12 Home Care Tips to Protect Your Investment
If you own a home, it’s likely your biggest investment. So, you want to take care of it like it’s your own baby. Here are 12 tips to protect your personal castle.
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Maintain the Driveway and Garage
Your approach to the house isn’t just aesthetic; it’s functional too. Patch, repave, or seal your driveway as needed, especially after rough winters. Check the function of your garage door, including autoreverse, and inspect the garage slab for cracks.
Clean and Inspect Your Chimney
Every spring, hire a chimney professional to clean and inspect your chimney. This removes buildup that could start a fire and ensures there are no small animals able to enter. Repair brickwork as necessary. The top real estate agents Bellevue, WA home buyers work with will tell you chimney problems often crop up on home inspections, so don’t let that happen to you.
Keep Gutters and Your Roof Clear
Depending on where you live, you may need to clean your gutters anywhere from twice a year to monthly. At a minimum, check gutters and downspouts in the spring and fall and after major storms that produce debris.
You should also inspect your roof after major storms to see if there is damage to the roofing material from hail or branches, or if any flashing or shingles have come loose. Repairs may be covered by your homeowner's insurance.
If you see ice building up on your gutters (ice damming), have it removed immediately by a roofing pro to prevent leakage and damage inside and out.
Trim trees that are encroaching on your roofline. If this isn’t feasible for you, hire an arborist for the trees and a roof or gutter specialist for the rest. Some firefighters also moonlight doing this kind of tricky work.
Maintaining your roof’s integrity is vital to the soundness of your home. If you look at houses for sale in Bellevue, WA, you’ll see many owners proudly tout their roof’s longevity for a reason: it always adds value to the home and ensures it will pass inspection.
Inspect for Pests
If you’ve had any incidents with pests indoors or out, you may want to call an expert to deal with the situation. Carpenter ants, termites, and rodents can be destructive to homes, eating away at wooden elements and even causing fires by chewing on electrical wiring. Seal any areas that allow pests inside and use screening to keep animals from crawling under porches.
Keep the Outdoors Out
Check your windows and doors in spring and autumn to make sure you’re not losing valuable energy to the outdoors and letting hot or cold air in. Use seals and gaskets to close gaps. Remove debris regularly from basement window wells and check sills for ice or leaves that could cause rot.
Inspect and Service Your HVAC System
Every spring and fall, have a certified technician inspect and service your HVAC system, including both the furnace and air conditioning units. If you have forced air, hire professional duct cleaners every few years. Meanwhile, replace furnace filters every month or so on your own.
Radiators should be bled annually before winter by releasing the valve, catching drips with a rag, and then tightening the valve when the sound of air seeping out stops.
Test the Sump Pump
If you have a sump pump in your basement, you want to know it will work in an emergency situation. Clean the pump, and then pour water into it to make sure it runs.
Depending on the age of your home, your plumbing may need more or less TLC. In older homes particularly, it’s essential to watch for small leaks, moisture building on pipes, or mold/mildew on walls and ceilings. Call a plumber right away if you see signs of a leak that could morph into major water damage.
A plumber may also recommend flushing your hot water heater periodically. Check to make sure your water softener is running well and stays topped off with salt. Clean out your garbage disposal every month and call a professional if you notice slow draining of water in your sinks, dishwasher or clothes washer.
Test Fire and Security Systems
Replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every couple of months and give them a test run. If you have hardwired fire systems, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for maintenance. Check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher. Test your security system to ensure it’s working properly.
Clean Your Dryer Vent
Clean your dryer vent from where it leaves the machine to the outside exit. You want to do this at least once per year. This prevents the accumulation of combustible material that could cause a fire.
Clean Your Kitchen Appliances
Pull out your refrigerator and dust off the coils on the back every few months. Clean the inside of your oven as needed and don’t forget about your greasy range hood, which may need a good scrub and filter replacement.
Winterize and Summerize as Needed
Every home is unique when it comes to other routine winter and summer maintenance. Consider these needs if they apply to you:
• Lubricate patio doors to glide smoothly
• Put in and remove docks seasonally
• Repair or replace screens
• Dust and check ceiling fans
• Reseal or paint decks
• Plant and clean gardens
• Remove or cover patio furniture in winter
With a little extra care, your home will look beautiful and function well for years. Take the time to follow the steps above, and your home will maintain its value and continue to be your pride and joy.