So you have just bought a new house and you want to make sure that everything is in good working order. While you had an inspection done and that made sure that there were no big problems the inspector doesn’t pay as much attention to the small maintenance items that you as the homeowner should. Maintenance for a new house is fairly easy and it is usually just minor issues that you should take care of before they turn into big problems.
When a homeowner is getting a home ready for sale, they focus more on the appearance than small problems. Most of it is just neglected issues and they get overlooked when the time comes to close. The buyer wants their check and you want to get settled in your new home, the home inspector didn’t find any major issues so the deal went through. Now that you are in your home it is time to do some basic maintenance. Here are a handful of things you should look at first.
- Shoddy Repairs: If you see repairs around your home that don’t quite look right, it’s probably because they were done in a hurry by someone who isn’t really handy. Things like cupboard doors that don’t open or shut properly, running toilets or dripping taps. These are minor issues that you can easily fix yourself. Homeowners are often in a hurry to get their home sold and they do repairs in a hurry, they don’t care if it is fixed properly only that it looks good.
- Change the Filters: Home inspectors will take a look at your HVAC system and make sure that it works, but that’s it. You need to replace the filters at least once a year. In the fall before you turn the heat on for the winter your air filters should be changed. Check them out now regardless of the time of year and replace them if need be. You should actually get an HVAC company in for regular annual maintenance.
- Caulking Around the Bathtub: Old caulking looks terrible and if you have cracks in the caulk or grout you can get water behind the tile and the whole wall can rot. It can cost thousands to fix and replace. This is something you can easily fix for less than $20. Scrape off the old caulking and re-caulk around the tub and you’re done.
- Wood Rot: This should show up on the inspection but take a closer look in the attics, basements and bathrooms for any sign of wood rot.
- Clean Your Rain Gutters: Your rain gutters are there to take the water running off your roof and to keep it away from your home. In the fall the gutters get filled with leaves, branches and debris and that keeps the water pooling around your roof instead of carrying it away. You can end up damaging your roof if you don’t keep your gutters clean.
Buying a new home means that you have taken on the responsibility of everyday maintenance. When you first buy your home don’t forget to make sure everything is in working order before you get caught up in the excitement of the new place.
One of the most destructive forces that can damage your home is water. Aside from the obvious damage you can have after a flood, even the smallest of leaks can wreak havoc on the home. Water damage can rot the wood in your home, attract insects and worst of all, cause mold. Sometimes you don’t even know you have a leak and by the time you find out you already have thousands of dollars of damage. Let’s look at the hidden sources of water damage in your home.
The Obvious Leaks
Some leaks are pretty obvious such as big cracks in your foundation, burst pipes spewing water everywhere or water coming in through the roof or the windows. These are pretty in your face and they are generally an easy fix. But you can have small leaks that you don’t even notice until you inspect your house and go looking for them. Small cracks in your plumbing can drip water in your walls for months before it does enough damage for you to see it. The same holds true with tiny holes in your roof.
One of the most common areas that is prone to leaks and moisture is your basement. This can have a number of causes including fiberglass insulation that traps moisture. You should never insulate basement walls with fiberglass it will absorb the water and not allow the space to properly dry out. You can have a problem with the weeping tiles or poor grading around the foundation. If your basement constantly smells damp and musty then it might be time to see where the moisture is getting in. You’re better off using rigid insulation or ‘blue board’ to help with ventilation.
The attic is another place where you are prone to leaks and trapped moisture. If you live in the northern part of the US and your attic is poorly insulated you can have water backing up and turning into ice dams. Warm air goes from the main part of the home to the attic and it creates humidity, water pools under your roof and that in turn can lead to an attic full of mold. Here are some ways that this can happen more easily.
- The holes that are drilled into the ceiling to run the plumbing and electrical that have not been properly sealed.
- Exhaust fans in the bathroom that blow air directly into the attic.
- The hatch to the attic not sealing properly.
- Pot lights that haven’t been properly installed.
On the other hand if you live in the south where winter isn’t an issue then your air conditioning system can be the cause of moisture buildup in your attic. If you have an air conditioning system that was designed for a bigger house it generates too much humidity. If you’re duct work hasn’t been installed properly you can end up with too much humidity.
Having a moisture problem requires a specialist. You want to make sure that you get the issues addressed before you end up with even bigger problems. Moisture buildup is another reason that you have to do regular inspections on your home paying particular attention to the basements and attics.