Some practical tips that you will remember when things break. Don't stress, even I don't always do it.
Whether this is your first time owning a home or whether you're a seasoned homeowner, these practical tips can help you extend the life of various components of your home.
Clean or replace HVAC filters.
You need to do this more than once a year. I typically do this at the start of a new season. A dirty filter forces your heat, ventilation and air-conditioning system to work harder, which in turn drains your wallet. It also creates extra strain on the system shortening the life of the item. The other benefit that I care about is that it also reduces allergens in your home so you can sleep better knowing that your family and pets have cleaner air. In recent years, this has become even more important with the increase of fire seasons in California and lower air quality in areas hundreds of miles away from the flash point.
Clean your gutters.
Gutters direct rain away from your roof and home, protecting both in the process. Clogged gutters, meanwhile, open your home to water damage—and there’s a good chance you won’t notice the damage until you need an expensive repair. I have seen this first hand, the rain gutters fill up and the water starts to go un under the roof shingles causing a leak in your attic or to trickle down between your interior and exterior walls which is one the leading causes of mildew. So yes, this is a big one. Not to mention that dry-rot that is associated with it.
Clean your dryer vent.
Not all lint gets caught in the lint trap; some makes its way into the dryer vent. A clean vent will save you money by reducing the time your dryer has to run, while a clogged vent not only wastes money but could cause a house fire. Ask any firefighter or do a search on youtube. Seriously, the lint is highly flammable. Still don't believe me? Save a couple of lint loads from your dryer and place in a bbq grill and light it.
Clean and repair your screens.
Trying to reduce your electric bills this summer? In many parts of the country, you can keep your house cool (at least at night) by opening the windows. Gently scrub on a flat surface with soapy water. Also, patch small holes as needed. Screens are not that expensive and independent and big box hardware stores will repair or have replacements at a reasonable cost. I replaced a screen for a sliding glass door for less than $80. Totally worth it. No one likes being woken up by a mosquito at 3:18am. Been there, done that.
Clean decks, driveways, fences and other outside surfaces.
A pressure washer makes this job easier. If you don’t have one, borrow one from a neighbor or consider renting one from a home center. While you’re cleaning, inspect for damage. This is really just about pride of ownership. I've done this and it's messy and once you start with that first clean spot there is not turning back. However, it does look great.
Repair any cracked or peeling paint.
A good paint job makes your home look nice, while providing a protective barrier from the elements. Touch-up painting is easy to do and inexpensive. This is important because your only defense against the elements of rain, sun, wind, and even bugs is paint. So, if there is a crack or chip water will go underneath and create more damage. It will not be noticeable and when it is, the cost far outweigh the $10 and 30 minutes it would take to go around the home.
Vacuum your refrigerator coils.
The coils you’ll find on the bottom or back of your fridge conduct the hot air from inside the unit. If they’re coated with dust, they do the job less efficiently and cause your refrigerator to work harder; that means a higher electric bill for you. Use a vacuum cleaner hose or a brush on the coils. I really love this one because of the instant gratification. Trust me. Pull your fridge out and see the insane amount of dust collected on the coils and also on the floor. I had to replace a compressor on a newer fridge and it wasn't cheap. What did they do when they fixed it? Vacuumed the coils!
Replace the batteries in your smoke detectors.
You never know when you’ll need them. Sometimes it’s a matter of life or death, so take the time to change the batteries now. Several years ago it became a law that all homes sold have Carbon Monoxide detectors installed prior to the close of escrow. Those batteries are most likely at the end of their service life and unlike smoke, you can't smell C02, the silent killer.
Clear vegetation around your AC compressor.
To work efficiently, the compressor needs good airflow. To ensure it has breathing room, prune any plant growth that could block it. You may live in the bay area where and no ac unit exist but this is still important. Instead of the AC unit, focus on clearing away shrubs and plants away from your home. Vegetation is bad for a home. It creates moisture which leads to dry rot and also allows termites and other pests to access your home. For example, people love wisteria and even I will say it looks amazing. Problem is that the cascade of flowers are just a ladder from mice and roof rats. Cost for clearing roof rats? A lot. Smell? Not so great. Mess? Don't want to talk about it.
Drain your water heater.
Sediment builds up in your water heater tank. Use the spigot near the bottom of the heater to drain it. By doing so, you’ll prolong its life and reduce your electric bill. This is just something no one ever thinks about until you've seen one drained and see all the sediment. Once you see if first hand it helps explain rust stains in the tub, toilets, and sinks.
I hope you find this information useful and please try one. I'm sure you can remember some of these items being called out on your home inspection. Feel free to leave a comment. If you need a recommendation for a handyman or contractor for a repair or help, call or email.