Gutters and DownspoutsPrevent water from seeping through walls and damaging paint by checking to see that gutters are:
- Sloping correctly so that water flows to the downspout.
- Clear of leaves and debris.
- In good repair and without holes
CondensationDampness is almost unavoidable in new homes because of the gallons of water that went into the construction of foundation walls, basement floors, paint and even bathtub grout.
Although proper ventilation helps speed drying, allow about a year for through curing. Don't hurry the process with high temperatures, unnatural heat can cause warping and other damage. Doing the following can help:
- Open basement windows during warm weather, close when weather is damp.
- Have outside venting for kitchen, bath and utility areas.
- Adjust the humidifier, if there is one in your heating system.
- Consider installing a dehumidifier in extremely damp areas.
- Check sumps periodically.
Door CareIf doors stick, check hinges to make sure they're aligned and tightly affixed to frame and door. Then fold the sandpaper around a block of wood and sand the edge that is catching. Repaint or seal the sanded edge to prevent moisture absorption which can cause warping. Tops and bottoms of door should be painted or sealed at all times. Inspect exterior doors each spring and fall for wear to see that metal weather-stripping is tight and free of dents, or that vinyl/rubber stripping is glued tightly. Prolong life of vinyl/rubber weather stripping by applying petroleum jelly occasionally. Use an aerosol lubricant on squeaky hinges (WD40).
WinterizingBe sure to check the following before chilly weather sets in:
- Forced Air Systems clean or replace filters. Hot water or steam- check valves, pumps.
- Plumbing Drain water from exterior faucets and pipes. Store hose.
- Windows and Doors Check paint on sashes and frames; repair or replace caulking, weather-stripping and glazing around the glass.
- Fireplace Make sure damper works and chimney draws; clean flue and spark arrestor.
- Gutters and Downspouts Clean before first snow. Clogging causes ice dams, leaks and roof damage. If snow-melting cables are being used, check for damage.
- Sashes and Doors If insulated glass fogs, replace it.
Heating and Cooling System
- Save on energy costs by setting temperatures at 78 F for summer; 68 F for winter. Constant resetting wastes energy.
- Close supply registers in rooms not in use; also close doors to these rooms.
- Since hot air rises and cold air falls, in the summertime close some first floor supply registers, and open some upstairs; do the reverse in the winter.
- Be sure supply registers and air returns are not blocked by draperies, furniture or other objects.
- Check your heating/ air-conditioning filter at least twice each season. If it's dirty, clean or replace. If you have lots of traffic from active children and pets, check air conditioning filter monthly in summer.
Fireplace and ChimneyBefore building your first fire of the season, check to see that the damper opens properly and closes tightly. If the "fire clay" used as mortar for the bricks inside the fireplace has fallen out, replace it.
Inspect the flue with a flashlight for heavy soot residue.
If you have a brick or clay tile flue (not a metal flue), an occasional handful of salt tossed on the fire will help remove the soot.
When the soot deposit gets too thick, have the flue professionally cleaned.
Keep the damper closed when fireplace is not in use.
Hot Water HeatersDue to high mineral content, some hot water heaters require draining. Consult your installer for proper care.
DrainsDon't pour grease down your drains; keep free of hair and other debris. Once a month, to prevent residual grease and soap from clogging drains:
To properly maintain the garbage disposal:
- Run hot water through the drain.
- Add 3 Tablespoons of washing soda.
- Add a little hot water.
- Let stand for 15 minutes; then "flush" by running the water.
Do not use lye or its derivatives with plastic piping.
- Do not use commercial drain products.
- Use cold water at all times when the disposal is operating.
- Grind ice cubes to clean, lemon peels to freshen.
- Read your maintenance manual.