Thursday, May 22, 2003
More Bang for Your Buck: Home Maintenance Checklist
When it comes to work around the house, it's very easy for a small problem to become a big, expensive mess. But if you know where to look, a little preventive maintenace can go a long way. We spoke to an expert on how to keep your appliances running smoothly all year long.
That means your A-C better be A-Okay... or you better know what to look for.
"Sometimes you can catch things before they break down."
And that's why Sears is teaming up with the Miami-Dade Housing Service assessing homes for free.
Horatio Villazonof Sears says, "By being preventive you do things that prevent failures which saves you money from repairs...and it creates less electric bills."
When it comes to your air conditioner, begin by cleaning the filter..
Horatio says, "When the filter gets clogged it causes it not to have the air flow and causes it to run much harder to operate and cool the house so it costs you in electric."
Costly can also describe a clogged dryer.
Before doing the laundry, make sure the vents are clean.
It's not only more efficient, it's less dangerous
"We need to be concience that that can become a fire hazzard."
Next, check out therefrigerator gasket-or door
"If it's leaking air it causes the refrigerator to run constantly so you want to check the gasket."
"Take a dollar bill..put the dollar bill in the door gasket..if it comes out very a little snug, not to tight that means the door is sealing properly."
Also seal up all drafty doors and windows.
If you add up the small cracks, it would be the same as having a window open.
And if you need a reminder, one comes every month.
"By doing these preventative maitences, its going to save you money and make you a happy homeowner."
Remember certified technicians should always be called for electrical and plumbing work.
The Sears American Dream Campaign
Bi-Annual Home Maintenance “Top to Bottom” Checklist:
1. Roof: Check roof and around vents, skylights and chimneys for leaks. Repair as necessary.
2. Attic: (Spring) Open vents to ensure proper ventilation. (Fall) Close vents to conserve heat.
3. Gutters: Clean gutters and drain pipes so leaves won't clog them and be sure they drain away from the house.
4. Fireplace: Clean fireplace of ashes. (Spring) Leave damper open for improved ventilation if the home is not air-conditioned. (Fall) Check chimney for loose or missing mortar. Have chimney professionally cleaned. Make sure damper closes tightly.
5. Filters: Remember to clean or replace filters once a month, or as needed. Check and clean dryer vent, air conditioner, stove hood and room fans. Keep heating and cooling vents clean and free from furniture and draperies.
6. Safety Equipment: Ensure that all smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers are in good working order. Replace batteries in appropriate devices as needed, or at least twice each year.
7. Refrigerator: Make sure your refrigerator door seals are airtight. Test them by closing the door over a dollar bill. If you can pull the bill out easily, the latch may need to be adjusted or the seal may need to be replaced. In addition, if you have a coil-back refrigerator, vacuum the coils at least twice each year. Your refrigerator will run more efficiently with clean coils. Also, stock up! A full refrigerator uses less energy than an empty one.
8. Faucets: Check for leaky faucets in kitchen and bathroom(s). Replace washers as necessary.
9. Windows and Doors: Seal drafty doors and windows. If you added up all of the small cracks where heating and cooling escapes from a home, it would be the same as having a window open. Replace seals as needed.
10. Storm Windows and Screens: (Spring) Remove, clean, and store storm windows (if removable). Check and patch all door and window screens. Put screens up (if removable type). (Fall) Take down screens (if removable type) and replace with storm windows.
11. Siding and Paint: Look for cracks and holes in house siding or paint. Replace caulk if necessary. A carpet knife can work well for cutting away old caulking from house siding. Slice down alongside it from both directions with the hook-like blade, then use the knife to lift out the old caulk bead intact.
12. Basement: Check basement walls and floor for dampness. Be sure to clean dehumidifier regularly, if you have one.
13. Heating System: (Fall) Have heating system serviced. Change filters.
14. Hot Water Heater: (Fall) Drain hot water heater. Remove sediment from the bottom of the tank.
For more home maintenance tips, or to learn more about the community outreach efforts of the Sears American Dream Campaign, log on to www.nw.org/sears
FOR MORE INFORMATION: