Owning a home isn’t always fun and games. Ready for some scary statistics?
- U.S. Fire Departments respond to a fire every 25 seconds.
- Household appliances cause over 150,000 fires annually.
- More than 10% of home fires are electrical.
- Water heater failures make up 20 percent of residential water loss incidents.
- Foundation repairs can cost upwards of $20,000.
- Mold is a major trigger for asthma and other respiratory disease
What do all of these scenarios have in common? In many cases, these disasters could be avoided with a solid preventive maintenance plan. It’s really a matter of awareness, and unfortunately we’re sometimes unaware of risks until we fall victim to one of these damaging situations.
So being able to head off many of these expensive problems is a worthy goal. It starts with awareness and is accomplished through action. Preventative maintenance is not glamorous or fun. Your friends won’t marvel at your new furnace filter or the pristine state of your water heater tank. But these are important steps for keeping your home healthy.
Here’s how you can avoid major home losses with three simple measures:
#1: Keep an Eye on Your Appliances
Major appliances can be expensive to replace, and when they fail unexpectedly they can cause other serious damage to your home. In some cases this is due not to a lack of maintenance, but to product defects. Keep an eye out for appliance recalls. They can indicate potentially dangerous problems, and the manufacturer is responsible for correcting those. You can check the manufacturer’s site, or look on Recalls.gov for comprehensive information.
Appliance maintenance is important, both for prolonging their life and for preventing costly damage. Those with the most potential for causing added damage are connected with water.
A leaky dishwasher can create problems with flooring and cabinetry over time. An aging washer can spring a sudden, powerful leak (and never at a convenient time), damaging carpets and walls and increasing the risk of mold in the home, which has all sorts of nasty effects on our health.
Here are some basics for maintaining household appliances:
- Water heater: Drain and flush annually; watch for leaks
- Dryer: Remove lint after each load; regularly vacuum out the vent
- Washer: Ensure that the machine is level; inspect the hose for loose fittings, bulges or cracks; don’t leave wet clothes inside to develop mold
- Refrigerator: Clean compressor coils regularly; keep the machine level
- Range: Clean drip pans regularly to minimize fire risk and improve efficiency
- Dishwasher: Inspect spray arms for clogs; check hoses for leaks
#2: Don’t Ignore Your HVAC
Keeping your heating and cooling system running trouble-free involves regular maintenance as well. Depending on use, it can be necessary to clean or change the system’s filters as often as every 3-4 months. This keeps your system from working harder than necessary to heat or cool your home, and also improves the air quality.
As the seasons change, it’s advisable to have a professional inspect and service the heat or air conditioning system. This can help you avoid expensive repairs, and also saves energy by making the unit more efficient. It’s well worth the cost.
#3: Fiercely Guard the Outside of Your Home
Much of the water damage to homes comes from outside. A small leak in the roof can cause major damage over time, and water collecting near the foundation is a recipe for disaster. Other environmental threats include termites, carpenter ants, and other wildlife, as well as temperature extremes.
No matter what the age of a roof, it’s wise to inspect it closely once a year. Even if you haven’t detected any leaks, check for loose shingles, cracks, and damage. This should include a look at gutters and downspouts as well. These should be thoroughly cleaned at least once a year to prevent water backing up and damaging the roof and trim.
Another drainage consideration is protecting your home’s foundation. Downspouts should extend at least 5 feet from the house, and the ground should slope away from the foundation. If need be, you can create this slope by adding topsoil.
Keep Your Home Safe with Regular Maintenance
Keeping track of these concerns can be a big job, and you’re probably otherwise occupied most of the time. That’s where Glasshouse can help. We obsess over the details that make for great home maintenance, ensuring that important tasks don’t get overlooked, so you can focus on enjoying your home.