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Yearend Maintenance

January 1, 2008

From one of the home inspection companies I have used in recent years, come these tips for keeping your home in good, safe order.   Check these items annually and now, before the start of the New Year is a good time!

1. Smoke detectors should be installed on each level of the home, particularly near any sleeping areas.  Replace the batteries once a year (even if they are not “beeping” at you!).
2. Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed if there is any use of propane in the home.  Replace these batteries annually, also.
3. Make any electrical modifications that need attention – is there a light switch that doesn’t always turn on?  Left to deteriorate, electrical issues can pose a fire hazard.
4. Correct trip hazards such as broken or uneven walks and driveways, loose or torn carpet or uneven flooring.
5. Do a “buyer’s eyes” once over in your home for unsafe conditions.  Are there any railings missing (on the basement stairs, for example), that you have grown used to?  Correct all unsafe stairways and landings.
6. Have a chimney sweep inspect and clean all fireplace flues before operating any appliances or building your first fire for the winter.  Ensure the cap on the chimney is in good shape.
7. Remind yourself of the location of the shut-offs for the heating, electrical and plumbing systems.  In an emergency – such as frozen pipes – knowing where to go instantly can save thousands of dollars in damages.
8. Turn off all outside faucets and remove the hose from the connector to eliminate the possibility for freezing and leaking. 
9. If there is a septic system, have the tank pumped and inspected. If the house is on a private water supply (well), set up a regular testing procedure for checking water quality.

Regular Maintenance Items
To ensure that the property remains in tiptop shape, the following are maintenance issues that require regular attention and a visual inspection a minimum of twice per year.

1. Clean the gutters in the spring and fall.
2. Check for damaged roofing and flashing materials.
3. Cut back trees and shrubs from the house walls, roof and air conditioning system as needed.
4. Clean the tracks on horizontal sliding windows annually, and ensure the drain holes are clear.
5. Test ground fault circuit interrupters, carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors using the test button, monthly.
6. Service furnace or boiler yearly.
7. Check furnace filters, humidifiers and electronic air cleaners monthly.
8. Check the bathtub and shower caulking monthly and improve promptly as needed.
9. Check reversing mechanism on garage door opener monthly.
10. Check attics for evidence of leaks and condensation and make sure vents are not obstructed, at least twice a year. (Ensure there is access into all attics and crawl spaces.)

By maintaining your home in good working and living condition, you will be better prepared to sell if and when you make that decision.

Patty Cunningham
Coldwell Banker Preferred


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