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Top Ten Most Neglected Home Maintenance Items

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Based on our team’s experience buying and selling houses, we have compiled our list of the TOP 10 most neglected home maintenance items that you need to check off of your list:

Smoke and CO Detectors

We’ve been in a lot of 30-year-old houses with 30-year-old smoke detectors … insert hand slap here!  Smoke and CO Detectors have a lifespan of 10-years at most.  Over time, the sensors will degrade and be less effective, making the device less reliable.  Newer units may come with built-in reminders to replace it, typically with an audible chirp.  If you should have a smoke detector on all levels of the house, within 5-feet of a stairwell and a CO detector outside of all sleeping areas but we’d suggest going one step further by adding smoke detectors in all bedrooms as well and have a CO detector on each level.

Replacing the Furnace Filter

Furnace filters should be changed regularly!  From our discussion with multiple HVAC professionals, the general consensus is to use cheaper filters and replace them monthly.  Many of the high-end filters are filtering way beyond what most of us require (extreme allergies being an exception here) and they also restrict airflow more than cheaper filters, which makes your furnace fan work harder to move air.  If you’re a landlord, consider providing your tenant with filters to encourage proper maintenance or even do the replacement yourself to ensure it’s done properly.

Service Your Furnace and Air Conditioner

Servicing your HVAC equipment annually will not only extend the life and increase the reliability of your furnace and air conditioner, but it will also add value when selling your home –just make sure that your Realtor includes marketing to educate buyers as to how well you’ve cared for the house!

Replace Exterior Caulking

Exterior caulking around windows, doors and penetration points like bathroom and dryer vents, electrical and gas lines, etc, will dry, crack and become less effective with time.  Once a year, walk around the house and see how pliable the caulking is.  If it starts to get hard and you see cracking, it’s time to replace it to ensure you don’t have any surprise water penetration into your house as well as ensuring that you’re keeping all of the hot or cold air inside the house instead of heating/cooling the outdoors.

Remove Lint Before it Catches Fire

Lint is a common cause of house fires.  Replace lint buildup in the dryer’s lint trap, pull the machine away from the wall, disconnect the vent from the back and vacuum everything up.  Finish that up by heading outside and making sure that the exterior vent is clear.

Check Your Attic

Before finding a stain in the ceiling, poke your head into the attic to make sure that everything is in good shape.  Windstorms or companies spraying new insulation into the attic may block soffits, preventing adequate airflow into the attic.  A lack of airflow will cause mould over time.  Pesky rodents looking for a home may consider your attic the perfect location too and look to see if you’re able to confirm that bathroom vents from the level below are venting out the roof properly; over time, ductwork may become loose and fall down, resulting in your humid bathroom venting moisture directly into the attic … another cause of mould.

Prevent Washing Machine Leaks

Did you know that the hose running from the faucet to your washing machine expire?? Basic hoses typically last 5 years, nicer braided lines will last longer and both have expiry dates stamped on them.  The same goes for your dryer if it has a hose connection for a steam function.

Shut Off the Main Water Supply During Your Vacation

Before leaving for your vacation, or even a night away, shut off the main water valve to the house and bleed the lines by opening a few fixtures.  An unexpected leak, while you’re away, could completely ruin your entire house and personal belongings.

Open and Close all Waterline Shutoff Valves Periodically

You should also be opening and closing every water shutoff valve in the house periodically to ensure that they aren’t seized.  A seized valve could result in serious damage when a flood occurs and you’re unable to quickly turn the water off at the fixture.  Every toilet and every faucet in the house will (SHOULD!) have valves connected.  Look in the vanity and behind the toilets to find them, shut them off completely and open it again to ensure it functions properly.

Test your Sump Pump

If your house is equipped with a sump pump, testing it occasionally is important to ensure it’s working when you actually need it. Some houses may be more prone to noticing the pump functioning than others due to grading and water drainage but everybody should test it.  There are typically two ways to test the pump.  One is to lift the float or the arm it’s connected to until the pump turns on; the other method applies to pumps that plug into a secondary plug that controls the pump.  If you see two plugs connected in the socket, remove the secondary plug and insert it directly into the receptacle.

There you have it!  Our TOP TEN most neglected maintenance items summed up.  There are many reasons to take care of these things; from properly maintaining your home to protecting your family and increasing property value, there are plenty of reasons to do it.

To learn more about this and see the more entertaining version of these topics, check out the video of our podcast below.

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The Kormendy Trott Team is an award-winning and top producing team of real estate agents servicing the GTA and surrounding areas.  Originally starting by exclusively selling real estate in Milton, Ontario, the team has grown, expanded and now offer their value-driven and exceptional service to the rest of the GTA.  From Sonos speakers and Arlo video cameras to in-home print marketing, your home will shine among the competition.  Learn more about them on social and email us to chat about your plans to move at info@kormendytrott.com

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