Water is the arch nemesis of your home! Leaky pipes, leaky roof, and improperly sealed bathtub, shower, toilet, sink, window, door, etc. If water enters the structure where it shouldn't you could be looking at repairs. Water can sneak behind the shower enclosure every time you bathe, and water can sneak into the primary structure if your windows and door trim are not sealed properly. The small pathways for water can also be the worst, because they appear as a minor flaw or blemish on the surface, but can be trapping water in the subsurfaces. Water and wood do not mix and over time water damage can spread and even invite wood destroying organisms to further deteriorate the structure. Proper diligence is key when water intrusion begins.
Caulk provides a smooth, sealed transition between materials and edges. Caulking your sink and toilet may also prevent minor movement of the fixtures, reducing wear and tear on the connecting pipes, as well as preventing water from going where it is not meant to. Caulking around windows and door trim protects the untreated ends of material as well as the wood sheathing behind it. Caulk can be bought at any home imporvement store for a few dollars, and lasts years. Without it, you can be looking at damage in the thousands of dollars requiring professional repairs.
The most frequent thing you will do for your furnace is replace the air filter. Most furnaces have a single filter located just inside of the cold air return register. If you let it go too long you can reduce the efficiency of your furnace and severely reduce the air quality in your house. Your furnace and allergies will thank you! Its also a good idea to have an HVAC company come inspect and test your furnace every year or two. They can repair/replace pieces that may cause damage to the rest of the system.
The average life span of a gas hot water heater is about 10-12 years. This can be extended with the proper maintenance and care. Most water supplies have calcium and other minerals in them which can cause added stress to the system. If you drain the water tank every 1-2 years, you remove some of the sediment that builds up inside, and can maintain good efficiency. Every 5 years you should get the sacrificial anode replaced. This is a rod inside of your tank typically made of magnesium that attracts corrosive elements so the tank will not corrode as quickly.
By now most of us know that we should change the batteries in our smoke detectors every fall. But did you know that Smoke alarms only have a limited lifespan? Even though it may seem like they function when you press the test button, that doesn't guarantee they will help when you need it most. Over time the sensors can lose sensitivity to the trigger elements so experts recommend replacing the entire unit every 10 years.
We all know that curb appeal can add value to a home, but too many plants too close to your home can be detrimental to its health, especially in rainy Western Washington! Most homes have a wood structure, wood sheathing, and many have wood siding. By trimming back the vegetation to allow for a 12" gap between the plants and the home, you will be allowing for airflow to help maintain better moisture levels. When moisture levels get too high, the wood will begin to attract insects that can bring further moisture and structural damage. A little trimming goes a long way!