Home Maintenance Tips

5 Issues to Address Now

By SaleCore - BHHS PenFed Realty

For most Americans, your home is your biggest investment, so why not protect it? Whether you’re planning to sell in the future, or happy where you are, home maintenance must always be a priority. It’s easy to procrastinate, to ignore the warning signs, but keeping a watchful eye on these 5 issues will help ensure that a small problem doesn't turn into a much larger and more expensive problem in the long run. The key is not waiting until there’s an issue to deal with; a little prevention goes a long way.

1. Foundation and Concrete Cracks

Cracks in the concrete ready for repair

Take a walk around the outside of your home. Are there cracks in your foundation or concrete work? A small crack can quickly become a larger crevice that could lead to a potentially hazardous situation. If water seeps in, it could cause the crack to expand, widening the hole and possibly compromising the structural integrity. Repair cracks with a quick-setting filler or mortar mix to prevent these tiny gaps from growing into a huge repair bill.

2. Gutters

Homeowner cleaning the rain gutters with gloves on

Your gutters control the flow of rainwater on your house, protecting your roof, siding, and foundation. If you notice your gutters and downspouts are overflowing with leaves or other debris, or don’t seem to drain properly, clean them out thoroughly, confirm they are firmly affixed to the house, and make sure the downspouts drain away from the foundation. Your gutters should be cleaned twice per year, and is a small price to pay when you consider the expensive consequences of putting it off.

3. Water Warnings

Concerned homeowner calling plumber while holding bucket under a roof leak

In most instances, we don’t know we have a leak until it’s too late. Could early detection prevent this stress? Regularly check faucets and under your sinks to make sure there are no signs of leaks. Check the flapper in the toilet tank to make sure it has not worn out. Fix and replace what you can. In addition, tackle any slow drains in your home before they become clogged. It’s better to snake the drain with a wire hanger, or clog remover tool, than use drain cleaner, which can be harmful to your pipes.

4. Roof

A well maintained roof

Homeowners dread the thought of replacing their roof, but maintaining the one you have can increase its lifespan. Remove any branches, leaves or other debris that can accumulate on a roof. Check the attic or other interior ceiling for stains that can indicate water is seeping into your home. Examine (or have examined by a professional) the roof for missing, lifted or loose shingles, and check the rest of the shingles for moss and mold, worn spots denoted by missing granules, cracks, peeling and curling. Taking care of roof issues will also help the heating and cooling systems in the home to operate more efficiently, and prevent leaks in the roof that lead to water damage. It’s recommended to have your roof professionally inspected twice a year.

5. HVAC Systems

A frustrated couple contemplating solutions to their HVAC problem

It’s easy to take our heating, ventilation, and cooling systems for granted, out-of-sight, out-ofmind. But this is one of the most important home maintenance priorities, and can be very costly, should you choose to ignore it.

  • Replacing air filters. New air filters will prolong the life of your units, make them work more efficiently, and maintain higher air quality. Replacement frequency depends on size of home, air quality, pets, and any health/allergy conditions.
  • Cleaning air ducts. Air ducts are traps for dust, pet hair, and other contaminants that get sucked into your heating and cooling system. These contaminants stick to any damp ducting where mold, bacteria, and other fungi can grow. This is not easily a do-it-yourself job, but good news is that professionals only recommend having it done every three to five years.
  • Sealing window and doors. Small cracks and fissures can lead to an inefficiently heated and cooled home, which can overwork your systems. Even when properly applied, caulk and weatherstripping only lasts a couple of years. The time and money spent sealing air leaks can be easily recouped in one heating season or less.
  • Draining water heater. Draining your water heater once a year will flush out any minerals or debris in the system, ensuring it runs more efficiently.

Homeowners should have their HVAC systems checked by a technician in the fall and spring. Not only will this ensure you’re warm in the winter and cool in the summer, but it will also show future buyers that you’ve cared for your home.

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