5 Tips to Avoiding Homeowner Headaches

Author: Deborah Mulford | May 17, 2017
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Keep Your Home in Top Shape with These 5 Maintenance Tips

I’ve recently experienced several home maintenance issues and want to share some precautions that could save you some money and headaches.  Following are the lessons I learned:

1. Check your pipes during the winter to avoid frozen water lines

I discovered that my main water shutoff for the house, located in the basement, was frozen. Should the need arise to shut off the water for the whole house, I would therefore have to call the City to turn it off at the street. I hired a plumber to replace the shutoff valve and he told me to turn the water off and on at least once a year to keep the valve from “freezing” up. 

2. Clean your drains

My floor drain in the basement backed up with water. Fortunately it was “clean” water, not sewage. The plumber told me several things that can contribute to this problem:  When located near the washing machine, the force of the water elimination cycle of newer machines, combined with the proximity to the drain, can cause water to come up from the drain. He also suggested a monthly enzyme drain treatment (NOT the same as septic system treatments) in the kitchen sink, which also feeds into the basement drain. He added, “use the garbage disposal as little as possible. Pasta, rice and even bits of lettuce can attract more food and grease to gradually build up and clog the drain.” I knew not to put grease or potato peels down the disposal, but after his advice I have changed my habits.

3. Replace your washing machine hoses

Did you know that you should replace your washing machine hoses once every 5 years? I learned that lesson after my hose broke under pressure and flooded the basement. That was another house, but I haven’t forgotten the advice.

4. Remove standing water from decks

Last spring I had a new deck built. The old one had damage from carpenter ants. I had neglected to notice the fine, sawdust-like collection of wood bits. The new deck has rail supports that do not collect water. Wet wood is a huge attraction for carpenter ants. Take the time to remove any extra wood away from your home and look for evidence of wood-eating pests this spring as it warms up. Good advice for keeping termites away, too!

5. Close all openings

I was hearing little critters of some sort in the attic and discovered that the screen on the roof end gables was torn and allowing access to the attic. A few minutes of repair from my trusted handyman and some pest control took care of the problem. Don’t forget to look UP when looking around the house.

I’m happy to suggest local businesses to help with any of your home care needs.