Your home might just be the most important purchase you will ever make. It provides shelter, comfort and often a sound investment. To ensure that your home is always in the best shape, develop strong maintenance habits to avoid the pitfalls that knock when properties are neglected.
Get out your home maintenance calendar and make these a priority for the safety and comfort of the people, pets and plants that occupy your sacred space. Here are 10 annual home maintenance tips and upkeep tasks that should not be skipped.
1. Change Your AC Air Filter – Avoid a Frozen Coil
Changing your air filter regularly ensures proper airflow and helps avoid common pitfalls. One of the most popular air conditioner repair calls we get as Spring and Summer approach involves a frozen AC coil. Clogged filters lead to restricted airflow and that becomes a leading culprit for an indoor coil freezing. A frozen air conditioner coil can be a costly repair. Change your air filter once a month to protect your system and combat preventable airflow restrictions.
2. Turn Outdoor Spigots Off In the Fall
If you notice that chill in the air, let that be an alarm in your head to think about your outdoor water sources. Pipes crack or burst when they have water in them that expands from freezing. Turn the water off at the shutoff valve inside your home. Then go outside and open the faucet to let the water drain out. Return to the inside shutoff valve and remove the bleeder cap to drain remaining water out of the pipe. This is an easy way to avoid expensive water damage!
3. Perform a Basic Check on Your Sump Pump
Multiple days of heavy rain can cause your sump pump to work overtime. Even though they are built to last, your sump pump is a mechanical device and can break down. No one wants a pool of water inside the basement. Avoid finding out the hard way. Test the pump by pouring enough water into the sump pump hole to raise the float. A properly functioning pump will kick on during this test and the water will get pumped out.
4. Schedule Annual Furnace Maintenance
An annual furnace tune-up is extremely important to ensure everything is working properly. Lack of maintenance is the number one cause of system breakdowns and failures. During a seasonal heating system maintenance appointment, it’s very important for a licensed technician to check the heat exchanger for any cracks. When there are cracks in the heat exchanger, carbon monoxide can leak into your home. Regular heating system maintenance can not only save you from costly repairs, but extend the life of your equipment and lower your monthly utility bills.
5. Don’t Skip an Annual Air Conditioner Tune-up
Yearly AC maintenance is very important for the efficiency of your system and minimizes the possibility of a breakdown. During the fall and winter, the outdoor components of the air conditioning system accumulate debris and blockages from many months of exposure. It becomes imperative with the changing of the seasons to clean and restore your AC system to allow for regular airflow. Just like you change the oil in your car, it is important to complete a yearly AC tune-up. Don’t get stuck without air conditioning on a very hot St. Louis summer day!
6. Escape Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
If your carbon monoxide detector was put in before 2009, then you should really think about installing a new one. It’s recommended to replace the detector every eight years. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) “recommends consumers replace the batteries in their smoke and CO alarms annually and test the alarms monthly.” Breathe easier knowing that it’s functioning properly by checking the batteries a few times each year.
7. Upgrade Your Electrical Panel
The age and type of your electrical panel is an important consideration, especially in older homes. Federal Pacific Electric’s (FPE) “Stab-Lok” circuit breakers have made news over the past several decades with warnings that they may not trip off as designed. This has led to scrutinizing studies by the CPSC and an overall concern that they could malfunction, fail and lead to electrical fire. FPE was involved in a class-action lawsuit that determined it violated consumer fraud statutes. If you have a Stab-Lok circuit breaker system from FPE or an older system, it’s time to consider an upgrade to protect your home and family.
Another consideration for your electrical panel is the speed of your electrical current, measured in amps. The old standard for electrical panels was 60 amps. However, this was before every room had a TV, Blu-Ray player and gaming system in it. Upgrade to a 100-amp or 200-amp electrical panel and add more breakers for your TV and devices so that you never miss a second of the big game.
8. Avoid Plumbing Drips and Leaks
Mold can be very dangerous to human health and destructive to the value of your home. Shower leaks or drips under the sink regularly lead to mold buildup. It can become a bigger problem inside the walls. Having a mold inspection professional who knows what to look for can help you avoid costly water damage, pipe replacements and wall repairs.
9. Replace Bad Electrical Outlets
Don’t skip electrical outlet safety. DIY additions that you do to your home (or what the previous owners might have completed) can lead to shortages or bigger problems. If you notice burnt outlets, hot outlets, buzzing outlets or similar, put safety first and call in a licensed electrician.
10. Check For Hot and Cold Spots
If you notice certain rooms in your house aren’t at the same temperature as other rooms, you might have a problem. Get your ductwork checked to make sure it’s sealed properly and to make sure air is flowing properly to every room of your home. You can even add a Ductless HVAC system to each room so that every person in your family has the temperature that’s just right for them.
Putting these items on a regular home maintenance calendar will help ensure that your home is always performing at the top level.
If you need assistance with your annual home maintenance program, be sure to contact the licensed contractors at Hoffmann Brothers to discuss how and when to plan your important services. We’ve been serving the greater St Louis area for more than 40 years and would be honored to serve you!