Modern homes don’t require much maintenance but they do require SOME. Are you keeping up?
Test your smoke detectors and gfi outlets on a regular basis (push the “test” button). These items DO fail and when they do, they don’t wave a red flag in front of you to tell you they’re not protecting you as they should.
Get a termite inspection every year or two. These are FREE. Call any Pest Control company in the Yellow Pages and you’ll see “Free Termite Inspection” in the ad. As you home ages it becomes more and more prone to getting these destructive insects. If you’re told you have them, ask to see them. Some technicians are overly zealous and want to treat your house even if termites are found only in landscape timbers, driveway expansion joints, the fence or scrap wood laying around the home. Don’t fall for that…
Don’t forget to pump out your septic system every 3-5 years (depending on how many people are in your home). A tank full of sludge will ruin your drain field which is very expensive to replace ! BTW, don’t add anything extra to your system like yeast or Rid-X type products, they are unnecessary. If you have one of the newer aerobic systems, check the chlorine tablets quarterly (do NOT use pool chlorine tabs, it’s not the same type). If your system runs out of chlorine, the liquid it sprays onto your lawn is laden with disease producing fecal bacteria !
If you’re on a septic you also may be on a WELL. Don’t forget to check your well water every couple years for the presence of coliforms. Bring in a small sample of your water to the State Health Dept. lab at 1100 W. 49th st. in Austin within 30 hours of you taking it. (they also give out free sample bottles.) Test is about $30.
Don’t ignore rot on your home. It only grows with time and becomes more and more expensive to repair. (ps: there’s always more than you can see). And if your gutters are full, clean them out (screens on top REALLY help).
Take your solar screens off during the Winter. Just as the sun is your enemy in the Summer, it’s your friend in the Winter. This can really reduce your heating bills. I’ve permanently removed the solars on the North side of my house to make that part of my house brighter all year round.
Don’t ignore your a/c system. Just because it’s keeping you cool doesn’t mean it’s operating at peak efficiency. The outside unit often becomes clogged with dust making it run hotter and use more electricity. Ruud, Rheem and Trane units are famous for this. Most people are completely clueless when it comes to keeping their filter clean (and they wonder why their bills are so high).
If you’re using one of those “allergy” or electrostatic filters, throw it away, it’s doubling your electric bill (it severely restricts the airflow thru the equipment causing it to run twice as long as it should). Use a free standing HEPA filtration system instead. If you have severe allergies. For your central HVAC we recommend the wavy, pleated paper type filters. They maximize airflow AND filtration + they last 3 months on average.