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Your house is more than just an investment: Itís your home. So naturally, youíll want to take good care of it.
To add value and years of enjoyment to your home, make regular maintenance checks a part of your routine. This may include having a professional home inspector or building contractor visit your home. Below is a list of some items that you and/or a qualified professional should inspect.
Roof, Attic, And Gutters
- Check your roof for loose, missing, worn, or damaged shingles. Make sure flashing is secure around vents and chimneys.
- Gutters should be clean, properly aligned, and securely attached. Downspouts should direct water away from the house.
Outside Walls And Framing
- Check soffits, siding, brick walls, trim, and flashing for damage, looseness, warping, and decay.
- Look for termite damage and signs of other insects or rodents.
Foundations And Basements
- Check foundations for signs of settling, such as bulging or shifting. Have a professional inspect cracks more than 1/8-inch wide.
- Look in basement and crawl spaces for dampness and leakage. Standing water could be a sign of improper drainage, which can weaken the foundation.
- Test your sump pump before every wet season. Consider installing battery-operated backup sump pumps to protect against a power failure or mechanical failure of the primary pump.
Smoke And Carbon Monoxide Detectors
- Check that detectors are functioning; change batteries at least once a year or as needed.
- Replace units every eight to 10 years.
Doors And Windows
- Add deadbolt locks to all exterior doors, including the door between the garage and your home. Use a heavy metal strike plate with three-inch screws and Grade 1 deadbolts for the highest level of protection.
- Check all windows for proper operation. Consider adding supplemental window locks.
- Replace caulk and weather-stripping that has lost contact with surfaces.
- Look around and under appliances and fixtures for leaks or wear. Check shutoff valves at all fixtures and the main water line annually.
- Insulate or relocate exposed water pipes to protect them from freezing and bursting. Think about replacing outdoor faucets with frost-proof models.
- Replace washing machine water hoses every three to five years.
- Check your water heater. Most water heaters last eight to 12 years. Wet spots on the floor or a rusted tank may signal a problem. Water heaters should be installed on the lowest level of the home and always be located next to a floor drain.
Electrical And Mechanical Systems
- Have professionals check your air conditioning and furnace. Consider having your air ducts cleaned.
- Have an electrician inspect your electrical system.
- Plug sensitive electronic equipment and appliances into UL-listed surge protector power strips.
- Clean the clothes dryer exhaust duct and damper, and the space under the dryer. (Lint buildup may cause a fire.)
Landscaping, Walks, And Porches
- Check for loose handrails, banisters and stair coverings.
- Repair buckled or cracked walkways.
- Trees should be healthy and placed at a safe distance from the home. Trim shrubbery branches away from siding to help prevent insect and moisture damage. Mulch and earth should be kept eight inches below siding.
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