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Autumn Home Inspection Maintenance

Posted by macleanbell@gmail.com on October 7, 2011 at 10:40 AM


Autumn Home Inspection Maintenance

By Tommie Cox

 Autumn is the time of year when our homes need to be inspected for winter maintenance.  Lots of energy is lost without proper maintenance.  This is the perfect time for maintenance projects because of the mild weather.

Energy loss around doors and windows is a big problem.  Insert a dollar bill in the gaps around the windows and doors.  If this can be easily done, your heat/cooling is going out the window.  Inexpensive ways to correct this are caulking around windows, or applying inexpensive door/window insulating strips.  You can also turn on all exhaust fans in the house.  Turn on the kitchen vent fan and set the clothes dryer to air-dry setting.  Light some incense sticks, and walk around the house.  The smoke will detect if there are any drafts around doors and windows.

Check in the basement for dampness.  Tape a large piece of plastic to the basement floor for 24 hours.  When you take up the plastic, look to see if you can see where the plastic was on the floor.  If you can see where the plastic was lying, there is moisture coming from the concrete.  Sometimes the gutters and downspouts are the root of this problem.  They may be clogged and funneling the water to the foundation.  Try cleaning out the gutters, making sure the downspouts are running clear, and install downspout extensions to get the water even further away from the foundation.

Change furnace filters.  Furnace filters should be changed once a month in the heating season.  The colder season keeps  you spending more time indoors, making you more susceptible to indoor allergens.  Changing furnace filters regularly makes them more efficient, removing more of the allergen particles from the air.   Be sure that the arrows on the filter are pointing inward, toward the blower.

Water heaters can build up sediment in the bottom of the tank.  This can cause operational inefficiency which can shorten the life of the tank.  Twice a year drain about 2 gallons of water from the tank.  Be sure to turn the water heater OFF before draining.  Turning the water heater off about 1 hour before draining will allow the water temperature to cool a bit (you don’t want to burn yourself).  Wear gloves, long sleeves, and goggles.  The water will still be hot, so Do Not Touch the water.   The valve near the bottom of the tank is the one to open for draining the tank.  DO NOT TOUCH the valve on top of the water heater – this is a pressure valve.   First, connect a hose to the valve and place the hose to drain into a sink or outside to the yard.  After the hose is safely in place, open the valve to drain the water.  As the sediment washes out, the water will become clear.  Close the valve, remove the hose, and turn the water heater back on.

Proper insulation is a must for energy efficiency.  The Department of Energy recommends an R-value of up to 60 for attics.  (19 inches of fiberglass batt or 22 inches of blown insulation should be efficient)

To check for leaks in your toilet, pour a package of unsweetened kool-aid in the tank in the back of the toilet.  If the water in the bowl turns the color of the kool-aid, then you know you have a leak.  This may be just needing a new flapper or some other seal.

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Categories: Residential Listing, Tennessee Real Estate, Real Estate Solutions

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