Story by Amber Tyner
Tazie Ostervold was accustomed to being active, until about three years ago when health issues got in the way.
Taking care of a house can be an overwhelming endeavor. You must sweep the floors, clean the kitchen sink and dust the mantle, only to repeat the same activities a few days later. It’s easy enough to create a checklist for these mandatory chores, but homeowners often leave off some of the most important tasks when it comes to home maintenance. Check out these four tips from experts in North Georgia to see what might be missing from yours.
Inspect Your Water Management System
To prevent water damage, it’s critical to regularly inspect your home’s water management system. Darby Jordan, customer care manager at Gutterglove South and Home Renovations, emphasized the importance of having effective gutters.
“Say you have a house that has three bathrooms,” she said. “Could you live without one bathroom? You could, because you have two others. But the two things you cannot live without on your home is a roof and a foundation, and the only thing that protects both of those things are gutters.”
She said there are certain signs that indicate your system is failing, including “tiger stripes.”
“You’ll start seeing dark stripes that are running down your gutters,” she said. “Those dark stripes are generally coming from spillover where the gutter is connected to the house. If you have tiger stripes on your gutters, then they are either clogged, they are pitched incorrectly or it’s just time to replace them.”
She said gutter systems should be checked four times a year, but warned to pick a reputable company for any repairs.
“Consumer Reports suggests that your gutters are actually cleaned four times a year—once per quarter,” she said. “A lot of people try to go with a less expensive cleaning company that isn’t licensed or insured. If the roof is a very high roof—a two-story, a three-story—those people can actually climb the ladder, say they did and within two weeks you’re seeing that you still are spilling over the top.”
Flush Your Water Heater
Another critical but often overlooked feature of a house is the water heater.
“Typically the homeowners don’t even think about their water heater until they don’t have hot water,” said Mike Herrington, vice president of operations at Gainesville Mechanical.
While it’s easy to forget, he said people need to flush the appliance at least once per year to prolong its life.
“We recommend an annual flush because when you heat water up in a vessel like that, you get mineral deposits,” he said, mentioning the heaters can last for about a decade. “A water heater should be changed every ten years. Some people leave them in twenty, but if you’ve got fifty gallons of water, you would hate for that thing to rupture.”
Set Up a Maintenance Plan with Your HVAC Provider
Just like the water heater, your home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit needs to be checked on a regular basis.
They should set up a maintenance plan with their service provider, whoever they use for their HVAC needs,” Herrington said. “The equipment has parts and components that wear out that need to be replaced, and it needs to be cleaned twice a year.” He said HVAC units typically last about 15 years. “We see some that after eight years have to be replaced, and we’ve replaced some that were 25 or 30 years old,” he said. “Again, it goes back to if you keep it maintained.”
He also stressed the importance of replacing air filters. “If you have just a standard one-inch filter, you’re going to check that monthly,” he said. “Nowadays, we install a lot of four- or five-inch filters that could last up to six months.”
Properly Service Your Lawn
Although it might not be on the top of your chore list, keeping your home’s lawn in shape is an important part of home maintenance, too. Tabitha Coker, director of sales and marketing at King Green, said homeowners should always mow and water their yard regularly. “Sodded lawns that are growing through the spring and the summer, you want to make sure you’re mowing at least once a week,” she said. “Five days apart would be best.”
But Coker said to never mow off more than one-third of the blade at a time. “If your grass is really tall, make sure you take it down slowly,” she said. “Take it down over a couple of days. ”She said watering the turf correctly will also make your lawn look its best. “You don’t ever want to water during the heat of the day,” she said. “Make sure you’re watering early in the morning or late in the evening. And make sure that your lawn gets a good soaking. Watering less often but for longer periods so that the lawn is soaked is more efficient.”
For more tips like the ones above, plan to visit the North Georgia Home Show Friday, Oct. 25, through Sunday, Oct. 27, at Lanier Technical College. Vendors from the local area will be available to offer information about home maintenance, decor and industry trends. Visit www.northgeorgiahomeshow.com for more information.