We recently read a very helpful article from the New York Times about maintaining your home and thought it would be useful to pass along:
We work on homes of all sizes with sometimes very small renovations all the way to a new home but no matter what the scale of the project, new or old, they all require regular maintenance and care. People sometimes are under the impression that because their house is new, that it doesn't require any maintenance. Old or new, all houses require regular maintenance in order to prevent future and potentially costly repairs.
We won't re-hash all of the great content from the NYT article but we wanted to touch on a few specifics that we often encounter:
Zero Maintenance Cladding?
Another common misconception is that some siding and cladding products like fiber-cement siding from JamesHardie, moulding/trim from Versatex or Azek require zero maintenance. While, these do not require as much maintenance as traditional wood cladding, you still need to make sure it's clean and the caulk is properly adhered. Keep in mind that there are some places, particularly near flashing where caulk is not supposed to be! If you caulk that joint; bad things can happen, so make sure you hire someone that knows what they're doing. It's also important to keep your siding material clean but please DO NOT USE A HIGH PRESSURE POWER WASHER! This can damage the siding material and get water into your house in places that it's not supposed to be. Your home is meant to keep water out from heavy rainfalls that come from the sky but not high pressure water being sprayed perpendicular to the building's surface.
JamesHardie's Maintenance Guide
Keep the Leaves Out and the Mulch Away
An important maintenance item that all homeowners should stay on top of is keeping leaves and debris out of your gutters and window wells. If gutters get clogged, it could damage your eaves and roof as well as potential ice damming problems in the winter. Also, make sure that landscaping beds and mulch aren't up against the exterior cladding and siding material. If it's up too high, it could prematurely damage your cladding material, create mold and worst of all, it could allow to enter your home.
The HVAC (Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning) system in your home is similar to the engine of a car as it requires regular tune-ups. Change your furnace filter on a regular basis. The frequency of how often will depend on your filter and how often you run it but as a rule of thumb, you should plan on replacing them around once a month. Most homeowners handle this themselves. A qualified HVAC contractor should also service and check your furnace, ERV (Energy Recovery Ventilator; this is required on at least one furnace in new homes), humidifier and A/C condenser annually. Schedule it in advance and try to avoid the times where there's a big shift in temperature as most HVAC contractors are busy dealing with emergency problems (for the unfortunate souls that don't get their systems regularly serviced).
Disconnect Your Garden Hose
Most garden hose bibbs (sometimes called a spigot) are "frost free", meaning you don't have to drain the pipe seasonally so they don't freeze. HOWEVER, if you have a hose connected to it and it's full of water, bad things will happen when it freezes. SO, please be sure to disconnect your hose before the frost hits.