Home Maintenance Tips

February 24, 2015 | Home Buying

Purchasing a home could be the biggest investment you will ever make. But the fact remains, a lot of high-priced repairs may be prevented simply by sticking to your regular maintenance schedule. Regularly assessing for issues that are emerging in your home will prevent bigger, more expensive issues that leave homeowners clambering to get an instant repair–rather than the usual cost effective one. Certainly, routine house care is something that you cannot afford to blow off.

When to Scrutinize

Springtime is an excellent time to start evaluating your property for virtually any damage or repairs. Spring and Autumn are the two best times to inspect. You want to avoid the snowy times of year, which luckily here in Windsor and Essex County we escape more so than other parts of Ontario and Canada. This will ensure that small repairs do not turn into huge expenses. Some parts of the home may need less-regular observation, and some may need more (altering the furnace filter). Nevertheless, taking a walkthrough of the home twice annually is an excellent guideline to start with.

Who Should Scrutinize

In case you’re feeling underqualified to mess with unknown water flow and every crack in your house, don’t hesitate to employ a professional home inspector or various professionals depending on area of concern. Not only will they have the ability to see any issues, they can also advise on prices and repairs right on the spot. Would you like a comprehensive assessment? Do keep in mind that home inspectors cost considerably more (around $300-$400) and might not always find every issue.

Most of the time, however, just paying attention to your own property is all it requires to see any issues that are emerging. As an example, in case your toilet runs constantly, it is likely that it should be fixed. Have you ever found that the doors do not close correctly anymore? That may be an indicator of warping or settling. Just making a record of things around your house that look “off” can make your review procedure easier. Regardless of your strategies, these places really are an excellent place to begin when assessing your home’s state:

Outdoor Things

Check chimneys for deterioration or loose bricks or mortar. Ensure metal chimneys are rust free. A white, salty build-up on the chimney (efflorescence), suggests moisture buildup, and needs to be checked out by a professional. It is wise to get your chimneys cleaned and inspected yearly, in addition to visual evaluations by yourself.

Have a leak in your home? Odds are it is your roof. Take this opportunity to trim nearby trees that could appear to be to close to the roof. Likewise, be sure to have a close look at the soffits, fascia, and flashings. Fix and touch up as needed. Assess any spots that appear to be leaking or may be pulling from the structure. Now is also the best time to touch up paint that may be wearing off due to weather.

Exterior Walls and Foundation:
If foundation is cracking call to get an expert appraisal. Otherwise, it is possible to patch it yourself (which is often piped in using a caulking gun).

Ground Grading:
Does water appear to settle round the house rather than drain away? Just use some topsoil to make a slope until you achieve the desired effect.

Doors and Windows:
Clean window wells out and assess that windows and doors open, close, and lock correctly. If any issues are spotted consult a professional immediately. Any issues pushed off could cause issues and could be extremely costly.

Porches, Verandas, and Decks:
Sealing your wooden verandas and decks annually can help prevent deterioration and rotting. Fix steps or any wobbly railings, and replace or treat any deteriorating or rotting wood. Assess for cracks or settling in verandas, and fix as necessary.

Try to find fungus development, and mildew, rot. Fix any damaged or loose insulation, and assess that attic vents are working correctly.

Assess for just about any signs of deterioration in your main breaker panel. Turn breakers off and on and check all fuses to ensure all are working correctly. Call an expert. Additionally, take this time to look over the ground fault circuit interrupters (typically around sinks as well as other water parts) to ensure they work correctly.

Heating and Cooling:
Does your heating or air conditioning unit continue to run? Now is the time to get it checked out. Assess the coils on the ac unit for any places that are bent or damaged. Clear debris from the fan blades.

Check for just about any signs of leakage in supply lines and outside faucets. Take notice of any putrid scents or signals of seepage in the lawn for those who have a septic tank. For those who have not had your tank emptied do so now. A typical size home requires a septic clean out every few years but check with a professional for details on your specific tank. Remember to check bathroom fixtures and leaky faucets. Assess for just about any signs of leakage in toilets — round the bottom or either in the tank. Check sump pumps examine the pressure relief valve in your water heater to make sure that it hasn’t seized up, and to guarantee appropriate function.

Interior Inspection

Search for any signs of water or mildew damage (yellowish spots are often an indication of water damage). Screen any major cracks, as these could be an indicator of larger issues.

As with walls, observe any water or mildew spots, and fix as needed. Search for ceilings that are drooping, and find the cause to make sure appropriate repairs are planned. Free or broken knobs, handles, or latches need also be fixed.

While no homeowner can potentially catch every issue before it develops into a costly repair, just taking note of minor “to-dos”–and fixing them–can help prevent many expensive repair bills later on. Routine home care is something no homeowner should ignore.

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