Have you inspected your home lately?

by Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Inc. on January 25, 2011

An important part of homeownership is maintenance. As we begin a new year, the following check-list provides insight into maintaining your investment. These maintenance tips were compiled from the National Realtors Association with input from local experts Sunset Air and Reliable Electric.

Furnace Filters, Change Monthly: Clogged filters decrease furnace efficiency and can cause breakdowns. “When filters get very dirty or even plugged they cause a high static pressure that will decrease air flow through your home heating system. The reduced air flow can force your furnace or heat pump to overheat and trip out on a high limit. This can be a dangerous situation and potentially damage your equipment. On top of that the heat you are paying to produce is not allowed to get into your home thus raising your utility costs. Keeping your filters clean is an easy and inexpensive way to ensure proper and efficient operation of your system.” Brian Fleutsch, President, Sunset Air.

Test and Clean Electrical Components: “Turn circuit off and clean your electric heaters with compressed air or vacuum every year. Push the test and reset buttons on your GFCI receptacles every 6 months, if a GFCI fails to trip or reset contact a qualified electrician. Test all smoke detectors and replace the batteries every year. If a circuit breaker continually trips for no apparent reason, contact a qualified electrician.” Dan Meconi at Reliable Electric, Inc.

Water Heater, Drain At Least Once A Year: Draining your tank will carry away sediments along with the water. Removing these sediments can prolong the life of the heater.

Baseboard Heating, Clean the Coils: If you have baseboard heating units that use hot water, clear dust from the coils inside the units to maximize heating efficiency. Clean dust whenever you see it accumulating. If you have a hot water boiler/furnace, you should also oil the pump inside the furnace twice a year. Look for the three spots on the pump designated for oiling.

Check for Drips and Leaks: Look under sinks periodically to check for leaks or water stains that might indicate leaks. Catching a small problem early can prevent water damage. Use a plunger to clean out sinks and tubs whenever water doesn’t drain normally.

Keep Water Out: Water can be a major enemy of your house and we get plenty of it here in the Pacific Northwest. Check each season for signs of water damage to your home. Flashing, the metal pieces used to seal the areas between roofs and chimneys and around doors and windows, are especially vulnerable to damage by wind or age. Loose flashing can let water seep under a roof or inside walls, which in turn can cause mold.

Inspect Your Home’s Foundation: Check your home’s foundation for cracks or gaps that could let in water or animals. Also look at the ground around your house. As homes age, they often sink slightly below the surrounding ground. Settling can let water puddle against the foundation and possibly damage it. Doing major landscaping work also can cause changes to the ground’s pitch that may lead to water flowing toward the house instead of away from the foundation.

Chimneys. In the Northwest, chimneys take a great deal of weather abuse. Visually inspect your chimney each year for signs of loose mortar or loose or missing bricks. Have the insides of chimneys cleaned every two to three years.

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