After I buy a home, what is the best way to keep it in good condition?
There are so many inexpensive ways to protect your home from costly repairs.
• For starters, make sure your landscaping is sloped away from the foundation. Install gutters and downspouts with long extensions around the entire house to keep water from getting into the basement.
This is not a cure-all, but at least you are doing everything you can to prevent water problems. If you do have serious moisture penetration, you might have to add drain tile, a sump pit and pump, which collects water and then pumps it outside.
• Keep your asphalt driveway sealed and repair the cracks to extend its life.
• If you are missing some mortar in your brick chimney, replace it so it won’t need a major chimney repair.
• In the winter, pull snow off the roof edge to prevent ice dams and damage to the roof areas. Then check your roof after every winter.
• Make sure you monitor your roof areas for curling and damaged shingles.
• If you can, poke your head up in the attic every once in a while to see if there’s any damage.
Look for leaking, damaged decking and cracked trusses and rafters in the attic.
Be careful if you’re walking in your attic. Try not to disturb the insulation in the attic, especially if it is blown insulation. View from the opening, it is much safer.
• Make sure your wood and composite siding and soffit, fascia and window frames are caulked, sealed and painted on a regular basis to prevent moisture penetration and rot.
• On the interior, keep the areas clean and update your flooring and painting. Monitor areas for any moisture penetration, which must be dealt with right away before it causes serious damage.
• Keep your deck stained and sealed. I have seen decks that needed replacement because nothing was done to prevent water damage.
• If you have a wood-burning fireplace and use it frequently, have a fireplace specialist clean and check it every year.
• Every year, drain a couple of buckets of water out of your water heater to get rid of the sediment that collects in the bottom. This could prolong its life.
• Repair any leaking faucets, as this will save you money and extend their lives.
• Toggle your main water shutoff every month to make sure it works. Some have not been moved in many years and they could seize up and not operate in an emergency.
Close your main water shutoff if you are going to be gone for a while, or even for the weekend. If the pipe breaks, the chances of the floor drain keeping up with that much water flow is very slim, and you could sustain water damage.
Make sure you shut off the outside water faucets. Even if they are considered frost-proof, that doesn’t mean that they can’t freeze. I have seen many so-called frost-proof faucets on the exterior burst because of extreme cold.
• It can be as simple as walking around the inside and outside of your home and thinking about what you can do to make it look better and last longer. This will also help immensely when you try to sell your home.
Duerkop is a licensed home inspector. To submit a question, call 1-866-715-8222 or email AmericanSentryl@charter.net.