Six Easy Winter Home Maintenance Tips!

Well it’s November in San Antonio, TX and the rainy weather is upon us. As a professional home inspector I like to offer some basic maintenance tips that will help you get through winter with ease.
Tip #1: Window maintenance
Wood Windows:  Older wood sash windows may need  prep and paint of the mutton’s and rails. Windowsills  and stucco molding may also require prep, paint and caulking. Some wood windows will require new glazing compound for single glazed windows. This will help prolong the life and the originality of the window. This will also prevent water intrusion around the window.

Aluminum Windows: These Windows also require maintenance. Cleaning of the lower window channel to allow water to drain freely from the window frame will prevent water intrusion at frame corners. At times it’s necessary to re-caulk  the inner corner of the aluminum frame. If you’re noticing blistering of the plaster or drywall at the corners of your aluminum windows it’s probably time to perform some general maintenance.

Vinyl windows: Vinyl windows are are great and are known for being very low maintenance. However if you have vinyl retrofit Windows more than likely they were installed and caulked in place. It is important that the caulking be visually inspected and replaced as needed.

Tip #2: Hot Water Heater
November is a great time to flush your hot water tanks. This will reduce any sediment buildup at the bottom of the tank and allow the burner to work more efficiently.

Tip #3: Furnace and Filters
If you have an older floor furnace installed. Now would be a good time to vacuum any debris that may have fallen to the floor grill. If you have a forced air unit now’s a good time to replace the air filter and dust the interior of the unit. We recommend that you unplug the unit prior to doing any dusting.

Tip #4: Fireplaces and chimneys
Homeowners should conduct a visual inspection of the fireplace and chimney  prior to putting them into winter service. Cleaning out the ash pit along with inspecting  the firebox and brick for signs of cracking or damage. The storm cap and spark arrestor at the top the chimney should be inspected to ensure that they are installed properly and in good condition. Log lighter’s  and gas valves should also be tested for gas leaks. We recommend that a professional chimney inspection be done every 2 to 3 years to ensure that these items are in good working order. It’s always best to bring in a professional to make recommendations and evaluations if you don’t feel comfortable or confident to conduct this type of inspection. We do not advocate that  homeowners climb on roofs or using tall ladders unless they have been properly trained to do so.

Tip #5: Roof and gutter maintenance.
Now is a great time to make sure your rain gutters and downspouts are not clogged. Make sure that your downspouts are extended 3 feet from the homes foundation, take a moment and observe your roof valleys and flashing’s. Consult a roofing contractor if cleaning or maintenance is necessary

Tip#6: Smoke detectors
This is also a good time to change any smoke detector batteries and retest smoke detectors for proper operation.