16 Important Things You Should Do On A Yearly Basis
Think of these small steps as vitamins for a healthy home. Do them just once a 12 months and you’ll save a bundle in emergency service calls.
Drain Your Hot Water Heater
Sediment builds up over time at the bottom of the hot water tank, causing corrosion. Partially draining the hot water heater removes the sediment and maintains the heater running more efficiently-and maintains it running longer. These tricks can keep your house warm without hiking your heating bill.
Check your Heating and Cooling Ductwork
Ducts in either the attic or crawl space can sag over time, and then the connections become loose. If this happens, you end up spending more on utility costs because the air you’re paying to heat or cool is escaping from the loose ductwork into the attic or crawl space, not into your living space.
Clean Out the Dryer Vent Ductwork
The back of your dryer is connected to a vent that leads outside. This duct gets lint buildup over time, which not only causes the dryer to work harder, increasing energy costs, but it’s also a huge fire risk, as backed up lint is extremely flammable.
Update Your Home Inventory
Knowing what you own is crucial. We accumulate things over time, and you want to make sure you are properly covered in your insurance policy for not only the contents of your home, but the structure itself, especially if you invested in a home remodel projects.
Review Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy
When doing yearly checks, many homeowners don’t think of their insurance. Make sure that your policy continues to cover weather hazards like hail and wind. Be sure you review your deductibles. A homeowner will want to determine the cost of replacing your roof, for example, if it was damaged from a storm and an estimate of their out-of-pocket costs for that repair or replacement.
A roof inspection is critical because roofs are the most commonly damaged part of a home during severe weather. Roof longevity can erode quickly and cause leaks, stains on walls, and even flood damage.Take a good look at your attic for signs of water damage, because if there are water stains on the ceilings or walls, it’s a sure sign that your roof needs some attention. From the ground you can check for missing shingles or misplaced tiles. Dimples on the surface of the roof can indicate damage from hailstones. Any missing or damaged shingles or tiles should be replaced immediately to avoid leaks reaching the inside your home. It’s also helpful to find out when your roof was last replaced.
Buildup from fallen leaves and pine needles can rot and eventually clog the downspouts and even damage parts of the gutter. As gutters help the home to cope with heavy rain flow, they’re bound to accumulate debris throughout the year that can obstruct the flow of water and lead to overflowing. Hire a professional if your gutters are high enough to require a special ladder.
A failing foundation can be the biggest and most costly problem. Look indoors for the warning signs, including gaps and cracks in hardwood floors, or cracks at the corners of door jambs and window frames.
Look for Possible Water Damage or Leaks
Existing water damage can lead to big problems if left untreated. Look for evidence around sinks, plumbing fixtures, and under windows for mold, cracked caulking and leaking around sinks, or bubbling paint on drywall.
Garage Clean Out
Garages are often home to much more than cars. Not just extra sports equipment and a backup fridge, but possibly rodents and bugs too. Cleaning your garage once a year by taking out everything and deep-cleaning the space, which will not only maintain the longevity of your garage, but will keep you organized and active as you use your newly cleaned space.
Pipe and Sewage Discharge
Even if your home doesn’t have a septic tank, this task should still be on your list. We cannot stress how important this is. Sometimes when sewage pipes become too full, they burst and ruin yards. A lot of the times this is a city or town pipe, if within the city or town right of way, but the city or town will not pay for the damage. If you find a blockage before it becomes an explosion, however, often the city or town will send resources to help you deal with the issue. Contact your local town or city hall sewage department with questions. If the problem is outside of the town right of way, and on your personal property, the all maintenance and costs are borne by the home or property owner. Also check for toilet and faucet leaks that a plumber would need to assess.
Analyze Your Trees and Landscaping
Harsh winters can weaken trees and cause them to break. It’s always good to monitor the positioning of your trees so you can look out for any changes, like are they leaning in a certain direction. Check the roots too if there are cracks in the surrounding earth, as the root may have become dislodged. If trees hang over your house, checking for broken or loose branches because they can damage the house if they fall. If this is the case, hire a pro to do the trimming for you to avoid unnecessary safety risks.
Cold and damp conditions can cause window frames to swell, so once they return to their original size, it can create gaps. Not only will this let in drafts, but it will also cost you a lot in lost energy. If you wait too long, you could also end up needing to replace the frames completely, which is an expensive job. Gaps can be filled using a variety of materials, such as mortar, frame sealant, and decorators caulk. But generally you should use the same material that was previously used to seal the windows for the best result.
Check Your Decks, Porches and Steps
Thoroughly examine decks, porches and steps in search of rot and structural damage. For exterior steps, check the overall structure of the concrete, stones or decking that make up the steps. If there is any crumbling, repairs should be made immediately.
Empty Out Your Pantry
It’s hard to believe, but it’s not unheard of for homeowners to find expired food up to a decade old in their cabinets. Too often, food gets buried in the pantry and is never seen again. It’s important to de-clutter your pantry so you don’t overbuy or accidentally eat expired food. Realistically, you should purge your pantry about every six months, but from my experience that doesn’t always happen, so I suggest to pull out every single thing-and while you’re there, wipe down the cabinets.
Throw Away Expired Personal Products and Medications
Do a sweep of the bathroom cabinets and drawers. Expired hair and beauty products need to go. Makeup is one of those things that accumulates without your even noticing it, and makeup does go bad-most people don’t know that these items can go bad. It’s critical to toss out old makeup to prevent the possibility of infection. Ditto for medications. Contact your local pharmacy for proper disposal of expired prescription or OTC medications.
Taking the time to complete these items in the long run will save you time and money, especially if you have to make an emergency service call!