Being proactive is a good policy in general. It’s especially important in home maintenance. Performing regular maintenance and catching minor repairs before they become major can keep your home and its systems in optimum condition.
How often should inspections be done? Most home repair experts suggest every six months. A Spring inspection can catch any damage done by cold and winter storms. An early Fall inspection can make sure that heat or open doors and windows haven’t done any damage. In addition, of course, frequent inspection causes any normal wear and tear that needs to be addressed.
Here’s a simple guide to home inspection.
1. Heating and Cooling Systems
Your heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems can be checked by careful examination of components.
First, look at the air filters. They should be cleaned or replaced regularly. If they are dusty and dirty, they definitely need to be replaced. Your system will not run at peak performance if the filters are dirty.
Second, look at your air ducts. Do you see any duct tape? Is it in good condition, or peeling and drooping? Replace it if so. Any dirt or dents can indicate problems. Look for any torn or collapsing sections if you have flexible ducts.
Third, turn on your furnace and eyeball the flames. It should be a steady blue. If you see yellow or orange flames that flicker, there may be issues with its combustion. Call a professional to resolve.
Fourth, thermostats need to be cleaned. Take the outer covering off and clean any dirt and dust with cloths or Q-tips.
If your air conditioner compressors are outside, check to see that shrubs or vines (or trees!) haven’t grown over them. If they have, they need to be cut off or they can severely impair the life and function of the unit. Make sure shrubs, vines and trees are pruned. If this looks as if it will be a chronic problem, it’s a good idea to move the landscaping to a different place.
2. The Water System
Check every water faucet for signs of leaks and signs of rust. Leakage can cost you in lost water, but they also lead to bigger leaks. Have them fixed at the first sign of leakage.
If you have rust or signs of rust from leaking water, such as reddish stains, have a professional inspect the pipes.
3. Attics and Basements
Attics and basements can both be subject to water damage, either from minor flooding or saturated ground in basements or roof leakage in attics. Most of this inspection can be done by carefully eyeballing your attic and basement. Do you see any sign of water damage to stored boxes, for example? Check any wood for signs of rot or water by poking with a screwdriver. Look for signs of mildew. If you see any signs that water leakage is a problem, call a professional who can find and fix the source.
Check your basement and attic for signs of pests as well. Mice, termites, ants and other pests can enter your home by crawling in from the ground through areas in the basement, or from the roof to the attic. Termites leave termite tubes, ants leave trails and mice will chew almost anything. If your insulation or stored camping food has been chewed, you may have mice.
Roofs can lose shingles due to age or winter weather. Other materials can degrade due to the same factors. You also want to make sure that, whatever the composition of your roof, you don’t have birds or other animals nesting on it. They can cause damage that will cost you plenty to repair if the creatures aren’t proactively removed.
Inspect your roof carefully for signs of wear and tear. Roofs in the natural course of events will need to be replaced every 20 to 30 years, so be sure to keep them well maintained to ensure maximum long life.
Look at the foundation for signs of cracks. Hairline cracks are normal, but if they become larger, it’s wise to keep an eye on them. Keep a notebook and note the size of any cracks. If they become noticeably larger at the next inspection period, call a professional for a thorough inspection.
6. Decks and Patios
Examine your deck or patio for any sign of wear and tear. Harsh weather may cause damage to either. Both decks and patios, of course, will require maintenance as time goes on. Do you need to remove any vegetation growing around or through cracks in the patio? Does your patio or deck need power washing or a sealant to look its best? Both should be part of regular maintenance. If they have not been, it may be time to institute them every six months.
The exterior of a home will need to be painted roughly every ten years. While not strictly speaking a repair, faded or peeling paint can expose your home’s materials to the elements more than if the paint were in good repair. Look at your home’s exterior with a stranger’s eye. Does it look fresh and appealing? If not, it’s time for a new paint job.
Maintaining your home well ensures that minor repairs remain minor, both in cost and in effort needed to fix them. Routine home inspections will ensure that you find any repairs that need to be made.
Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.