The pleasures of home ownership are many, but the responsibilities of maintaining a home can sometimes seem overwhelming. This handy checklist of common home maintenance tasks, broken down into seasons and months, can help make those tasks more manageable. Some of these tasks are more essential than others. Those most essential are those that affect the health and safety of you and your family.
According to Consumer Reports, half of the more than 150,000 residential fires that occurred from 2006 to 2008 were caused by faulty appliances. Tragically, those fires resulted in 150 deaths, 3,670 injuries and approximately $547 million in property damage. Some of the faulty appliances had been recalled for defects that their owners were unaware of. In addition to performing regular physical inspections of your appliances, you can check for any recalls here. The site also provides important information about what to do if you find a defect.
According the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 30,000 injuries are caused each year by accidents involving garage doors. Many of these injuries are suffered by children. Regular inspection and maintenance of your garage door is the best way to avoid becoming one of those statistics. Experts recommend that spring tension, guides, and fixings be checked a minimum of every three months for excessive wear, fraying, or corrosion. You should test the reverse remote control system monthly. You can do this by placing a block of wood on the ground where the door would close. It should reverse within a second or so upon coming in contact with the wood. The photo-electric sensors should also be tested by placing something in front of them.
Hidden leaks can not only cause costly structural damage to your home, but they can also put your family’s health at risk. Persistent leaks can lead to mold and mildew, which have been associated with a number of illnesses. Discovering and repairing leaks quickly is the best way to avoid further damage caused by pests like termites and carpenter ants that are attracted to moist wood. Leaks occur most frequently under sinks and toilets, but they can also occur in pipes within the walls, so any discoloration on walls or ceilings should be promptly investigated. The cost of a plumber or a roof repair may be expensive, but it will be far less costly than major structural repairs caused by water damage.
While many homeowners never think to check the condition of their foundations, real estate agents know that problems with a home’s foundation can adversely affect its sale price. A cracked foundation can affect a great many things in the rest of the house, too. It can result in misalignment of doors and windows, sloping floors, cracked walls, and water in the basement, just to name a few. Repairs for serious foundation problems are among the costliest types of home repair. The foundation should be checked at least annually. Water is one of the primary causes of foundation damage. To prevent water from getting too close to your foundation, the soil around your home should be sloped away from the foundation walls by 6 inches over ten feet. Rain gutter downspouts should extend at least 5 feet away from the house.
Heating and cooling systems are expensive, and regular maintenance is the best way to both make them operate at peak efficiency and make them last longer. It’s also an important step in safeguarding your family’s health and safety. Regular replacement of air filters maintains not just your HVAC system, but your air quality. Proper ventilation is necessary to control humidity and potentially harmful contaminants. Industry experts recommend that heating and air conditioning systems be checked, cleaned and serviced at least once a year. They recommend spring for cooling systems and autumn for heating systems, the season before the heaviest usage.
The list of things that need to be done to maintain a home can sometimes seem endless. While most of us never seem to get to the bottom of that lengthy list, items affecting health and safety should always be at the top.