What if you didn't
change the motor oil in your car for several years; I wonder how long your engine
would last? Now if anyone has done this - and your car is still running - please write me!
Our homes also have to be maintained and
serviced year around just like everything else that has motion, or can be effected by our
environment. Here are some tips that might save you some money and help you maintain your
Lot drainage: When was the
last time you walked your lot to make sure it's draining properly? You never want water to
pond next to your foundation. Water ponding or penetrating our homes can cause us major
damage and certainly support the growth of mold and mildew which is harmful to your
health, not to mention potential foundation problems.
Water Heaters: When was
the last time you drained your hot water heater? Did you even know you should drain it
once a year to remove sediment in the bottom of the tank, which also restores better hot
water volume? Additionally, your hot water tank will last longer with a yearly cleaning.
For instructions on how-to flush your water heater, read my article "Flushing Your Water Heater is a Must."
T&P Valves: What about
replacing the pressure-relief-valve once every three to four years? Also called the
T&P valve (temperature pressure relief valve). Most hot water heater manufacturers
warn about pressure relief valves and how they could clog up due to rust and minerals in
your water and should be replaced after so many years.
When the pressure-relief-valve stops
working, your hot water builds pressure inside the tank and if it can't escape through the
relief-valve it could explode. Water softeners can help keep the T&P valves from
clogging and your water heater clean. However, if you have one installed you might be OK,
but I still suggest that you test the T&P valve to make sure it's working properly.
Testing the T&P valve is a simple test.
Just pull the lever on top of the valve-up and this allows the hot water to escape. Be
very careful doing this test because this is real hot water and if your unit is old and
not piped from the T&P valve to the outside, you could get scalded.
Today most pressure-relief-valves at the
water heater are hooked up to a drain line so you won't see the water coming out, however,
you will be able to hear it running. On older water heaters, many find that after they
performed this test, the valve might began to drip. If so, just replace it. If you've
never flushed your hot water heater and you hear it making cracking and popping sounds,
this is why. It's probably packed at the bottom of the tank with sediment.
Note: If you have not performed any
flushing programs and the unit is 9 to 11 years old, I would not start now. It's getting
close to having to be replaced anyway, wait until you install your new water heater then
get into a yearly maintenance program. See how much better your hot water is and how much
longer the water heater lasts.
Washing machine hoses:
Another simple area that I think is real important to check out is replacing your rubber
water hoses from the back of your washing machine. If you still have the old rubber hoses,
I would strongly suggest that you stop into your local hardware store and replace them
with the stainless steel-flex-water hoses or equal. The rubber hoses don't last and always
seemed to bust at the worst time. You're either out of town or it's late at night while
you're asleep. You would be surprised how often they bust on a national basis and the
tremendous cost of insurance claims due to the failure of a cheap water hose.
Roof: Check for missing
shingles on your roof or for poor-conditioned shingles due to wear or hailstorms. Also
check the flashing at your fireplace. If you don't feel safe climbing on the roof, get a
pair of binoculars and really look your shingles and flashing over. Again you don't want
Gutters: Clean your
gutters several times a year if you have a lot of hardwood trees and pines in your yard.
Stopped up gutters can really let water in the soffit areas, which can run down your
perimeter walls and allow moisture inside the wall cavities. When this happens your
insulation could get wet and support mold and mildew growth.
Siding: Look for split,
bucked or cracked siding, repair as needed, then caulk and repaint using top-of-the-line
Overhead doors: Garage
overhead doors seem to always come off the tracks at the worst time. Keep them oiled
properly and tighten any lose screws and nuts.
Furnaces: Don't forget to
have your furnaces and A/C serviced once a year. Get into a habit during the hot summer
months to replace the air filters once a month. This helps keep your unit cleaner, lasts
longer and keeps dust down inside your home. Also have a service man check for a cracked
heat exchanger if your unit is over 10 years old.
chimney should be professionally cleaned after you've burned 1 to 2 cords of wood. This is
Caulking around tub and in showers:
When you noticed something has changed on the exterior or interior of your home, don't
wait. Investigate and repair it quickly. Like caulking that has fallen out between the
tile joints or around the tub or in your shower stalls. Also check caulking joints at the
floor if you have vinyl or tile next to the tub or shower.
Again, moisture penetrating our homes is in
one of our worst enemies along with termites. Have your home professionally checked every
year for termites. Do your home care and maintenance on a monthly or yearly basis and keep
out of trouble. I promise, if you take care of your home, your home will take care of you
and save you money.