Once you’ve moved into your house and lived there for a few months, it’s easy to get comfortable. Everything seems fine. But just as it’s a good idea to visit your primary care physician for health checkups, it’s a good idea to have experts check out your house on a regular basis. Doing so may cost money in the short term, but it will save you money in the long term.
Chris Kornman, owner of Entablature, said checking out your HVAC units is a good place to begin. Homeowners should regularly clean the furnace and change out A/C filters. Have professionals inspect the A/C ducts. Most A/C installation companies offer service plans with twice-a-year inspections. Professionals will notice small problems homeowners likely won’t.
“Some people get in the habit of just switching out their filters,” Kornman said.
Kornman recommends changing the batteries on smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors twice a year. An easy way to remember to make the change is when clocks spring forward and fall back. For readers wondering “But won’t the alarms tell me when the batteries are dead?” Kornman points out the detectors’ annoying tendencies to alert people to dead batteries at 2 or 3 a.m. If you change the batteries yourself twice a year, you’ll never have to be annoyed about being awakened in the middle of the night.
Kornman also recommends pressure washing your house once a year. If you do not do this, mildew can accumulate. If that happens, the paint will begin to deteriorate. This leads to rotting siding and more expensive repairs. A check any homeowner can do is examine the caulking around windows and siding. Once the caulking starts to disintegrate, water will get in the home. If that happens, termites will enter the home looking for water. Termites can cause damage to structural wood, as well as inside the walls of a house. A painter can reseal damaged caulk.
“You don’t need to be an expert to see if your caulking’s deteriorating,” Kornman said.
Matt Davis, a realtor and owner of 1% Lists Legacy, said homeowners can hire professionals to do yearly inspections to make sure there’s not termite activity. He also recommended homeowners have a professional inspect the septic tank.
Davis also noted a relatively new maintenance concern for New Orleans homeowners: generator maintenance. The 21st century brought an onslaught of powerful hurricanes, and many homeowners elected to purchase whole-home generators. Get generators professionally inspected twice a year to avoid mechanical issues while your family is riding out a hurricane at home.
Better Homes & Gardens recommends inspecting electrical cords for wear and tear. This help reduce the risk of a potentially devastating electrical fire.
The Los Alamos National Laboratory (lanl.gov) offers these tips for a good electrical inspection. Look at the cord and the plug. See if there are signs of damage like cracks, damaged insulation, loose or missing plug blades, and indications of burning on the plug. Make sure the plug is securely attached to the cable. Also, be on the lookout for wall outlets that are either discolored or hot to the touch.
Speaking of fires, every home should have a fire extinguisher, which typically have a life span of 5 to 15 years. Confires Fire Protection Services’ website (confires.com) says most extinguishers will have a pressure gauge with a red section and a green section. If the needle is in the green, it should be fine.