As the weather warms, there are a few maintenance tasks every homeowner should consider completing. Use this checklist as your guide.
• Wash window exteriors for a better view.
• Clean gutters and downspouts to ensure proper water flow. Neglecting this task for too long can cause rot, mold and damage to your foundation.
• Get your patio or deck in tip-top shape for outdoor living. Sweep and hose it down. Remove patio furnishings from storage. Wipe down surfaces and vacuum cushions (or launder them if they’re machine washable).
• Inspect lawn equipment and tools for needed maintenance, repair and fuel refills.
• Mow the lawn. Trim the edges.
• After the next rainfall, inspect your yard for standing water, which can damage your home and invite mosquitoes. Consider hiring a landscaper to level out an uneven lawn.
• Change HVAC filters at least once each season (ideally monthly). Dirty filters make equipment work harder and cause more wear and tear on equipment. They also increase your energy bill and lessen indoor air quality.
• According to Energy Star, 20-30 percent of the air that moves through the duct system of a typical home is lost due to leaks, holes and poorly connected ducts. Consider professional duct sealing for improved energy efficiency and lower bills.
• Check to see whether your furnaces and air conditioners bear the ENERGY STAR logo. If not, consider a new unit. A properly-sized and installed ENERGY STAR air conditioner uses up to 20 percent less electricity than older models, and doing so may make you eligible for a Federal Tax Credit.
• Have a technician give your home’s cooling system a pre-season tune-up so that everything is running efficiently by the time warmer weather arrives. You know the “personality” of your heating or cooling unit best, so be prepared to provide the technician with important information. No fact is insignificant, as it may help them diagnose and fix a problem.
• Be sure that all HVACR installation and maintenance is performed only by a qualified professional. Read company reviews and ask the contractor if they have technicians certified by North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE-certified technicians have demonstrated knowledge of today’s increasingly sophisticated heating and cooling systems. To find a NATE-certified technician in your area, visit Natex.org.
• Carbon monoxide, often referred to as the “silent killer,” is odorless, colorless and tasteless. Protect your family by changing the batteries on your carbon monoxide detectors and ensuring you have a detector on each level of your home. When changing a furnace filter, make sure the new filter is correctly positioned and the access panel is securely fastened. Have your home’s furnace inspected and serviced annually by a NATE-certified technician.
• Likewise, test all the smoke alarms in your home and replace batteries as needed. The National Fire Protection Association recommends smoke alarms on every level of the home, including every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area.
A little seasonal maintenance can go a long way to a safer, more beautiful and more eco-friendly home.