Hudson - Litchfield News
10 Home Improvement - April 16, 2010
Essential tasks for your home maintenance short list
Unlike your car, your home
doesn’t come with a maintenance manual. Keeping your home in good shape means staying on top of the many things you need to do to protect its value and your family’s safety.
A home maintenance check- list can get very long. “But there are simple things people can do on a regular basis to avoid loss and preserve their investment,” says Charles Valinotti, senior vice president with QBE Regional, which specializes in property and casualty insurance through subsid- iaries General Casualty, Unigard, Farmers Union Insurance and QBE Agri. “All kinds of things can happen to a home. Even minor incidents can wind up costing thousands of dollars.”
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Ready to tackle some easy, yet important, maintenance tasks that could save you money down the road? Here are a few of those annual, monthly and seasonal chores:
Once a year * Inspect your fireplace
chimney. Do you see shiny black soot? It’s called creosote, and Valinotti says excess build-up can cause a chimney fire. “You’ll want a professional chimney sweep to come in and clean it at least once a year.”
* Dust heating registers, vents,
radiators and smoke alarms. A
good vacuuming will get rid of airborne dust and improve airflow on heating units, and will ensure that smoke alarms work properly.
Once a month * Look for leaks. Check your
hot water heater for rust stains or water on, around or under it. This could mean a valve is leaking and a plumber should be called to replace it, or could also signal the entire unit should be replaced. “We see many losses each year running as high as $100,000 that are caused by hot water heater leakage,” Valinotti says. It’s a good idea to take a look at your dishwasher and toilets, as well. Leaks over long periods of time can damage floors and lead to expensive repairs.
* Test smoke alarms. Press the
test buttons to make sure the alarm is working.
Once each spring and fall * De-gunk your gutters. To
prevent overflow and decay, re- move leaves and other debris from gutters, and clean the screens that lead to the downspouts. Check the gutter joints for cracks.
* Examine the roof for leaks.
Take a look at places where items protrude from the roof - such as a chimney, sky light or vent pipes - and see if shingles are loose or broken. Inspect the interior ceiling at those same places for water stains. “We’ve seen homes where water worked its way into eaves and shingles,” Valinotti says. “In one case, the home’s sup- port beam had snapped in half because it had rotted over time. The insured was surprised, to say the least.”
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And one simple maintenance tip that can fit into anyone’s busy schedule: Valinotti says once a
Radiant - from page 4
emissivity number. This number should be 0.1 or lower for a radi- ant barrier or 0.25 or lower for an Interior Radiation Control Coating. Without an emissivity number, homeowners will not know the
year, you should “exercise” your home’s circuit breakers. Open and close each breaker to prevent it from sticking. “This will help keep
quality of the product they are selecting. It is also important to know proper installation methods with the IRCC materials. Some require two or even three coats to meet the stated energy savings. Issues may also arise from the application of an aluminum-
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the breakers moving easily, and it takes about 10 seconds.”
- Courtesy of ARAcontent
infused paint that will limit its effectiveness. An uneven coating of paint will allow heat to escape into the home in less thick areas. Also, installers must regularly mix the paint to ensure the aluminum does not settle to the bottom. Un- fortunately, a visual inspection of the painted surface will not reveal if the mixture or thickness of paint is sufficient to achieve the emissiv- ity number indicated on the label. Homeowners have a variety of options to reduce their energy bills by applying aluminum to roofing products. Although paints can offer limited protection at a lower cost, properly installed aluminum radiant barriers provide superior performance and greater reliability.
- Courtesy of ARAcontent
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Photo courtesy of ARA Content
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