The Annual Home Maintenance Issue

Ladies lets face it, most of your husbands, or as they say “significant others,” what ever that means, aren’t getting it done when it comes to maintaining your home. What does it take to get people to do proactive maintenance? A step by step blueprint? Ok here it is. Follow the steps as laid out below and you can’t go wrong. Pay attention!

Quarterly: that’s every three months.

• Faucets and shower heads: Check all faucets for leaks and mineral deposit build-up. Replace washers and aerators as needed.
• Drains: Poor water down unused drains, including drains in the basement floor. Unclog slow drains by removing traps can cleaning by hand. Inspect all plumbing pipes for leaks. Check under all vanities for leaks.
• Toilets: Check for movement on the floor. Check for a good voracious flush.
• Water Heater: Check for leaks and corrosion at supply pipes. Drain 5 gallons from the bottom of a new water heater every three months.

Inside your home:
• Seal wood cabinets with a water proofing sealer.
• Lubricate squeaky door hinges.
• Inspect garage door for free movement and lube as needed.
• Inspect and lubricate window latches and rollers. Use spray silicone on hard to operate window sashes.
• Inspect your basement and / or crawlspace for cracks, leaks, and signs of wood destroying insects. Learn to identify carpenter ants, termites, and powder post beetles.
• Check and clean your ceramic tile grout while checking for cracks.
• Check the refrigerator drain pan and clean. Check refrigerator lights, and proper temperature in the freezer and refrigeration area.. Wipe the door gaskets clean of mold and dirt. Put the unit out from the wall and vacuum the rear coils and top.
• Check the dishwasher for leaks. Remove the bottom panel and inspect while running.
• Check and test all smoke alarms. Replace batteries if needed.
• Check all electrical plugs and extension cords for wear and tear. Replace if any abnormalities are noticed.
• Remove grease for the kitchen vent fan blades and motor. Clean the range hood filter.
• Test all GFCI outlets in your home. If they do not trip, replace them.
• Look up into your fireplace chimney. Check for creosote build-up, blockages, and cracks in the chimney liner.
• Check bathtub surround and kitchen countertop tile grout for cracks, voids, and signs of water damage. Re-grout or re-caulk as needed.
• Take a trip to your attic to search for leaks, broken framing, and any signs of fire hazards.
• Replace all non-working light bulbs.

Outside your home:
• Inspect for cracks, holes, and signs of water damage.
• Check for a proper slope away from the foundation.
• Wash and clean your deck. Remove all mildew.
• Check your roof for missing shingles, signs of lifted or raised shingles.
• Check your chimney for signs of spalling, frost damage, and signs of a worn or cracked crown.
• Commence cleaning, maintenance, and adjustment of all gutters.
• Clean windows.
• Check for loose, cracked siding panels, peeling paint and general condition of the siding. Check vinyl siding for cracks and impact damage.
• Inspect all incoming power, phone, and cables lines on the exterior of your home.
• Check all door and window weather-stripping. Replace as needed.

In conclusion: Did you detect a trend? Yup, check and inspect! If you spend quality time walking around and observing your home you will find the items that need to be addressed before they turn into a nightmare.

Tool Time
Sometimes, we just need to remember what the rules of life really are: You only need two tools: WD-40 and Duct Tape. If it doesn’t move and should, use the WD-40. If it shouldn’t move and does, use the duct tape.  Anything else is just unnecessary stuff to make you feel good! Let’s Get ‘er done!

Ladder Safety
Oh, Just another boring lecture from Jim you might be thinking. Ladder safety is no laughing matter. You can be seriously hurt falling off of a ladder and from only the first or second steps up! This time of year is even worse. An extension ladder leaned up against the gutters trying to chop away an ice build-up can be life threatening. Make sure you place the bottom of the ladder securely into something. The ground is best and asphalt is the most dangerous. A blacktop driveway can be extremely slippery and even more so if it’s covered with a driveway sealer. Plant that ladder on something you know will not move. Be safe!

Expert Craftsmanship
Use the Right Wire ! It occurred to me one day that the only reason I know which type and size of electrical wire to use on a particular project it that I did the trial and error method. Over the years I have had the occasion to wire just about everything that one would find him or her re-wiring in their home. If you are wiring outlets, lights, and any other basic household branch circuits then 12/2 with ground with the letters NM stamped on the side is the all purpose wire for you. When in doubt use 12-gage wire. If you are wiring lighting circuits sometimes you can use a 14-gage wire. Beware the price of copper wire has gone up dramatically in the past few months. I just paid $80 for a 250’ roll of 12/2 with ground. UF wire is rated for direct burial in the ground. UF is much harder to strip and work with, however it allows you to run a wire to the garage underground with out running conduit. Your 30-amp dryer would use a 10/3 with ground and your 50-amp range would use a 6/3 wire. Your electric water heater also uses a 10/3 with ground and any appliance with a motor like the garbage disposal, dishwasher, or microwave uses the 12-gage wire. The object is not to burn your house to the ground!

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