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Home Maintenance Tips

If you've ever seen a movie or documentary about ships you know that a ship is home to sometimes thousands of sailors. You will often see sailors swabbing the decks, painting or fixing engines parts as part of their daily routine. These small jobs are part of the preventative maintenance schedule for the vessel and, joined with the hundreds of other chores, keeps it operating at peak capacity.

Your home and the ship share similar qualities. Both are the sum total of many working parts that have to be coordinated in order for them to run smoothly. Any lapses in the maintenance process will result in either instant failures or premature wear. The best way to assure that there are no unpleasant surprises, or that the home is always looking great, is to have a maintenance schedule. This is a 4-season set of checks that will ensure everything is running right and that no deterioration has set into any par of the home. It is always best to catch problems when they are “potential” problems.

The hardest time on a home for most Americans is the winter. The extremes in temperature and prolonged periods of sub-freezing weather take a toll on many parts of the home. However, a thorough check in the fall may prevent an emergency like a pipe freeze-up.

Fall Maintenance a Must

Here are some tips for what should be checked by either yourself or a professional:

Heating and Air Conditioning

  • Oil furnace: This should be done every year by a qualified technician. This includes cleaning and adjusting burners and changing filters.
  • Gas Furnace: A qualified technician should inspect this every 2 years.
  • Hot water heating: Lubricate pump parts, cheque zone valves, bleed air from radiators.
  • Force air heating: Clean dirt build-up, check fan belt for wear, lubricate motor, change air filters, vacuum out plenum.
  • HRV: Check heat recovery ventilator and clean filters
  • Clean duct grills on force air systems and vacuum radiators on hot water heating and electric baseboard heaters.

Windows and Doors

  • Put up the storm windows and take off screens from casement for air flow to the window to prevent condensation.
  • Check outside doors and casement windows to see they shut tightly and that the weatherstripping is alright.
  • Check skylights and smaller windows for weather sealing.
  • Protect the outside of the air conditioning unit with a cover.

Roof, Chimney and Gutters

  • Clear any obstacles that can divert water to the basement.
  • Clean leaves from gutter and downspouts after leaves have gone from the trees.
  • Check chimney for an obstructions like a bird or wasp nest.
  • Get a professional chimney cleaner for a wood burning fireplace or oil furnace.
  • Check shingles on the roof to see that they are all in place.

Yard and Clean Up

  • Clean debris from the yard to avoid mishaps when the ground freezes
  • Drain and store garden hoses
  • Drain garden pond (if required)
  • Drain swimming pool (if required)
  • Cover shrubs with burlap and tie to prevent limbs from breaking in the snow
  • Store garden tools and utensils
  • Drain the gas from the lawn mover and run the mower until the motor quits. This will get rid of the excess gas in the carburetor and prevent gumming up over the winter
  • Seal driveway and sidewalk cracks

Handyman Service

The preceding list is a guideline for what has to be done to keep you “ship” in proper condition. There are a lot of things to think about and many of us have a schedule that prevents us from covering all the bases. In almost all areas there are handyman services which offer maintenance services for the home. This includes four-season service from raking leaves to mowing lawns, and even a security service to check your home when you are on holiday.

When interviewing the handyman or maintenance service makes sure he or she understands the job you want and can do it. In some cases the person will supervise what he or she cannot do personally. For example, if you are away and your furnace needs cleaning the service will coordinate this with the furnace company.

For individual projects you can pick and choose who you want to do each job. In all cases make sure you get references and a list of jobs that the handyman has done. There is no better reference than a homeowner who uses the services of the handyman on a continual basis. This means there is a trust built up between the two parties.

For ongoing maintenance some services charge a flat monthly fee while other charge by the hour or by the job. The best way to contact one of these services is to visit our Contractor Directory. The handyman section will show which of our members in your area are ready to serve you. The simplest way is to post the project on our website and they will contact you. This will take the guess work out of checking to see if the handyman has a legitimate business.

Posted by: TrustedPros
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