The idea of this blog was to assist 1st time home buyers with the knowledge of the minimal maintenance that can prevent them from having to spend thousands of dollars on repairs. Most of these fall under the category of “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Often $20 a year will protect you from most of these hazards. This is not the time to adopt the philosophy “if it aint broke, don’t fix it.” Especially when dealing with water, by the time it is broken, you may not be able to afford to fix it. My last blog dealt strictly with water situations, to summarize again: If there is water, where water should not be, it is always a problem. Today, we address some other items that can also cause majors that are easily avoidable.
6. Failure to clean or change your furnace filter. Did this one shock you? Please read on- Furnaces have filters. They should be replaced at a very bare minimum twice a year. If you are currently suffering from allergy symptoms, try changing your furnace filter. Most of us wouldn’t consider opening our windows in the summer without making sure our screens were intact, (one night with the mosquitoes teaches us that lesson). Not changing your furnace filter not only leaves your family susceptible to many household allergens, but is also highly destructive to the working parts of the furnace. If this doesn’t scare you enough to change your filter, consider that a dirty furnace does not run efficiently and is a fire hazard.
7. Failure to seal your shower/tub grout. Many people have never thought about the necessity of sealing shower tile and grout. You would never consider putting on new siding on your home and failure to paint or seal it. The concept of putting on roof decking and failing to put on shingles is beyond our comprehension, but failing to seal your shower tile and grout at least once a year is equivalent to those items. Imagine the harsh weather conditions your shower tile is exposes to every day. I recommend sealing the tile at least once a year using a simple aerosol spray tile sealer that can be purchased for under $10.
8. Disable your smoke detectors. I almost feel hypocritical even putting this one on the list, because I am so guilty. I rationalize that the chances of a fire happening when the power goes out is minimal compared to the almost guarantee that I am going to suffer a night of chirping and the consequences of a bad nights sleep the next day. Not too mention that I can never get them back on the ceiling after I have taken it down, so there it hangs, advertising my failures. If you are one of the handful of people reading this: please invent a Light/solar powered smoke alarm. However the government may still require battery backup in case their is no power, no light, no sun, etc. Anyway, lets all go buy a pack of 9-volt batteries right now, so we are prepared, because fire is nothing to mess around with.
9. Use old washing machine lines. I have done several remodels this year on homes as a result of burst or leaking washer supply lines and felt it is common enough that it is worth mentioning. These supply lines are no more than a hose and tend to get brittle over time especially in situations where they are exposed to UV light. I would recommend at least inspecting these lines once every 5 years and replace them when you move or replace your machines.