annual home maintenance

It’s hard to keep up with all the home maintenance we have to do, but our friend Steve Fletcher at NGS Inspection Services did us, and you a favour. Steve put together this blog post about annual home maintenance inspections, benefits and maintenance tip for the homeowner. Thanks Steve!

Why Are Annual Home Maintenance Inspections important?

It may not seem like it, but your home can be considered a living thing: it ages, wears out and its interconnected systems need to be maintained regularly for it to survive. Much like the human body, the different systems of your home must be checked regularly to ensure that they’re not suffering from any sort of debilitating condition. In the case of your home, you’ll need a doctor to make house calls annually: the doctor being a Certified Professional Home Inspector who can inspect your home from top to bottom, troubleshoot its symptoms and get to the root of any underlying problems that there may be. Most would agree that Home Inspections are an essential part of maintenance because they help with the early detection of problems, keeping them from escalating into larger more costly issues.

What Should be Inspected?

Here are a few of the vital systems that your Home Inspector will inspect and their role in keeping your home happy and healthy:

Insulation: Home insulation is like the second layer of skin for your house: it keeps the temperature regulated inside and stops the outside elements from getting in if they’ve gotten past your siding. When insulation becomes old or damaged, it’s not going to function at its full capacity, causing a loss of heat or AC during certain months of the year. An Inspector will be able to identify exactly what’s wrong with your current insulation and recommend new solutions that will increase your R-value (insulation rating).

Roofing: Your roof’s ability to shed water is Crucial, inspecting the inside and outside of your roof is one of the most important things you can do during an Annual Home Maintenance Inspection. Your roof is the binding point for much of your home and allowing breakdowns to occur within it can lead to major interior damage from leaks and holes. An Inspector will help you to identify any structural damage, weak spots or the need for patchwork, which can go a long way towards saving you from an impending disaster.

HEATING/COOLING Systems: Maintaining the right temperature in your home is as important as maintaining your own body temperature. Too hot and you could find yourself sitting in an uncomfortable sweatbox; too cold and you’re sure to shiver yourself sick! Heating/Cooling systems are comprised of many parts, all of which rely on each other to function seamlessly. When even one of these components breaks down or isn’t functioning at the right capacity, you could find yourself paying inflated utility costs and straining your heating or AC system all that much more.

Appliances: We rely on appliances every day of our lives, from washing machines to refrigerators. When our appliances start to age, it becomes important to check their status. You may be content with a washing machine that’s decades old, however what you might not be content with is the hugely overrated utility costs that come with it. What’s more, old appliances contain different chemicals that are used during their function—such as Freon in refrigeration units—which can cause harm to the environment if they’re left unchecked. (Included in every Inspection is a service called Recall Chek. The Inspector will record the manufacturer’s name and model number where visible of all your appliances. If there is a recall listed for your appliance Recall Chek will then issue a report including the nature of the recall, where the product was sold, and how to remedy the defect including how to get the item repaired or replaced absolutely FREE).

How Does it Benefit Me?

Annual Home Maintenance Inspections are a great investment that can help you maintain your home’s excellent condition, a benefit that you will see will shine through in a home that’s well equipped to function in the coming year.

You will receive a detailed report that outlines your home’s current condition helps bring focus on the areas that need to be improved and repaired immediately to ensure that you achieve the maximum service life from all the components in your home. This report can help you avoid serious damage, and Save You Money on Costly Repairs.

Annual Home maintenance Inspections help maintain a healthy and safe environment for your family

The Inspector will explain how your home operates, how to take care of it and answer any questions that you may have about maintaining your home.

Annual Maintenance tips for fall and winter

Give Your Furnace a Physical

Once a year, it’s a good idea to have your heating system inspected by a professional. To avoid the last-minute rush, consider scheduling this task in early fall, before the heating season begins.

Here are signs that you should have an inspection performed sooner:

Noisy Belts: Unusual screeches or whines may be a signal that belts connected to the blower motor are worn or damaged.

Poor Performance: A heating system that doesn’t seem to work as well as it once did could be a sign of various problems. Your heating ducts might be blocked, the burners might be misadjusted, or the blower motor could be on its last legs. One check you should be sure to conduct: Make sure your furnace filter is clean.

Erratic Behaviour: This could be caused by a faulty thermostat or a misadjusted furnace.

Review Safety Features of Your Home

At least once a year, do a top-to-bottom review of your home’s safety features. This is also a good time to get the family together for a review of your fire evacuation plan. Here’s how to do this:

Smoke and CO Detectors: Replace the batteries in each smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detector, then vacuum them with a soft brush attachment. Test the detectors by pressing the test button or holding a smoke source (like a blown-out candle) near the unit. If you haven’t already, install a smoke detector on every floor of your home, including the basement.

Fire Extinguishers: Every home should have at least one fire extinguisher rated for all fire types (look for an A-B-C rating on the label). At a minimum, keep one near the kitchen; having one per floor isn’t a bad idea. Annually, check the indicator on the pressure gauge to make sure the extinguisher is charged. Make certain that the lock pin is intact and firmly in place, and check that the discharge nozzle is not clogged. Clean the extinguisher and check it for dents, scratches, and corrosion. Replace if the damage seems severe. Note: Fire extinguishers that are more than six years old should be replaced. Mark the date of purchase on the new unit with a permanent marker.

Fire Escape Plans: Every bedroom, including basement bedrooms, should have two exit paths. Make sure windows aren’t blocked by furniture or other items. Ideally, each upper-floor bedroom should have a rope ladder near the window for emergency exits. Review what to do in case of fire, and arrange a safe meeting place for everyone away from the house.

General Cleanup: Rid your home of accumulations of old newspapers and leftover hazardous household chemicals. (Check with your municipality or local Environmental Protection Agency about the proper way to discard dangerous chemicals.) Store flammable materials and poisons in approved, clearly labeled containers. Keep a clear space around heaters, furnaces, and other heat-producing appliances.

Other General Maintenance Tips

  1. Regularly clean gutters and downspouts. Make sure all drainage areas are unblocked by leaves and debris. Consider installing gutter guards to make the job a lot easier.
  2. Lower the humidity in your home to reduce the amount of condensation buildup on your windows. If the humidity level is too high condensation and ice will form on your windows and can cause damage to the frames and surrounding trim.
  3. The change in temperature and humidity and normal wear and tear can cause window seals to crack and shrink. Check your windows and doors inside and out for leaks and drafts. Caulk cracks or install weather stripping around windows and doors, including the garage door.
  4. Have a Roof Tune Up performed by a licensed roofing contractor once every 5 years. If the shingles are curling, buckling or crackling, replace them. If you have a lot of damage, it’s time to replace the entire roof. Also, check the flashing around skylights, pipes and chimneys. If you have any leaks or gaps, heavy snow and ice will find its way in.
  5. To prevent exterior water pipes from bursting when the weather gets below freezing, turn off the valves to the exterior hose bibs. Open the exterior faucet valves to drain the water until the pipes are empty. Make sure all the water is drained from the pipes, if not; the water can freeze up and damage the pipes.

Thanks to Steve, at NGS Inspection Services for being a guest blogger! If you have questions about your home, including getting your home tested for Radon levels, give Steve a call at (403) 463-7827.

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