Every year this time of year, we all tend to make a list of goals, and plans that we would like to set for the upcoming year. It could be a list of steps on how to improve your business, or the popular “I am going to lose weight and get in better shape battle”. One great “To Do List” to make for the upcoming year is for the place that you live in, your home. Just like a yearly doctor checkup, or your scheduled oil change for your car, your home should have a to do list of maintenance items. The following is a “To Do List” that every property owner, or renter should follow and add to their schedules. Following this list will pay off financially down the road when you decide to sell the property. Some of the items are monthly, quarterly, and yearly. If you have any questions on any of these items, or would like for us to do some of these things, feel free to reach us. Like the old saying goes “Today’s Inconveniences, become tomorrow’s regrets”
Monthly to do list
1. Change out A/C filters– Sounds very simple, but most property owners are horrible at doing this consistently. Setting up a reminder each month will go a long way in keeping the A/C running in the most efficient manner. We recommend making a yearly investment at the beginning of the year and purchasing 12 filters, one for each month. This practice will help you pay less in energy due to you’re A/C system running smoothly. A dirty A/C filer, not only makes the A/C run longer, and harder, but it will dirty the coil located on the inside of the A/C. A damage coil is one of the top reasons why the A/C fails. Keeping the coil clean will prolong the life of the A/C, and allow for clean air to circulate the home. In some cases, buying the filters in bulk means that you will pay less for each filter by providing a saving over the whole year, and most importantly does not give you a reason for not changing them out.
2. Clean out A/C condensate line– The Interior A/C air handler has coils that causes moisture. This moisture is diverted to the exterior of the home by the A/C condensate line. This line usually gets clogged up by algae, and mineral buildup. You can prevent a clog by simply pouring a cup of household bleach into the line from the inside, this should be done every month. To remove a clog once it has occurred, attach a wet/dry vacuum to the drain line outside (removing the paper filter first) and suck the clog out. If a wet/dry vacuum is not available, you can also clean out the A/C condensate line by using a water hose on the exterior. Please see video below. Many homes have had flooding damage due to a clogged A/C condensate line, this is especially true for snowbirds who come down to South Florida for a few months out of the year, and keep the A/C running at 78 degrees when they are not in town. This is a must do item for every homeowner.
3. Check for running toilets- Check all valves, handles, flaps/stoppers- A running toilet is the equivalent of throwing money down the toilet. Running toilets can increase a monthly water bill by $35-$50 per toilet. More importantly our precious commodity of water is just being wasted. If you notice your water bill going up from one month to the next, it most likely due to toilet issues.
4. Clean your Garbage Disposal- Cleaning the garbage disposal once a month is a good practice that will add many years to the garbage disposal, and help with the odors in your kitchen. Many people think that this entails taking apart the garbage disposal, at times that is the case, and it should only be done by a professional. What many homeowners do not don’t know is that they can clean the disposal with everyday household products found in your fridge and pantry, below is a video that will show you how to use the household products and keep your garbage disposal in tip-top shape.
5. Clean range hood filters. If you’ve never thought of doing this, you’re in for a real “treat” when you get that filter off the hood to clean it for the first time. The Family Handyman suggests simply using a degreaser from an auto parts store mixed with hot water. Let the filter sit for a few minutes, rinse it off, and you’re good to go.
1. Test all smoke detectors– To test a smoke detector is as easy as pushing a button that is marked test button located on the smoke detector. Little by little day light saving times is starting to be recognized as the day that the smoke detectors are tested.
2. Test garage door auto reverse feature- Doing this is usually done only when the home is up for sale, and is tested by the buyers Home Inspector. Approximately 30,000 injuries a year are caused by garage doors. Testing the auto reverse feature once a quarter is a good practice that will ensure proper safety to you and your family.
3. Clean all gutters from leaves and debris- Doing this will allow you peace of mind, and will prevent something that is meant to provide a benefit, of becoming a nightmare. While having clean gutters, and allowing for proper water diversion is a good practice to preventing roof leaks, a clogged gutter can also make nice homes for pests, rodents, mold, and honeycombs from bee infestations. The number of times that clearing out gutters should be done all depends on the number of trees in the property. If one is not physically able to do so, the homeowner should consider hiring someone to do it, or installing screens over the gutters.
4. Deep clean all tile grout- There are many ways and techniques to clean tile grout. One thing is for certain, failure to clean tile grout will result in a tougher time when you decide to clean it. Click here to find out tips from Bob Villa on ways to keep your tile grout clean.
5. Clear out/ clean dryer duct- Not only will your dryer work better and you’ll save on your electrical bill, but doing this practice can prevent a fire from starting. Per the United States Fire Administration, a FEMA Department; 2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year and cause an estimated: 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss. The leading cause of home clothes dryer fires is failure to clean them (34 percent). Nationwide, more home clothes dryer fires occur in the fall and winter months, peaking in January. Cleaning of the dryer duct all depends on the conditions of the home. Some dryer vents are only a couple of feet, and hooked up from the dryer existing to the exterior wall. Other dryer vents are 10 feet or more, and are hooked up from the dryer existing out of through the roof. Proper technique depends on what you have. Consider hiring a professional to do it.
1. Inspect and test your water heater & “pressure relief valve” – Some plumbers recommend testing the valve every two years, but one water heater manufacturer — Rheem — recommends doing it every six months. The test is simple. You pull up gently on the lever on the top of the valve and verify that hot water is expelled through the overflow tube, which should drain to the exterior of the property. Testing can reduce the chance of a leak caused by mineral and corrosion buildup. The temperature and pressure relief valve (TPR valve) opens to release pressure buildup in the water heater when the temperature or the pressure gets dangerously high, preventing a possible explosion.
WARNING-It is recommended that for the first time this is done, that it be done by a General Contractor, or Plumbing Professional. Below is a great video posted on YouTube by Rotter Rooter.
2. Inspect the exterior of your home- A yearly walk through of the outside of the property can reveal many things, for example newly formed cracks on the walls, possible trip hazards in the floor and sidewalks, damages to soffit screens that will let rodents into your home. Inspecting and documenting this, will also allow you to understand what is causing the issues above. Catching the cause in the beginning stages is an effective way of preventing a costly repair that usually goes unchecked for years and can become a deal breaker when you are selling the home.
3. Check all shutters, windows, and exterior doors-Homeowners should check all shutters, shutter screws, hardware, during the spring or summer. Accordion shutter tracks should be cleaned out from leaves, and lizard droppings. Many homeowners go for years without checking the shutters, only to find out too late that they can’t screw in panels, or close accordion shutters. Besides checking the shutters, homeowners should open and close all windows, clean inside of windows, check caulking of windows. Many homeowners go years, even decades without opening any windows. Checking your windows will let you know if you have any structural issues with your walls do to settling of the foundation. This practice will also keep all hardware properly working, and your windows looking cleaner.
4. Check tree limbs- Before the hurricane season begins, it a good practice to check for all tree limbs that may be over the roof line, or hitting electrical lines. Trimming of the tree limbs will go a long way in preventing damage to the home when a storm with high winds occurs. Before the pruning or cutting of any tree, please first consult with a Certified Arborist. Many local municipalities in South Florida have strict rules when it comes trees.
5. Check roof for loose tiles– Roof tiles become a flying projectile during a hurricane. As an inspector I have heard of stories from Cutler Bay residents recalling how roofing tiles went through the neighbors shingle roof. Loose roof tiles usually happen around the ridges of the roof. If physically able to do so, homeowner can check for loose tiles and perform adequate repairs. Loose tiles are fixed by attaching a foam adhesive under the tile.
WARNING- Improper techniques of using a ladder, and climbing any roof can cause physical damage to the home, person climbing the roof, and the roof. It is recommended that this item be done by a roofing contractor, or property inspector.
Disclaimer, if you have lived in your home for more than 30 years, it might be a good idea and get the whole property inspected. This is especially true, for any Realtor that is looking to list a property for sale. The above list is intended for those who have bought a home that was inspected by a licensed Home Inspector. Thank you for reading. For more information, or any assistance in doing any of these items, feel free to contact me at info@CAPinspections.com, or CLICK HERE and fill out the “Contact Us Today” tab.
Happy, healthy, and prosperous 2017 to all, and remember ““Today’s Inconveniences, become tomorrow’s regrets”.