Your home is one of your most valuable assets. To preserve your estate value, you need to be pro-active with home care maintenance. Below are 14 tips for preserving the interior of your home and its operating systems.
- Bi-Annual Cleaning: Deep cleaning your home every six months is a good practice. Clean the things that you normally ignore. Your list should include window coverings (dry clean curtains and clean blinds, shades or silhouettes), windows & screens, de-clutter all drawers and closets, organize the garage, clean the stove top/oven/fridge, evaluate if counter tops need to be resealed, dust baseboards/doors/ceiling fans & blades, chandeliers and light fixtures. Clean under the beds, and move all furniture so you can vacuum or scrub the floors and corners and get rid of spiderwebs!
- Plumbing: Every month check all faucets, showers, toilets, sinks and pipes for leaks. Correct all leaky issues immediately. Each year review the Monterey Peninsula Water Management district website, and make sure all your fixtures are compliant with current laws. A new requirement effective January 1, 2017 requires that all toilets must be 1.28 GPF.
- Flooring: Carpets should be professionally cleaned every 6 months to help keep carpet fibers in good condition. Heavy traffic areas may require more frequent cleaning. Hardwood floor maintenance depends on the specific manufacturer’s guidelines. Older hardwood flooring may require a refinish every 5-10 years. Tile floors typically need a deep steam clean every few years, depending on traffic patterns, with special attention to the grout, and then reseal. PS, if selling your home, nothing is more of a turn off to a prospective buyer, than dirty grout!
- Painting: Once a year, check the interior of your home for scuff marks, water intrusion bubbles, settling cracks, and faded paint. If your color theme is dated, consider updating to a fresh new, perhaps even trendy color. It is surprising how a simple thing like fresh paint can change the perspective of home value.
- Bathrooms: Annual caulking of tubs, showers, toilets, and sinks will prevent water intrusion. Check that all towel bars are stable. Look for mold or water intrusion and correct any issues. Remove showerheads and soak in a solution of CLR to remove sediment buildup.
- Kitchen: Clean kitchen sink disposal. There are a bunch of ways to do this, but the handiest all-around solution I have found is vinegar ice cubes. Put some vinegar in an ice tray and let it freeze, then run the ice cubes through the disposal. It freshens it, but as a bonus, ice sharpens the blades. Clean range hood filters. If you’ve never thought of doing this, you’re in for a real “treat” when you get that filter off the hood to clean it for the first time. Simply use a degreaser from an auto parts store mixed with hot water. Let the filter sit for a few minutes, rinse it off, and you’re good to go. Vacuum your refrigerator coils. The fridge can use up to 15 percent of your home’s total power. Cleaning will keep the system running efficiently. Check all fire extinguishers to make sure they are in working order and that the window shows a green color, not yellow or red! Those indicate that the extinguisher may not work when you need it.
- Technology: Nowadays everything is SMART! Consider upgrading your security system to cameras that can be monitored by your computer or cell phone. Upgrading your security system will increase your home’s value, and protect your assets.
- Test smoke/carbon monoxide detectors: Your detectors should have a “test” button. If the alarm sounds, you’re good to go. If not, replace batteries immediately and test again. If it still doesn’t sound, there could be corrosion on the battery terminals, and they won’t detect new batteries. Clean the terminals and try again. If it still doesn’t work, you’ll likely need a new detector.
- Test garage door auto-reverse feature: In 1993, federal law required all garage doors to have auto reverse after multiple child deaths. Test every month by placing a 2×4 on the ground where the door would close. It should reverse after a second or so when the door hits the wood. Also test the photo-electric sensors (if you have them) by placing a piece of tape over the small sensor window. If the door doesn’t immediately go back up, you have a problem.
- Water Heater: Test your water heater’s pressure relief valve. This will prevent mineral and corrosion buildup, which safeguards against leaks. It will also help your heater run more efficiently.
- Chimney/Fireplace: Wood-burning chimneys with heavy usage should be cleaned every year by a qualified chimney sweep. Gas fireplaces should be checked by a professional every 2-3 years.
- Electrical: Having an assessment by a licensed electrician can save your life, and your home, from electrical fires. Make sure the breakers in your main panel are all functioning properly. Check that all outlets work, and test your GFI outlets by making sure they pop when you push the “test” button, and come back on when you push the “reset” button.
- Laundry Room: Check and clean dryer filter every time you use the machine, and hire a professional to clean the vent pipe to the exterior of your home every 3 years, at least. Did you know one of the most famous homes in Carmel burned to the ground after dryer lint sparked a fire? While the dryer is running, check that the exhaust is blowing out. It should smell nicely of fresh laundry. Check hoses to the dryer and washing machine, to ensure they are in good condition, and that hoses are not cracked or leaking.
- HVAC Systems: Change filters every 3-6 months, and have the system professionally inspected every few years.
Annual maintenance is NOT considered updating or remodeling. It’s easy to confuse the term ‘Update’ with ‘Upgrade’. Updating the home means keeping your home cosmetically relevant. Sometimes this requires changing out a couple of light fixtures, fresh paint, and maybe installing new flooring. Be creative and don’t forget to add touches of your personality to your home. As always, it is my pleasure to share my wealth of knowledge with you. If you have any questions, concerns, or feedback, please consult moi, your local real estate expert, Nicole Truszkowski.