Sometimes it's hard to tell in this part of Florida when winter ends and when spring begins—if you can consider that we have spring. Having to drag the lawn mower out once a week, the Sand Hill Cranes with chicks, and the increased migration of "snowbirds" north on I-75 are all indications that indeed the year is moving on.
This is a good time to take a close look at your home to check for maintenance issues before it gets just too hot to be outside. The rainy season is just around the corner, as is hurricane season. Best to get things in order now before the unexpected happens. Here is a partial list of important things to look at:
Heating and Air Conditioning: In order to help ensure longer life and efficiency, heating and air conditioning systems should be serviced by a professional at least once per year. Some things that you can do on your own are:
- Make sure no leaves and debris have collected on the fins of the outside unit. Use a low pressure hose to wash it down. If any damage is noted to the fins, contact a professional to see if it can be repaired.
- When the air conditioner is running, locate the condensate drain line and insure that water is flowing out of it. If not, it's clogged and all that water is going somewhere. You may need a professional to clean the drain line.
- Filters should be changed monthly unless you have special ones designed for longer periods. Change what you've got if needed
Smoke Detectors: Kids in school learn that when the clocks change for daylight savings time, change the batteries in your smoke detectors. When that battery fails in the middle of the night and the beeping begins, you'll wish you had done that now!
Cracks in walls: All walls have some cracking and the majority are not structural or significant. They can however allow a significant amount of moisture intrusion during long term wind driven rain events (hurricanes?). Keep all cracks in whatever finish you have on your home caulked and sealed.
Caulk and seal around windows: Once again, a lot of moisture intrusion and damage comes from failed sealing around windows. It's cheap and easy in most cases to renew.
Garage door openers: Garage doors generally never get a second thought unless they fail to operate and trap you and your car inside. If you haven't had your garage door serviced lately (or ever) nows a good time to have that done. A broken spring or failed door opener can be a huge inconvenience.
Clean the gutters: If you have them, keep them clean! Gutters are about controlling the runoff around a house and have little to do with the roof unless the debris and plants are piling spilling out of the gutter and onto the roof. This is a short trip to expensive roof repairs.
Exterior service doors: Garage side doors, pool bath doors, any kind of exterior door exposed to the weather. The bottom of these doors and the bottom of the door frame around it generally begin to rot and rust as soon as you move into the house. The frame repair is often simple and inexpensive if you catch it early enough. If you let it go too long, the whole frame may have to be replaced. Keep the wood painted including the bottom of the door (the part you can't see). Gutters above these doors will also help to prevent the rain from splashing up on the door.
Irrigation heads: They should never spray on any parts of the building. It doesn't matter whether it's block or not. Over time that overspray will find a way into the home and significant moisture related problems will occur such as mold!
Check the roof:
- Clean it! I don't mean get a pressure washer and scour the granules off, just make sure no leaves and debris are collecting on the roof. Debris traps moisture and will eventually lead to roof failure.
- Check for leaks - Best done inside the attic. This is not a job for everyone so if you're not comfortable walking the attic, have someone you trust to get inside and look for staining or active leakage.
- Check the condition of the shingles if you have a shingle roof. Shingles shouldn't be cracked or loose. They should all be stuck down to each other. If they are not, there is a possibility that strong winds will lift them, break them off and start down the road to a total roof failure. If a substantial amount of your roof shingles are not longer stuck, call a roofer.
Trees and limbs: Trees and limbs can fall or break off during some of our high wind events and cause a lot of damage to not only the exterior of the home, but to the interior from water intrusion. Make sure that all dead or diseased trees and limbs are removed.
Service the generator: If you have a generator, now's a good time to service it and check it. Today's gasoline will gum up the works on the engine if not properly prepared or the engine is not tested regularly. Make sure that it works now before you need it.
This is not a complete of list of the routine maintenance issues around a home, but if you follow this list, you'll be well on the way to preventing those unexpected expensive repairs. If you're not able or willing to do some of these chores, a good handyman can take easily take care of them.
We do offer a maintenance inspection for your home to identify potential maintenance issues. If you have concerns you can't track down, contact us at 4D Building Solutions.