8 Ways to Avoid Home Disasters

Want a little excitement in your life? How about a rainstorm pouring into the attic because of an unpatched hole in the roof... smoke filling the house becaue the chimney isn’t drawing... an air conditioner conking out mid-heat wave because you haven’t done the maintenance. The alternative is spending a little time on the boring tasks of home maintenance. Here’s a list of what you should do and when to do it, perfect for printing out and hanging on the fridge.

EVERY SPRING
Heating: The boiler of your gas or oil furnace ought to be inspected annually -- either in the early fall or the late spring. The expert you call in should do a carbon dioxide test, a draft test (to make sure you aren’t losing too much heat up the chimney) and a smoke test (to see if your fuel is burning cleanly.)

Well water: Check the water quality (if you have well water). Call your local public health office if you don’t know how to do this.

Yard: In addition to the gardening chores, there are other spring tasks. Oil snow-removal equipment before putting it away. Clean and spruce up the patio furniture and the play equipment.

Air conditioning units: Clean or replace the filters in the room air-conditioners. Vacuum and reinstall units. Schedule a tune-up for the central air conditioner.

Miscellaneous: While you’re in maintenance mode, check the fire extinguisher, test the batteries in your smoke alarm, and turn the mattresses.

EVERY SPRING AND FALL
Roof checks: Inspect to see if repair or replacement of shingles or flashing is necessary or if blacktop needs repair. Inspect gutters and remove dead leaves and/or branches. Check mountings of the TV antenna or dish. Check the attic for signs of water leaks.

Wall checks: Nail down loose boards or shingles. Brush away any flaking paint and do touchups where necessary. Check the chimney, siding, basement, walks and driveway and repair any hairline cracks in masonry. Check to see if bricks need repointing (replacement of mortar between the bricks).

Windows and doors: Replace loose putty in wood frames; paint them as needed. Remove the storm windows and patch the screens.

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