It's that time of year again, and time to get ready for the seasons ahead, so these are
Jay's 2017 Fall/Winter Maintenance Recommendations
While not intended to be exhaustive, and you may have things you personally like to take care of, you might consider the following!
* Winterize the exterior hose bib valves. Turn off the interior valves, open the exterior bibs and loosen the little cap beside the interior valve to break the vacuum and let water drain out.
* Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace batteries that are old.
* Spruce up any exterior caulking. Be sure to use the right caulk for the right application! Caulking is the cheapest and easiest energy saver. Don't apply it if the temperature is under 50F and be sure it dries before it freezes.
* Boilers - check the safety relief valve.
* Furnace - if you have a maintenance contract with a licensed company have it taken care of. Oil furnaces should be checked for back puffing.
* Clean moss on the roof. Use something that does not kill the plants and shrubbery below!
* Clean gutters of debris. If you live near trees consider the solid gutter covers and eliminate the chore!
* Place sticky cricket catchers in the garage and basement! This is their time of year to come inside.
* Septic system - pump the tank if it's time. If you have two fields be sure to divert the valve to send effluent to the unused side.
* Check the chimney for creosote and clean if needed. Repair any damage.
* Improve the foundation drainage as necessary.
* Test GFI receptacles. Test AFCI circuit breakers.
* Check the garage door reversing mechanism. Put your foot through the photo-eye plane to see if the door reverses.
* Gas water heater - drain some water from the bottom to remove any sludge build up.
* Open crawl space vents. Check the insulation under the floor, if any.
* Dryer - clean behind the appliance and where the exhaust vent tubing enters the wall. Outdoors check the vent flap and clean as needed.
* Private water system - pump air into the pressure tank if pressure is weak.
* Sprinkler system - if you are unable, have your maintenance company come by to blow the water out of the lines and disconnect connections where needed.
* Kitchen - clean dust from under or behind the fridge; clean the range hood and clean the exhaust fan filter screens; clean the disposal - vinegar and baking soda work well, followed by grinding lemon peels.
This is by no means a complete list, but it will serve you well.
Preparation is everything. One of the best mottoes ever written is "Be Prepared." Sound advice.
My recommendation: be regular and diligent! In the long run, maintenance costs about 1% of the value of the house. If you pay attention to the small stuff the big things will take care of themselves.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560