Tips for Keeping Your Home in Tip Top Shape
LESLIE: Greg from Iowa is on the line – is looking for some home maintenance tips. How can we help you?
GREG: I bought my new house, new construction, eight years ago and – I’ll be honest, kind of embarrassing but I’ve really done zero home maintenance since. Other than changing the air filters every once in a while, I’ve done zero home maintenance thing.
TOM: Well, that’s why you bought a new house.
GREG: Yeah, exactly.
TOM: But alas, it’s time to take on a few projects, huh? What’s going on in the house now?
GREG: No, there’s nothing wrong. It was just more of general maintenance that needs to happen and I just don’t know what to do.
TOM: So, general maintenance – so, first of all, when it gets chilly like it is now, it’s time for you to do some heating-system maintenance. Now, what kind of fuel do you have? Do you have gas – natural gas?
TOM: So it’s important to have your heating system serviced. You apparently have not done that for eight years; you’re well overdue. The reason for that is even though when you turn the heat on, it comes on and provides heat to your house, it could be doing so inefficiently or at worst, it could be doing so dangerously. So, every fall, you need to have your heating system cleaned and serviced to make sure it’s running properly. And then in the summer, you’ll have your air-conditioning system serviced for the same reasons: not so much the danger but more importantly the efficiency. So, those are two things you should be doing right now.
And when your HVAC technician comes, he’ll probably also take a look at the water heater because sometimes, the burners can get coated with rust. Because natural gas is very corrosive when it burns. So that’s the kind of thing that you probably need to do right away.
The other maintenance tasks are really going to depend on kind of what’s going in the house. If you’ve got a toilet that leaks or runs all the time, then you could need fill or flush valves. If you’ve got paint that’s cracking or peeling, you could need paint. But the mechanical maintenance, I think, is most important because that’s potentially dangerous. Does that make sense?
GREG: It does.
TOM: Now, are you seeing anything that you think needs attention?
GREG: No, nothing much. It’s just then – I think we’ve had a pretty lucky eight years and there’s been no crises at all, so …
LESLIE: You’d better be knocking on a piece of wood right now.
GREG: Right. It’s about time to get it maintained, I suppose. Get some maintenance done to the HVAC, yes?
LESLIE: Yeah. And you know what’s something you probably don’t consider is your dryer vent. You know the exhaust duct behind your dryer that exits the outside of your house? A lot of people don’t think to clean that because lint does go out there and then gets to the outside. And it can get stuck and it can get caught and you should be cleaning that at least once a year, probably twice a year.
GREG: Do I have to pull out the dryer to do that?
LESLIE: Yes. You pull the dryer away from the wall. There’s a product called – it’s a – Gardus LintEater is one of the ones that we’ve used, Tom and I. And you actually put it through the exit vent on the exterior of the house and you sort of twist it through with a drill-driver motor. But you have to be very careful and there’s a certain direction you have to put it in. But it goes through and the amount of stuff that comes out – I mean it’s – you’ve never seen so much junk.
GREG: Well, indeed. Well, thanks a lot for the tips. Anything else that comes up? Anything else you can think of, that is, or are those the biggies?
TOM: Ah, there’s so much to be done. I think you just need to be aware. But take care of those mechanical things because that’s where you can get yourself in trouble, OK?
GREG: Alright. Thanks a lot.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.