The Covid-19 virus has quarantined much of the nation. For some, the quarantine is like being grounded while in high school. For others, my wife for instance, it's a gift. No matter how you mentally handle this time of social distancing, what you do with this time could be an awesome benefit when you get ready to sell your home. There are so many things you can do right now that a busy schedule would not normally allow. I've already talked about getting your house ready to list, but there are other things you can do to your home whether you're ready to sell or you plan to stay there. For instance.
- Clean the dryer vent. When is the last time you took your dryer vent apart and cleaned out the lint that has made its nest in it? You may not be able to clean it out as thoroughly as you'd like, but there are companies that are skilled and have the tools to do it professionally. Also, clean out where the dryer and the vent pipe come together. Vacuum the area just inside of that pipe in your dryer and don't forget to vacuum out the area where the filter is inserted. Most local hardware stores have long brushes that can be used to clean the dryer out. I would encourage you to do that monthly. It is a safety issue that you can address directly. If you are energetic, you can pull your dryer out, tip it over on its side and vacuum out the unit from below. Dust, lint and dirt are any mechanical equipment's worse enemy. Keep it clean and happy.
- What about the water heater? I have heard so many home inspectors state that the water heater's useful life is 12 years. Who says? I changed my last water heater at year 22, and I just replaced one from a rental of mine at year 27. A water heater can live a lot longer with a little annual to bi-annual maintenance. One of the biggest killers of water heaters is water. I bet you didn't see that coming. Water can leave calcium deposits in the bottom of the heater, as well as, on the elements. This one is a little more labor intensive, but it's not hard. This process is simple and effective and it will extend the heater's life. 1. Turn the water heater's electricity off at the breaker box. This is critical for your safety. 2. Before you turn the water off that is feeding the heater, hook a hose to the faucet at the bottom of the heater. Find a safe place for the discharge to pour out. Open that value and see if the water flows out smoothly. If it rushes out, leave it open for about a minute to let the loose sediment that is behind that value to flow out. Close it and turn the water off that is feeding the water heater. 3. When the heater has drained for a while, tap the side and see if you hear a dull hollow sound. Loosen the top element to see if the water has passed that location. If it has, you shouldn't see water gush out, but if hasn't, some water will try to come out around the element as you loosen it. Tighten it back up and wait for a while and repeat. Again, tap on the side of the side of heater to listen for an empty sound. It should sound more like a thud than an empty metal drum. 4. Once the heater has drained down completely, take both elements out and inspect them. A tune-up kit runs around $35 at most big-box hardware stores. It's a good time to change them. Snap a photo of everything before disassembling so you can put it back exactly as you found it. 5. Once the bottom element is out, use a long narrow vacuum wand to pull any sediment that has accumulated in the bottom. Most hardware stores have a wand that fits a shop vacuum. They tend to be 20"-24" long. Get anything that is in the bottom out and then put your elements back in, turn the water on and start filling it back up. Make sure there are no leaks. Once it seems full, put a pan under the line that comes out of the pressure relief valve that is on top of the heater and open the valve briefly. If water flows out, the heater is full. Open a hot water valve at a sink and make sure water is flowing out of it. That is critical. 6. If it's confirmed that the tank is full, turn the electricity on and listen for the water to start heating. In about 20 minutes, turn the hot water on in a sink and see if it's getting warm. If so, you're done.
- Change your smoke detector batteries. That should be done twice a year. Set a schedule and stick with it. If the detectors are more than 5 years old, replace them. If you use the exact same ones, there should be no wiring required. Smoke detectors that both battery operated and hardwired have a plug on the back that can be detached and a new detector attached and connected to the base. The detectors spin off and spin back on when done. Push the test button and if they all ring simultaneously, you're good to go. Easy-peasy.
- Change your furnace filters. Filters do not need to be an expensive heavy Hepa filter to do their job. If a filter is thick enough, it will starve your air handler of much needed air that helps it run smoothly. A less expensive filter that allows it to breath better might be better for the equipment. Change them more often in that case. Keep a chart by the equipment that shows when the last filter was changed. You may want to go a step further and remove the front cover of your air handler (the unit inside the house) and vacuum any dust and dirt out. Again, dust and dirt kill mechanical equipment. If you're adventurous, you can inspect your outside unit and see if it has accumulated leaves and dirt over the seasons. Most big-box hardware stores sell an aerosol that is designed to clean the coils that you can see from outside of the outside unit. The instructions are on the can. Follow them and hose the unit off and you just made it easier for it do it's work.
- One last thing. Vacuum under your stove and refrigerator. If your refrigerator has coils on the back, make sure they are free from dust and dirt. There is a small panel on the back of most refrigerators that will allow you to vacuum around the condenser. That's an important area to keep clean. Your refrigerator will run better when the working components are clean. The same is true of any appliance. You can do the same around the base of the dishwasher. Speaking of dishwashers, look inside periodically to see if the trap that's on the bottom of the inside of the dishwasher has gunk in it. Clean that out and run a load through with a cup of white vinegar in the base. It will clean it and help get rid of any smells. OK, one more one last thing. If you use a toaster, unplug it and shake it over an open trash can periodically. Crumbs will pour out. Some toasters have a tray you can remove to clean it out, but make sure you shake it upside down as well.
Home maintenance isn't always hard, but it can be labor intensive. That is probably why so much of it goes undone. If you are willing to take over some of your home maintenance needs, you can save a lot of money and prolong the life of your equipment. It is easier when you create a schedule that you follow annually. Then, it simple becomes part of home-ownership. If you need further guidance, or if you're ready to sell your "safe, efficient and great home", give Cornerstone a call @ 888-722-6029. We are your local real estate sales pros, and we know stuff.
This post was originally posted at CornerstoneHomeSales.com: Use your quarantine time to make your home safe, efficient and great! #home repairs, #home maintenance, #mikecoopersellshomes.