in your attic or air leakage from your home’s living space into the attic area. A qualified energy advisor could advise on this through proper draft-sealing.
Homeowners that take the time to address these routine maintenance items can prevent common and costly problems before they occur and minimize the damage by addressing the problems quickly and thoroughly. It’s always important to keep in mind that some jobs require the expertise and tools of a professional. If you do not feel comfortable performing some of the home maintenance tasks, or have the necessary equipment The HouseSmart Referral Network has a full range of services that can help. Visit www.TheHouseSmart.com
or call 604-542-2236 in the Metro Vancouver area, or toll free across Canada call 1-888-266-8806.
It’s Just That Easy.