Tips for Tidy Home Maintenance

David Deem

By Barbara Pronin

There's no trick to knowing when the water heater springs a leak or when the air conditioner fails to keep you cool. But regular maintenance is cheaper than repair or replacement, and there is a good chance you can avoid untimely failures by performing a routine home maintenance check twice each year, summer and fall.

Here, according to home improvement and remodeling expert Bob Vila, are ten potential trouble spots you can keep under control with regular, bi-annual maintenance checks:

Roof and siding check the roof, the siding, and around vents and chimneys for signs of cracking and/or leaks. Repair as needed.

Gutters Clean the leaves out of gutters and drain pipes and b sure they drain away from the house.

Fireplace Clean out the ashes. In the fall, consider professional cleaning and close the damper. In the spring, if the home is not air conditioned, open the damper for better ventilation.

Filters Clean or replace as needed and clean out the dryer vent, the stove hood and air conditioner.

Safety equipment Replace batteries in smoke detectors and be sure fire extinguishers are in good working order.

Windows and doors Replace seals as needed to keep out drafts and keep warm or cool air in.

Storm windows and screens Take down removable screens and put up storm windows in the fall; reverse the procedure in the spring.

Heating system Change the filters and have the system serviced each fall.

Hot water heater Drain the hot water heater once each fall and remove any sediment from the bottom of the tank.



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