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Winter Maintenance Tips for Your New Home

January 5, 2021

Winter is here and it is time to take a look at things you can do to increase the efficiency and durability of your home’s mechanicals.  The National Association of Home Builders has these great ideas to keep your new home running smoothly and keep you warm and cozy this winter.

Air Filters

  • Many types of heating and air conditioning systems contain filters to remove dirt and dust from the air. Check the instruction book or search online by model number: In many cases, the homeowner should change filters at least every three months.

Sinks

  • It’s also a good idea to clean your faucet’s aerator — which is the spring inside the end of the faucet — every three to four months.
  • To maintain your garbage disposal, you should run cold water through it during use.

Garage Floors

  • To maintain unpainted concrete floors in your basement  or garage, first apply a concrete sealer, which makes them easier to clean. When you’re ready to clean them, use a solution of four to six tablespoons of washing soda in a gallon of hot water. Add scouring powder to the solution for tough jobs.
  • The moving parts of garage doors should be oiled every three months.

Brick

  • Masonry walls sometimes develop a white powdery substance. This is called efflorescence, a crystallized soluble salt that can be removed by scrubbing with water and a stiff brush.

Safety and Security

  • If you have a home security system, regularly check the alarm to ensure it is in working order. Inspect the sensors one by one.
  • The batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should also be checked twice a year to ensure they are operable. Hard-wired and battery-powered detectors should be replaced every 10 years.

Roof, Gutters and Downspouts

  • A qualified roofer should inspect your roof every three years.
  • Make sure that gutters and downspouts do not get clogged with leaves or other objects.

Windows and Doors

  • Inspect exterior windows and doors yearly to see if the caulking around them has split and cracked. If so, replace the caulk and  clean any mildew.
  • For a simple solution to wash extremely dirty exterior windows, combine equal parts vinegar and water or three tablespoons of  denatured alcohol per quart of warm water. Use a piece of crumbled newspaper to wash the glass to avoid lint left behind by paper towels.
  • To help a window slide easily, rub the channel with a piece of parafin.

Siding

  • Inspect your siding yearly to determine if the siding on your home needs to be repainted. Trim shrubbery away so that it does not touch the siding.
  • The exterior of your house is built to withstand  exposure to the elements, but a periodic cleaning will improve the appearance and, in many instances, prolong the life of siding and other exterior products.

Faucets, Sinks and Toilets

  • If you have a water leak, the washer in your faucet usually needs to be replaced.
  • For clogged drains, use a plunger and/or a plumber’s snake.
  • To unclog a toilet, use a coil spring-steel auger, which can be found at hardware or home-improvement stores.

Pipes

  • Noisy water pipes should be fixed promptly. The condition that causes noisy pipes may be accompanied by vibration that can cause fittings to loosen and leak.
  • Frozen pipes should be thawed slowly to prevent the formation of steam, which could cause the pipes to burst.


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