13 April 2018

5 Essential Home Maintenance Jobs Ahead of Summer

Our homes are the centers of our family lives – where we entertain and laugh with our friends, raise our kids, celebrate good times and retreat from the world when it all gets too much. Therefore, it only makes sense to take care of them as much as we would any other aspect of our personal lives. Many people mistakenly think that they have to call in the professionals for every little job. This can be expensive, and so put us off carrying out essential maintenance tasks. The truth is, armed with a bit of knowledge, you can tackle a lot of necessary home repairs yourself! Learning to be handier around the home is simple these days, with the wealth of expertise available to us through the internet – we can easily search for the answers to our DIY questions (“what is a brushless drill?”) or find video tutorials on YouTube for everything from installing decking to replacing the heating element in the oven. With this guidance, there’s no reason not to have a go at keeping your home running well. Start with smaller jobs and gradually build your confidence up.

As we approach the summer months, we begin to think about using our homes differently. Getting out into the garden, having some cookouts with the grill, and spending long sunny evenings relaxing outside. It’s time to repair your patio set and clear down the garden – but your house could also do with some essential seasonal TLC. Taking a little time now to carry out some basic maintenance work on your home will mean that you can use it to its full potential in the months ahead and prevent damage specific to hot weather conditions. Tacking these jobs while they’re smaller means they won’t develop into bigger, costlier problems further down the line. Here’s what you should look out now:

Keep Out Water Damage--

Water damage is the number one threat to your property, and once it occurs, one of the hardest to put right. So make sure its top of your home priorities list as the seasons change and summer thunderstorms and flooding can be on the horizon. You’re going to literally start from the foundations up, by carrying out a thorough check of your basement. Take a look for any telltale cracks or leaks – even cosmetic ones – that need filling before they become worse. Look also at dirt or grates outside your house to channel water away from the foundations of your home – you need at least one inch per foot to guide proper runoff of rainwater. The next task is to get a ladder and inspect the guttering for cracks, erosion or low spots where water can pool near the house. Those are danger spots where any leaks will erode away the area beneath over time. It may not happen straight away but water damage is insidious and by the time you spot it in the house, it's well advanced and more problematic and expensive to correct –so stay ahead of the game. At the same time as inspecting the gutters, check the downspouts and ensure that they direct waste water away from your home, with a clearance of at least three feet. If needed, you can easily fit gutter extensions or splash guards – both available at home DIY stores. While you’re at it, clear down any leaves or debris that have accumulated. After that, check the trims and fascias of windows and doors for any cracks, or splits in the caulking. Re-caulking is an easy process that can prevent a lot of damage from mold and rot as well as leaks.

Check Your HVAC--

In summer we tend to crank up the air conditioning, so make sure to give your HVAC system a quick once-over too. Replacing air filters is a straightforward job and can keep your system running much more efficiently, even lowering your utility bills! Take the time to also check the condensing unit outside, make sure it's functioning at optimal levels and doesn’t show any obvious signs of damage or wear, and also clear away any overlapping grass, fallen leaves, debris or anything that could block the output and cause a malfunction. The instruction manual you received with the unit should contain clear directions to maintain the outdoor unit – but if you no longer have it, try searching online for the make and model number, or contact the manufacturer direct. Directions can be quite specific to the type of unit you have, so make sure you know the correct procedure.  It's very important that you completely disconnect the power supply before attempting to clean the unit and also try not to bend or damage the cooling fins as you carry out maintenance.

Trim Down Trees and Greenery--

Take a careful look at the trees and bushes on your property and assess whether they need trimming back. Take special care with any overhanging branches that are near your home or may interfere with your swimming pool, and then also check that no roots or branches are touching your house, as over time these can cause damage.

Fresh Coat of Paint--

Giving things a fresh coat of paint doesn’t facelift them – it can also prevent weather and water damage. If you have chips and peeling in the existing paint, they can allow damage like mold and rot to set in. Rather than having to repair everything, a little touch-up routinely carried out ahead of each summer can help to prevent damage and keep everything looking great too.

Repair and Restain Decks and Wooden Furniture--

If you have a deck, it's likely you’ll be spending a lot of the summer on it, so don’t neglect it in your round of repairs. Again, damage over time to the wood can result in significant defects that are expensive to repair, so maintain it all by light re-prepping the surface with a belt sander and adding a fresh coat of protective wood stain, paint or sealant  - you should also re-do any wooden garden furniture while you’re at it. Get out your power washer or hire one in to give a thorough cleanse of any dirt and grime that may stop sealant or pain adhering properly. If you care for and maintain your decking properly, it should last a lifetime!

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