Cleaning is a time to tidy up and revitalize your home’s interior. But homeowners have an extra responsibility when it comes to home maintenance. By following a few simple steps this summer, you can help preserve your investment whether you are planning to sell soon or live in your home for years to come.
1) Test and maintain your HVAC system.
Imagine trying to survive a Florida summer with a malfunctioning air conditioning unit. Or even better, don’t try to imagine it. Air conditioning is an essential component of living comfortably in the South. In order to keep your system running well throughout the summer, you will want to have it inspected in the spring.
A thorough maintenance schedule will include an examination of the condenser unit, which is often found outside the home, and the coils, which are inside the house. A qualified HVAC contractor will help maintain your system at peak efficiency. And by having them come out in the spring, you can avoid the rush of summer, when everyone else remembers how much they need a break from the heat.
2) Pay attention to how your water drains.
Water is one of the biggest enemies of a home, especially in the hot, humid weather of South Florida. Improperly draining water can cause a number of significant problems, including:
- Foundation shifts and cracking
- Increased chance of termite invasion
- Mold on the structure and insulation
So pay attention to how well your property drains during summer If you have standing water, especially near the structure, you may need to have the yard regraded or consider installing a French drain or some other system to redirect excess rainfall.
3) Inspect and clean gutters.
Another way to ensure that water is distributed evenly around your home’s foundation is to take a look at the gutters. If they are clogged, water will not be able to flow to the downspouts and will spill over the gutters instead. This is a good time to make sure the gutters have not been damaged by limbs and that they have not pulled away from side of house.
These issues could lead to damp and rotting fascia boards or mildewed siding. And the extra water could also lead to foundation problems. By cleaning your gutters and keeping them in good shape, you can prevent future water damage problems that are expensive to repair.
4) Examine your roof for damage.
While you are focused on the top of your home, you should also pay attention to the roof. This is your first defense against water damage. Actually getting onto the roof can be dangerous, but luckily you can perform an initial inspection from the ground, especially if you have a set of binoculars.
During your inspection, you will want to look for damaged or missing shingles. The harsh, hot summers and strong winds of hurricane season can take their toll on a roof. If you see curling shingles or holes caused by nails popping up, you will want to call a roofer for a more thorough examination. You will also want to inspect the boots covering exhaust pipes, which can deteriorate faster than shingles.
5) Prepare for hurricane season.
The Atlantic hurricane season begins in June, but you can leave yourself plenty of time prepare if you begin in the spring. Check all your high-wind and hurricane resistant hardware like shutters, weather stripping, and bracing.
If you own an older home, you might want to see if it meets modern building codes, which have been updated recently in Florida because of severe storms in the last decades. This would also be a good time to double check your emergency kit to confirm that you are prepared for a storm.
6) Corral trees, plants, and shrubs.
If you have greenery growing near your home, the spring is a good time to make sure it isn’t getting out of hand. While shrubs, trees, and vines can add visual appeal to the outside of your house, it can also cause potential damage like:
- Creating a highway for insects looking to enter your structure.
- Preventing water from running down the side of the exterior.
- Cracking and peeling paint from roots trying to take hold
7) Check and clean exterior walls.
As you check for overgrown plants, you should also pay attention to the condition of your exterior walls, which are most likely coated with stucco. Stucco is very popular in South Florida, because it reduces sound transmission and requires less energy in the summer months to keep the house cool. However, it can be difficult to keep clean, especially if it is lightly colored.
Typically, stucco can be cleaned with a pressure washer and a concentrated cleaning solution, but this is generally a job best left to the professionals. There are several precautions you will want to take before cleaning your exterior walls. For example, you will first want to examine the surfaces for chips or cracks. If you skip this step, mold or mildew can grow within these areas.
Preventative maintenance is not the most exciting part of being a homeowner, but it is an essential part of protecting your home from more serious problems. By following these 7 steps, you can help keep your Florida home healthy and happy.
Marc Jablon, The Jablon Team
New Harbor Realty