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The great thing about a new house or an addition or renovation to your
house is that everything is, well, new. Nothing is scratched, stained, or
worn out. It's wonderful: Everything works!
But, as any homeowner knows, the rigors of day-to-day living can cause
that blissful new-ness feeling to fade. It's an inevitable process, but one
that can be stemmed or slowed with proper maintenance of key systems
Once the construction is completed you the homeowner become
responsible for maintenance of the entire structure and all its systems.
Typically, professional builders will ease that transition with a warranty,
but ultimately the baton is passed to the homeowners to protect their
investment, enjoy the comforts, and maintain (or increase) the value of
their new home.
The thought of staying on top of everything in a home can seem
daunting, but really, it comes down to common sense, some diligence,
and a short list of critical products and systems, including:
• Heating and cooling. It's a simple thing everyone has heard
before. Changing the furnace filter every three months goes a
long way toward maintaining the proper operation of a home's
entire air distribution system. A clean filter keeps dust, moisture,
and other allergens out of the ductwork to help ensure fresh and
healthy indoor air. Clean filters and ducts also put an easier load
on the furnace, prolonging its life, and allow it to use less energy.
Beyond that, homeowners should have the ducts and carpets
professionally cleaned every 2-3 years.
• Drainage. Rain and other sources of water, must be directed
away from the home to maintain the structural integrity of the
foundation. To preserve the drainage and watershed design of a
house, gutters should be inspected, and when necessary,
cleaned and repaired in the fall and early spring. Downspouts
should have extensions or splash blocks to direct or disperse
runoff away from the house, if they are not already installed. As
new landscaping is added, the dirt against the house (called
"backfill") must be checked again to be sure that it continues to
slope away from the structure. Plantings should be set at least 18
inches away from the foundation, as well.
• Roofing and siding. A new home's exterior finishes -- mainly roofing and siding materials are designed to last for at least 20
years and usually longer. That being said, any cracks, voids, or
other damage to these finishes can lead to leaks and related
moisture problems. Visually inspect the roof and sidewalls of the
house at least annually for the first five years of ownership, and
then semi-annually after that. And, of course, make any repairs
The effort and consistency you put into maintaining your home will pay
dividends for you and your family in the future. Following these basic
maintenance tasks are key components in retaining your homes new look
and feel, while protecting the value of your investment.
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