In some cases, a bit of maintenance can prevent disasters from happening. And if doing a bit of work over time, you could prevent a fire, water damage or major repair, wouldn’t you do it? Because spotting potential issues can save you money and prevent disasters in the long run. In the summer, we shared a few tips for outdoor maintenance. Now, as the weather cools, it’s time to move indoors. These are a few tips that can help you spot problems before it’s too late. They may also save some of your hard-earned money.
Heating and cooling
- Have your HVAC system inspected regularly.
- Remove any obstructions (like furniture) around vents and air returns.
- Keep your heating and cooling system (outside) free from debris.
- Clean and change air filters regularly.
- Set your thermostat to 68-71 degrees for heating. This can save you money over time. You may also want to program the temperature to decrease when you are at work or while you are sleeping. To avoid added stress on the system, don’t change settings too often.
- Don’t plug in too many appliances into any one outlet – this can overload your electrical system.
- Use surge protectors to help protect your valuables – including televisions, computers and gaming systems.
- Unplug items that are not being used. This saves energy and can prevent fires.
- Check your smoke detectors and change batteries twice a year. (And make this a part of your family’s disaster plan.)
- Keep your bathrooms ventilated to prevent moisture that causes mold.
- Check drains for hair or other obstructions and remove if necessary.
- Dry any bathroom moisture regularly – including inside and outside the tub and shower. Wipe down the shower after use and dry any splashes as they happen. This water can cause mold, mildew or wood rot over time.
- Recaulk around tub and shower periodically to prevent moisture from causing damage.
Chimney and fireplace
- Have your fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned annually.
- Before using the fireplace for the first time each year, check for soot build-up, and inspect the fireplace for loose or cracked firebrick.
- Always keep your damper closed when not using your fireplace, to stop heat from escaping up the chimney.
- Do not burn pressure treated wood, scrap lumber, Christmas trees, trash, cardboard or plastic in your fireplace.
The bottom line
Disasters don’t always happen in an instant. And some major issues can be prevented with diligence and routine maintenance.