Don’t let problems around the house turn into money drains!!!
To help you protect
your most valuable asset—your home—be on the lookout for these potential
issues and learn how to fix them:
Look for water stains where the deck ties to the house. Ongoing water leakage
can lead to wood decay, weakening the deck structure and the house. If you
have any doubt about the structural integrity of the deck, call a pro to
Rid your deck of moss and mold. Pressure washers are effective. Remember, if
you see wood damage, like raised fibers, increase the distance between the
spray nozzle and the decking.
DIRTY AIR CONDITIONER
Disconnect electric power to the outdoor condenser on your air conditioner
and clear it of leaves and debris with a vent brush, power blower, garden
hose, or the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner. If the cooling fins are
exposed, be careful not to bend them. (If your yard has lots of trees and
plants, wrap fiberglass mesh around the condenser coil to capture pollen and
leaves. Replace the mesh as needed. Don't allow debris to block airflow.)
Vacuum the grille and register inside the home to ensure good airflow. And
change your furnace filter.
Hairline cracks in foundation walls might be the result of concrete curing or
minor settling and aren't automatically cause for alarm. Mark them with tape
and check them again in a few months. If they've worsened, call a structural
engineer. If they're stable, fill them with an epoxy-injection system.
Fill in holes in
siding and foundation walls with expandable foam.
Check that the
ground around the foundation slopes away from the house (about 1 inch per
Look for pellet-shaped
droppings or shed wings from termites.
Clear the area of
leaves, in which rodents can nest.
FAULTY GARAGE-DOOR OPENER
To check that the door is balanced, release it into the manual mode and lift
it by hand. The door should lift easily and smoothly and stay open on its own
about 3 feet off the ground. If it doesn't, by hire a garage-door technician
to counterbalance its overhead spring . Next, set the reversing force on the
opener as low as possible. Place a 2x4 board on the ground under the door,
wide side down. The door should pop back up when it hits the 2x4. If it
doesn't, call a garage-door pro. Test the photoelectric eyes by holding the
2x4 between them. The door should reverse direction. If it doesn’t, have it
checked by a pro.
Clear gutters of debris and check them for corrosion, joint separation, and
loose fasteners. Flush out downspouts and unclog leader pipes. Leaders should
extend at least 5 feet to direct water away from the foundation.
Leaks typically occur around an inadequately flashed chimney, skylight, or
other opening. They're easiest to spot in the attic; inspect the rafters for
water stains. Patching leaks is best left to a professional. While the
contractor is on the roof, have him clean leaves from roof valleys.
Examine the siding under roof eaves, and the ceilings in the rooms below, for
water or discoloration, indications that ice dams might have created leaks
along the roof edge.
Inspect the roof for cracked, curled, or missing shingles. Asphalt shingles
typically last 20 years.
Inspect trees for broken branches. If the limb is high up, hire a licensed
arborist. If you can reach it from the ground, take it down using the
three-cut technique, which prevents bark from tearing and creating an open
wound on the trunk:·
Make the first cut 1
to 2 feet from the branch collar, sawing a quarter way through the bottom of
Make the second cut
3 inches farther out from the first, sawing all the way through the branch.
Make the final cut
just beyond the branch collar, sawing from the top down.
Check trunks for signs of "sun
scalding," which typically affects the south and the southwest sides of
smooth-barked trees, such as maples. Inspect for roots poking through the
soil, a possible sign that the tree is starting to list. If you had heavy
snowfall in winter, look for bending branches. Make a mental note and check
that they bounce back and produce leaves in the spring.
Nip cracks in the bud in the driveway and paths before weeds take up
residence. Home centers sell patching materials and fillers designed for
asphalt and concrete surfaces. These DIY fixes might not do the trick on
surfaces that have ruptured from the effects of frost heaving. For those,
you'll need to hire a professional to pour or pave a new surface over