We are in the middle of winter, but there is still time for home maintenance that can save you larger repair costs.
Inspect windows and doors for leaks. Check the window and door sills and surrounding trim. Don’t forget to check the high windows that you can’t see close-up. Minor water stains could be due to condensation. Peeling paint, damaged sheet rock, or warped wood can indicate window leaks. A fix may be as easy as applying silicon calk to the outside edges of a window or as complicated as replacing window trim or windows. Doors may need new weather stripping.
Move firewood off wood decks away from siding. This prevents easy access by termites and dry rot—both leading to costly repairs.
Inspect gutters and downspouts for proper connections. Clean drains of debris and leaves. It is easier to do this during a storm, when water is flowing. Water running onto the outside of your house may cause expensive damage.
Make sure water is moving away from the foundation of your house. Discharging water on the foundation for many years may weaken the foundation and the structure of your house. You may have to extend downspouts or create drainage channels; for example, French drains.
Check your sump pump. If you have a sump pumps to remove water from under your house during the rain, make sure it turns on and off and that the drain line is unobstructed. Just fill the sump (the well around the pump) with a garden house until it turns on. If you live in a particularly wet area, consider a backup generator for your pump.
Check on your Flood Hazard Status. FEMA routinely updates the list of properties that they consider vulnerable to flooding. To check on your property, see our blog, Living Near the Water in Marin. If you are newly located in a Special Flood Hazard Area, you may be eligible for a FEMA Preferred Risk Policy at a greatly reduced rate.
Make sure your fireplace is clean and the damper is working properly. If you are burning wood in your fireplace, a clean flue prevents possible flue fires. The ability to close your damper when you are not using the fireplace saves on significant heat loss up the chimney.
Check and replace the filter in your heating system. Check every 2-3 months. Change the filter when it has a visible layer of dust. The choice of the right filter depends on balancing your needs (like allergy sensitivity), furnace efficiency, and cost. The Family Handyman has some useful guidelines.
Coming soon to this Blog: Routine maintenance tasks that we recommend monthly or yearly. Keeping up your home is good for your health and good for the investment.