Spring is a great time to perform routine house maintenance. It is also a great time to get outside and hike or play golf. Seeing as I am a Home Inspector, I guess I will stick to writing about home maintenance. Below are some home maintenance items people often forget about that can save you money this summer and the summers to come.
Clean the Clothes Dryer Vent
The dryer vent accumulates lint over time, even if you clean your lint trap before every use. A clogged vent can reduce your dryer’s efficiency causing longer run times and higher utility bills. Clogged dryer vents can also create a fire hazard due to the dryer overheating – in fact it is one of the leading causes of house fires. To effectively clean your dryer and venting system, you will need a special brush. Vacuum attachments alone do not work as well because they do not remove all the lint from the duct walls. If you do not want to tackle this yourself there are companies in the valley that can do it for you.
Service the A/C Unit(s)
Have your AC cleaned and serviced. Clean coils operate more efficiently, and an annual service call will keep the system working at peak performance to save you money. This time of year many heating and cooling contractors are not as busy and run specials on services. As they say: You can spend a little now or a lot later. And don’t forget to change or clean the filters if needed.
Inspect and Drain the Water Heater
Look around the base of your water heater and the pipes on top of the water heater for evidence of leaks. The average lifespan of a water heater is 10 years. If water leakage or rust is found, the water heater may need to be replaced. The valley has particularly hard water. You may need to drain your water heater because of the sediment buildup in the tank if you don’t have a water conditioner installed in your home. A clean tank equals a longer tank life.
Inspect the Roof for Damage
Maintaining the roof is the best way to prevent leaks and damage to the structure below the roofing. It also can extend the life of the roofing material. It is typical to see several cracked, broken, or out of place roof tiles during a roof inspection. Many roofing companies will inspect your roof for free or a small fee. If the repairs are extensive I recommend getting a second opinion before authorizing the repairs. The safest way to inspect the roof yourself for major damage is from the ground with binoculars or from the edge of the roof on a ladder. Also take a look at the eaves. Water stains or moisture damage at the eaves is a good indication you may have a roofing issue.
Inspect the House Exterior
Inspect the exterior siding for cracks or damage. If you have cracks in your stucco or gaps around your doors, windows or other penetrations that are wider than a nickel, you should caulk or seal them to prevent water and pest intrusion into the wall. Make sure that your lawn sprinkler heads do not spray the walls of the house. Over time the water can deteriorate the surface causing unnecessary repairs. Replace any worn or damaged weather stripping around the doors and windows will keep your cool air inside and help reduce your electric bill this summer.