Owning a home is the “Great American Dream,” but sometimes homeowners get a little tired of all of the maintenance that comes with the territory of ownership. There is a lot to remember… since a home has so many parts, it’s hard to keep them all running simultaneously!
You’re juggling a lot, so here are a few reminders of items that may need a little bit of TLC. They are easy to forget but shouldn’t be neglected. Make sure these all get added to your DIY maintenance schedule, or call a Massachusetts professional in order to remove them from your ‘honey-do’ list:
- Refrigerator: There’s more to cleaning your refrigerator than throwing out spoiled food. Occasionally, you will need to clean the coils – these are what helps keep the refrigerator cold and having them covered in dust will make your appliance less efficient. Also clean out the drip pan, which is often on the bottom of the unit.
- Water Heater: As you use your water heater, sediment will sometimes flow into the tank. This sediment reduces the heater’s efficiency and shortens its lifespan. To get the sediment out, you will need to empty the tank, which is a job that needs to be done with extreme care in order to avoid contact with scalding hot water. Most people opt to let a professional handle this annual task.
- Kitchen and Bathroom Grout: Most people have grout somewhere in their kitchen or bathroom. Did you know, though, that this grout needs to be resealed occasionally? Most recommend an annual reseal in order to make sure that grout stays waterproof.
- Clothes Dryer: Everyone that uses a clothes dryer knows that you have to remove the lint from the lint trap after every load. It is also important to know that you need to give the lint screen a thorough cleaning once in a while – otherwise residue from fabric softener and dryer sheets will cause airflow to be blocked within the unit. You can use any dish soap meant to remove grease, and make sure that the screen dries thoroughly before replacing it.
- Chimney: Here in Massachusetts, many homes come with a fireplace and chimney. If this describes your home, make sure that you have your chimney professionally cleaned every year, especially if you use it. This will help you avoid the threat of a chimney fire.
- Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: This home maintenance tip is one that we echo often here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors twice a year. It is critical to know that they will work as intended if there is ever a problem and can give your family critical moments to evacuate the property if there is a fire or gas leak.
- Garage Door: To extend the life of your automatic garage door opener, you should plan to lubricate it annually. This includes the chain and overhead springs. Cracked or warped weather stripping on the bottom of the door should be replaced, as should cracked or warped roller wheels.
- Air Conditioner and Heaters: It is critical that your heater and air conditioner get regular maintenance visits from an HVAC specialist. They will check the system to ensure that it is running efficiently and that there are no major issues looming. You should also make sure that the filter on these units is changed according to the specialist’s instructions (often quarterly) or more often if you suffer from seasonal allergies.
- Gutters: It’s a dirty job, but someone has got to do it! Gutters should be cleaned twice a year (in the spring and fall, typically) to ensure that debris doesn’t collect. If you let leaves, pine cones, etc. clog your gutters, they can get wet and very heavy. This would mean gutters could tear away from your home and/or cause damage to your exterior walls. Overflowing gutters also don’t drain properly, which can cause water to seep into your home or damage your foundation.
- Front and Back Yard: Occasionally, you will need to give your greenery some “TLC” – ensure that all trees are looked at by a professional. They will be able to tell you if any branches (or entire trees) pose a falling threat. Have those potential problems dealt with quickly, since they could otherwise break and damage something (or hurt someone) in the next major storm to roll through.
While these tasks are easy to overlook, some of them are critical in order to assure that your home is as safe as possible for yourself and your loved ones. You may choose to do them yourself, but more complicated tasks may require the aid of a professional. For a referral to complete any of these jobs, simply call your favorite local independent insurance agency – we will be happy to point you in the direction of a knowledgeable and courteous workman.
If you do ever have a problem in your home, call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency – we can help you file a claim on your Massachusetts home insurance and get you back to normal as soon as possible.