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Home Maintenance Check

Anyone who ever said that "a home is a constant joy" may never have owned a home or could afford to hire people to take care of it for them, and then there are the rest of us. Our homes are our pride and joy but, at times, can also be quite a headache and expense. It is not until we own a home that we realize the work and cost of maintaining and upgrading it. A home is your castle but like any structure it needs constant care and maintenance to keep its value, to uphold a comfortable living condition, and to maintain aesthetically pleasing surroundings. Any advantage that we can prevail of to help with the cost of maintaining our castles is always welcome. By now castle owners should be aware of the inherent advantages and financial benefits of a structural diagnostic survey performed by Advanced Thermal Imaging, Inc (ATI). To further help you with your constant joy ATI has provide a list of home maintenance checks that you can perform on your castle.

Spring/Summer
  • Check foundation walls, floors, concrete and masonry for cracking, missing mortar, heaving or deterioration.
  • Check grading for proper slope away from foundation walls.
  • Check all wood surfaces for weathering and paint failure.
  • Check all decks, patios, porch stairs and railings for loose members and deterioration.
  • Check foundation and attic vent screens for damage.
  • Check basement crawl space for moisture or leakage after wet weather.
Fall
  • Shut off all exterior faucets from inside of house. Drain remaining water to exterior from outside shutoff.
  • Coil and store water hoses inside to extend the life of the hoses.
  • Remove debris from gutters and downspouts. This will water moving freely through the system and help prevent water buildup.
  • Cut back and trim vegetation from structures.
  • Make sure dryer vent is free from obstructions, and keep snow buildup away from exhaust vent in winter.
  • Insulate interior outlets and switches plates with inexpensive foam sealing gaskets to help prevent cold air infiltration and warm air exfiltration.
  • In the winter you can help blanket your home around the foundation with snow to help save on energy costs. A lot of heat is lost through the concrete foundation especially the areas that protrude above ground. Snow is a good insulator and itís free. But remember not to pack it around you exhaust ports (like your clothes dryer) that are close to the ground.
Year-round
Roofs
  • Check for any missing, loose or damaged shingles on all roofs. Check for open seams, blisters or bald areas on flat roofs.
  • Check flashings around all structural surfaces.
  • Check all structures that protrude from the roof to make sure they are not leaking and are well sealed.
  • Check fascia and soffits for deterioration, damage & blockages.
  • Trim back all tree limbs and vegetation away from roof.
  • Try not walking on your roof during cold (winter) days. Your shingles are less flexible and subject to damage.
PLUMBING
  • Check lawn sprinkler system for leaky valves and exposed lines.
  • Have well water checked once a year for safety (home & cabin).
  • Check all faucets, hose bibs and supply valves for leakage.
  • Check for evidence of leaks around and under sinks, showers, toilets and tubs.
  • Have the septic tank cleaned every two years.
  • Know the location of the main water shut-off valve.
  • Check hot water heater for leaks and corrosion.
Attic
  • Check attic for water or moisture intrusion.
  • Water stains in ceiling are a good indication that there is a problem in the attic or roof area. Wet insulation in attic can also mean a leak. Look for tell tale signs of water infiltration when itís raining. If you notice that the new insulation is much
    thicker than what you have itís time to consider new insulation in your attic.
  • Moisture intrusion can be more difficult to spot. You may only get moisture intrusion between fall and spring of the year. Condensation will occur when humidity combines with lower temperatures to create dew points in the attic and walls, especially where there is poor or no insulation. Moist air intrusion from leaky duck systems (air exchangers, washroom exhaust, etc) can also cause structural damage and mold growth in your attic.
  • Check under old insulation for possible problems before re-insulating the attic. Always replace damaged, deteriorated or wet insulation (this included insulation that has was wet and has dried).
HEATING & COOLING
  • Replace your old inefficient furnace with a high efficiency one. Close trusted brands and true professional for the installation.
  • Check with the manufacture and installation company for all maintenance necessary to keep your system functioning at peak efficiency.
  • Clean or change furnace, HVAC and air exchanger filters as specified by the manufacture. Buy only the better brand of filters for maximum air cleaning. Grills can also be fitted with filters.
  • Consider ductwork cleaning where debris buildup has occurred.
  • Systems should be professionally service once a year. Look at a service plan that covers yearly maintenance and the unexpected system failure.
  • For steam checks, test shut-off valve for leaks (per manufacturerís instructions).
  • Keep area around systems clean of obstructions so air can flow freely.
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms in areas where fuel is being burnt to generate heat (furnaces and gas fireplaces)
  • Insulate exposed (exterior or in walls) piping to prevent freezing and bursting.
  • Lubricate fan and motor bearings where necessary and check fan belt tension.
  • Check all joins in system duck work for leaks, damage, and deterioration.
Fireplace & Chimney
  • Install sealed fire rated doors in your fireplace with supplementary air flow (air vent), where possible, to cut down on the amount of warm, and cool, air being exhausted from your home through the chimney. When the fireplace is not in use and you donít have sealed fire doors, seal the opening of fireplace with a fire retardant or fire proof material. Make sure fire is completely out if you are not using a fire proof material. Fireplace doors are also a good home safety feature.
  • Visually check chimney for any obstructions (bird nests, squirrels or other animals). If you are not sure light a small fire with newspaper and check the draw of the smoke and fire up the chimney. Poor air draw may mean an obstruction in the chimney.
  • Check flue damper operation. Make sure it opens and closes fully, and that it can be locked in the open or closed position.
  • Have your chimney professionally cleaned at least every third year, or more often if your use your fireplace a lot. Soot buildup in your chimney is a fire hazard.
  • Have your chimney liner checked to make sure it does not need replacing
  • Inspect the firebrick in the fireplace and have any open mortar joints repaired immediately.
  • Check flashings around chimney, roofing, and vents, and pipes. These areas are a potential source of leaks.
Water Tanks and Piping
  • Insulate hot water tanks with an insulating blanket to help prevent heat loss.
  • Insulate cold and hot water copper piping in your home. This will help save on energy costs on heating for hot water pipes, and help prevent condensation on cold water pipes.
  • To help prevent water damage to your home from water boiler leaks install a water retainer under the boiler that has a drain hose going to your drain system.
Windows & Doors
  • Check for cracks in window panes or areas where pane seals have been damaged. When the temperature drops in the evening check windows (at an angle) to see if there is any moisture accumulating inside the panes of glass. Insulating gas inside windows with corrupted seals will leak out and moisture laden air will leak back in. Replace these windows as soon as possible with energy efficient ones.
  • Older less energy efficient windows can be covered with plastic insulation kits for the winter months. But once again they should be replaced and sealed well.
  • Damaged windows can also be temporarily sealed for a period of time (winter) with plastic but make sure exterior is well sealed against water intrusion that can cause structural damage and mold growth, over time. Replace window as soon as possible.
  • Check caulking for deterioration of all openings and joints between wood and masonry.
  • Check weather stripping on the sides and bottom of all exterior & interior doors. On windy days feel for drafts along weather stripping and door. For excessive air infiltration around door moldings, remove molding and check for proper insulation around door. Older less energy efficient doors, and sidelights, will allow a certain amount of cold air infiltration to pass through them. Doors, especially solid wood doors, can warp over time and become hard to properly seal with weather stripping.
 

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