Seasonal Guide to Home Maintenance for December 2012

You know that your house needs regular upkeep in order to stay in good condition. Not only can little maintenance issues become expensive and turn into major repairs, but nowadays problems that buyers might have overlooked can be huge liabilities when it comes time to sell.” Good thing that most crucial maintenance tasks can be done just once a year at a certain time.
* Clean the vents behind your dryer in the beginning of winter; you’re drying heavier clothes now, and they generate more lint. Clean vents will help your machine dry clothes more quickly, last longer, and you’ll lower the risk of fires. Hardware stores carry kits that can help.
Cost: $15 to $45.
* Check your furnace filter once a month during the heating season for excess dust; you’ll want to change it once or twice a year so the unit operates more efficiently.
Cost: $8 to $20 each.
* Make sure your sump pump is clean and operating properly before spring rains arrive. Lift the lever on the sump to make the float go up and wait for the motor to click on. If you have a battery backup, unplug the unit and test the pump again.
* House seems cold? Remove and reinstall storm windows to make sure they fit properly.
* Vacuum the refrigerator condenser coils — usually located on the bottom or on the back of the fridge. (Unplug it first, and then use your vacuum’s brush attachment.)
* Use your stuck-indoors time to knock off some annual fire prevention tasks. First, make sure your fire extinguishers haven’t passed their expiration date. Next, replace ground fault outlet circuit interrupters that aren’t working properly (when you hit the “Test” button the “Reset” should pop out; if it doesn’t, you can buy a new one at a hardware store). Cost: less than $20 for a fire extinguisher and $10 to $12 for a circuit interrupter.
* You need to change batteries ($6 for two nine-volt ones) in smoke detectors and carbon-monoxide alarms twice a year. An easy way to remember: Make the first switch on the same day you reset clocks to daylight saving time (March 14 this year), and again in mid-October. At the same time, test your smoke detectors; use a smoke-in-a-can product ($9) or blow out a candle underneath them.
Information by B-Sure home inspections LLC 480-706-6222

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