Bob Vila of This Old House fame brought property maintenance and home renovations to our televisions years before HGTV and everyone on the TLC channel was trying to “do it themselves.” He is synonymous with renovations and tips to care for your home. With all due credit, we present a pretty handy list from Bob’s website:
- Roof: Check roof and around vents, skylights and chimneys for leaks. Repair as necessary.
- Attic: If there is no ridge vent, keep gable vents open year-round to ensure proper ventilation.
- Gutters: Clean gutters and drain pipes so leaves won’t clog them and be sure they drain away from the house.
- Fireplace: Clean fireplace of ashes. (Fall) Check chimney for loose or missing mortar. Have chimney professionally cleaned. Make sure damper closes tightly. (Spring) Leave damper open for improved ventilation if the home is not air-conditioned
- Filters: Remember to clean or replace filters once a month, or as needed. Check and clean dryer vent, air conditioner, stove hood and room fans. Keep heating and cooling vents clean and free from furniture and draperies.
- Safety Equipment: Ensure that all smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers are in good working order. Replace batteries in appropriate devices as needed, or at least twice each year.
- Air Conditioner: (Fall: In cold-climate areas) Remove window air-conditioners, or put weatherproof covers on them.
- Refrigerator: Make sure your refrigerator door seals are airtight. Test them by closing the door over a dollar bill. If you can pull the bill out easily, the latch may need to be adjusted or the seal may need to be replaced. In addition, if you have a coil-back refrigerator, vacuum the coils at least twice each year. Your refrigerator will run more efficiently with clean coils. Also, stock up! A full refrigerator uses less energy than an empty one.
- Faucets: Check for leaky faucets in kitchen and bathroom(s). Replace washers as necessary.
- Windows and Doors: Seal drafty doors and windows. If you added up all of the small cracks where heating and cooling escapes from a home, it would be the same as having a window open. Replace seals as needed.
- Storm Windows and Screens: (Fall) Take down screens (if removable type) and replace with storm windows. (Spring) Remove, clean, and store storm windows (if removable). Check and patch all door and window screens. Put screens up (if removable type).
- Stucco and Paint: Look for cracks and holes in house stucco or paint. Replace caulk if necessary. A carpet knife can work well for cutting away old caulking from house siding. Slice down alongside it from both directions with the hook-like blade, and then use the knife to lift out the old caulk bead intact.
- Heating System: (Fall) Have heating system serviced. Change filters.
- Hot Water Heater: (Fall) Drain hot water heater. Remove sediment from the bottom of the tank.
It is a great basic list that may take a chunk out of a few of your Saturdays, but each item will save you money in both repairs and utility costs.