Home Maintenance Tips For All Year Long

As responsible homeowners, we all know that there are certain things that must be done routinely with regards to the proper maintenance of our most prized possession, our home. 

Unfortunately, most of us don’t have the time or the monetary resources to do the job correctly or even address some of the types of preventative maintenance that's required. Most of us don’t know the most important items that need to be checked routinely, so we wait until something goes out, or doesn’t work anymore, then we do something about it. Sometimes, that isn’t even an incentive to act, or react. This is not a good way to maintain your most expensive possession, and it is a good way to get your homeowners insurance policy cancelled if you ever try to make an insurance claim on repair costs after the fact. Regular attention to key areas will save money over the life of the home and help to preserve the integrity of the home insurance policy.

 This isn't a big list, but there are some key areas to pay attention to:

    Besides the roof itself, the gutters are probably most important to good water drainage all year long. Most people never look or check the gutters on their homes or garages. What happens to the water once the gutters take it from the roof and deposit the water on the ground is also important. All of the gutters should be checked for leaks, and buildup of leaves, branches and dirt  at least once a month in the winter and at least every few weeks during the summer. Accumulated moisture due to a build-up of leaves, dirt and debris can lead to damage on the roof, in the attic insulation, soffits, and behind any siding, and can affect both inside the home as well as the outside. Also make sure that the water is draining away from the foundation where very serious issues can develop, affecting the stability of the entire structure of the house or garage. Check your roofs on a regular basis. Roofs sometimes take a long time to reveal a leak or any problem. Go into the attic and look for tell-tell signs of leaking, like staining of the roof boards, or damage to the insulation in the attic. This is one area that you might want to call in an expert if you have no idea what to look for. It could save you thousands of dollars in roof repairs or replacement.
    We all could lower our energy bills by spending a couple of hours every few months to make sure that our windows, doors and other house openings are properly sealed off from the outside weather. Over time, caulking will dry out and crack and sometimes it is not obvious that moisture is leaking into the house through these cracks. The caulking will start to let in outside air and eventually cause mold or mildew problems inside the house. If the doors and windows don’t have weather stripping, you should invest a few dollars and put the stripping on all windows and doors so they do not leak air and moisture into the house. This also prevents insects and other pests from entering the home. You should routinely check for any damage from termites throughout the entire building,  including under the house too if the house. This is important.
    All appliances in the home should be carefully checked to see if they are operating  safely and properly. Gas appliances can be checked by calling the gas company on a routine basis. They will come out and check for any leaks in the appliances as well as in the gas lines and check for carbon monoxide leaks coming from the water heater or heating system. Check all plumbing fixtures like leaky faucets, sinks, garbage disposals, toilets, etc. Save yourself a lot of time and money and headaches by fixing plumbing leads as soon as they are discovered. Check the furnace and air conditioning filters every other month or so and replace them often for best results.
    Routinely check the condition of your garage (s) and any other outbuildings you have on the property. We tend to take our garages for granted and hardly ever clean them. This too is dangerous and could cost you your insurance  policy through a cancellation due to a fire, or even a flood caused by a faulty washer, or sink or plumbing problems in the garage. Check and clean the floor once in a while, including the driveway. Check for concrete cracking, or broken glass in any of the windows in the garage. Do you have a work bench or work shop within the garage?  Clean it up once in a while and be sure that any saws, drills, table saws, etc., are always unplugged when you are finished with them. If you have storage in the garage, make sure it is clean and neat and not a fire hazard. Patio enclosures should also be checked out to be sure there are no roof or patio cover leakage. The trees and shrubs around the house and garage should be trimmed regularly with any overhanging limbs from large trees cut off or cut back so if they fall they won't damage the roof or side of the building, or crack concrete areas.

IN SUMMARY:Neglecting to routinely inspect your home for needed repairs or replacement of certain items is not just a gamble with your  budget, but a serious risk in the event of a homeowners insurance claim. Standard policies include disclaimers for damage caused by neglect of the policy holder, and guess who that is You!! In Louisville we are fortunate to have many trained and experienced home repair people that you can depend on for any type of construction service or repair. Look in the Yellow Pages for the type of service you need. You can also go online and type in the appropriate service at Google.com, or use Yahoo search, Bing or which ever search you like. But don’t put off checking out these important maintenance issues.

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