May 2000 Edition

Maintaining Your Home

Years ago you gave us a list of things to look at to properly maintain our home. We cannot find the list and would like to know if you could reprint it?
Proper maintenance is very important in order to protect your investment. We too often see homes deteriorating because of the lack of maintenance. Small maintenance items can turn into very large repair bills. The following list should give you an idea of what to look for. Each house is different, so add to this list as needed.
 ROOFING
Look for broken and missing roof shingles. If shingles are swelling and delaminating, replacement may be needed. Roof shingles normally last approximately 15 years.
Check shingles for nail holes. Seal any hole found with a sealant designed for roof shingles.
Check for tree limbs rubbing against the shingles. Remove any limb within 3 feet of the roof.
Make sure roof shingles extend all the way into the gutters and water is not running behind the gutters onto the fascia boards.
Check all vents, flue pipes, skylights and chimney flashings for possible deterioration. Look on the inside of the attic on the rook decking for signs of water stains.
Check gutters for proper slope to prevent standing water. Clean gutters and downspouts twice a year. This is the number one source of basement water problems.
EXTERIOR
Brick and Stone: Look for settlement cracks, loose mortar and loose bricks or stones.
Stucco: Look for movement cracks, cracks between the stucco and wood trim, flaking and loose areas.
Synthetic Stucco: Recommend a professional inspection. Call GAHI at 770-989-2524 for a list of EIFS inspectors.
Wood or Composition Siding: Look for open end and butt joints, open nail holes and separation along the bottom lip. Paint hard board or oriented strand board siding every four years.
Vinyl Siding: Look for holes in the siding.
Wood Trim: Look for peeling paint, wood decay and open joints. Caulk and paint as needed.
Make sure siding or stucco does not extend below grade.
DOORS AND WINDOWS
Check the condition of the caulking and paint.
Check trim and sills for wood decay.
Look for loose or missing window pane glazing.
Check the weather-stripping on all doors.
Make sure all windows open easily and are not painted shut.
FOUNDATIONS
Look for settlement cracks in the walls, porches and steps.
Make sure all grading slopes away from the structure.
Make sure all downspout water runs away from the structure.
 DECKS
Check the base of the support post for decay.
Make sure all floor joist are supported by either joist hangers or ledger strips.
Check the flashing between the house and the deck. If none is present, look for decay behind the deck.
Make sure the deck is thru-bolted to the house structure with a minimum of 1/2" diameter bolts every 48 inches.
If you have small children, be sure all railing will not permit a 4" ball to pass thru any openings in the rails.
Make sure all stairs are firmly attached and there are not any loose steps.
Look for wood decay on all deck members.
ATTICS
Keep all vents open both winter and summer.
Look for water stains on any of the framing and insulation.
Look for broken or split rafters and braces.
Check the fiberglass insulation. The current requirement is R-30 which is approximately 12 1/2" deep.
Do not store anything on top of the insulation. Compressing the insulation reduces the efficiency.
 BASEMENTS
Check all foundation walls for water leaks during hard rains.
Check foundation walls for cracks. Contact a professional if cracks are 1/4" or wider.
 INTERIOR
Check all ceilings for water stains (clear brown stains).
Clean fireplace chimneys.
Test and change batteries on the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
Install a carbon monoxide detector if you do not have one.
Check the pressure on all fire extinguishers. Be sure you have one on each floor, kitchen and garage.
Check garage door opener safety reverses.
Test your door bell.
Clean your refrigerator coils.
Purchase a rope ladder for the second story.
ELECTRICAL
Test all GFCI electrical outlets. Recommend installing at all wet or damp locations.
Trip all electrical panel breakers.
Label the electrical panel circuit breakers.
If a panel breaker trips consistently, call an electrician.
 PLUMBING
Test your main water shut-off valve.
Test your water heater T&P valve.
Check all plumbing fixtures and sink drains for leaks. Repair any drip or leak.
Check your gas meter shut off valve for leaks.
Drain all exterior water faucets (hose bibbs) in the winter.
Service all septic tanks every seven years.
HEATING & AIR CONDITIONING
Change or cleans all filters when dirty.
Clean and service all humidifiers.
Service all furnaces each spring and fall.
Furnaces over 15 years old should have the heat exchangers inspected each year.
Clean all shrubbery away from the condensers.

If you have a question, change of address, comment, home tip or would like to send Home Tips to your clients, send your letter to Home Tips, Christian Building Inspectors, Inc., 1003 Star Court, Norcross, Georgia 30093. You can E-Mail your questions to us at rodharrison@christianbuildinginspectors.com. We reserve the right to edit questions for length. 


Quote Of The Month

"Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down"

- Oprah Winfrey 


A Tip Of The Hat To:

Kirby Douglas

Prudential Atlanta Realty

4390 Pleasant Hill Road

Duluth, Georgia 30096