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Home Buyer Spring Checklist For Home Maintenance

Feb 21 2017 | Maple Crest

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When you own a family home, you have a lot going on. Mortgage payments, kids, job, planning vacations, visiting family etc. With all that excitement, it’s easy to overlook routine home maintenance, especially when you’ve never had to tackle these tasks before. While home maintenance in a new home is undoubtedly easier and less extensive than in an older used home, it is still important to pay attention to small issues that may arise quickly before they become major problems.

To keep things from getting overwhelming, here’s a home maintenance checklist for new home owners. And don’t worry — most of these tasks take only a few minutes or a quick call to a trusted pro if you feel the work is beyond your capability. Here are a few important maintenance to-dos.

Check Your Furnace and HVAC Filter

Clogged filters make heating and cooling systems run less efficiently, which wastes energy and costs you money. They can also trap harmful pollutants and allergens that you don’t want lurking around your home. Checking furnace and HVAC filters are easy. Just turn off your system, pull out your filters and inspect them for dirt and grime. If they’re dark and dirty-looking, get suitable replacements—your local hardware store likely has them.

Check Your Crawl Space for Water

You might have to check your crawl space for water to avoid mold and water damage to the foundation of your house. Use a flashlight to take a closer look. Check the corners and edges for changes in color, and use your fingers to test for dampness if you aren’t sure. If you find any water, call a home inspector immediately to figure out where it’s coming from. Check every fall before it rains. The key is to fix existing water damage before any more water gets in.

Check Wood Decks for Moisture

Wood decks need to be sealed and stained to prevent water damage and rot. Do a quick splash test to check if the seal is still working. Spill a glass of water on your deck, if you see tiny beads of moisture form on the surface, it means that the sealant is still repelling the water. If that doesn’t happen, then it’s time to reseal your deck.
You should do a splash test at the beginning of every summer and expect to reseal your deck every two or three years.

Check and Touch Up Exterior Paint

An exterior paint job or touch ups for cracked or peeling paint adds to the curb appeal of your home and also serves as an important protectant, preventing gutters from rusting and wood siding from rotting. Take a walk around your home and look for chipping, peeling, blistering or cracking on every part, including the trim. Touch ups could just mean sanding, scraping, patching, priming and repainting small areas. But, if you see widespread areas of damage, it might be wise to repaint the whole area.

Check Bathtub Caulk and Toilet Seals

Intact caulk and seals prevent water from seeping into the rest of your bathroom, causing mold and other damage. Inspect the caulk around the tub area. If you see the caulk is cracking or peeling, replace it with polyurethane bathroom caulk. When checking your toilet seal, look for condensation or discoloration of the flooring around the seam where the toilet meets the floor. If you see either, call a plumber to help determine the source of the leak.

Service and Clean the Furnace

Cleaning your furnace is very important as it can suck energy and even emit harmful carbon monoxide inside your home. Call a pro. If you don’t have one you trust, call the manufacturer or installer and ask for a recommendation. Just be sure to use a licensed heating, ventilation and air conditioning specialist. Having your furnace inspected every fall will prolong the life of your appliance.

Clean Wood-Burning Fireplaces

Fireplaces and chimneys will often accumulate creosote buildup which is a flammable byproduct of burning wood. This will create a fire hazard and increase your risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Call a trained chimney sweep that can bring in specialized equipment to clean the area. You should check every fall before the fire-burning season.

Seal Cracks in Asphalt Paving

Patching cracks will extend the life of your driveway by preventing water from seeping underneath, creating potholes. Use a patching gun and some asphalt patching caulk. Then use a putty knife to smooth the top. Check your driveway for cracks every summer and plan to completely reseal it every five years.

Recaulk Your Windows

About 80 percent of winter heat loss occurs due to cracks in a home’s window and door seals. Resealing the spaces around windows and doors with caulk goes a long way toward solving the problem. Caulking processes and products will vary depending on the type of windows and siding you have. Start by asking a salesperson what kind of caulk you need for your particular finishes, then pare things down from there. If you choose the right caulk the first time, you won’t have to recaulk the following season. When applying the caulk, make sure all surfaces are clean and dry and pay attention to the temperature specifications in the product information. Since temperatures change most in the morning, it’s smart to start your project after they have leveled out around mid-day.

Clean Your Gutters and Roof Valleys

Mucked-up gutters and roof valleys can cause water to back up and potentially enter your home via the foundation, roof or crawl space. Water can also freeze inside your gutters and wreck them altogether. Grab a sturdy ladder and take a peek. Use gloved hands or even a trowel to remove debris from gutters before flushing them with a garden hose to make sure there aren’t any hidden clogs. Remove debris on the roof by hand and check out the flashing while you’re up there to make sure it’s free of rust and holes.