plan your home's annual maintenance
Maintaining a home can seem like a daunting – or tedious – task. In fact, how many of us, given the option, would volunteer to spend every Sunday cleaning our rain gutters? However, maintenance can be an ally in saving future home costs. Good planning thus helps save on breakdowns and repairs. In this article we help you plan your home’s annual maintenance.
Start outside by clearing dead leaves, disposing of them in flowerbeds or composting. A thin layer of dead leaves will protect plants from drought and keep weeds at bay. Turn the automatic watering back on warmer days, checking for damage or leaks. Keep the grass short. On the other hand, if you intend to hire a gardening service, now is the best time to do it. Inspect trees, checking for signs of disease and cutting off dead branches.
Exterior painting more than just giving colour to your house, protects the walls from water, fungus and humidity. Look for fissures or cracks or signs that the paint is “peeling”. You may need a touch-up or a new coat of paint.
If you plan to hire a professional, schedule the work in the spring for it to be done by the end of summer.
Check that the roof is in good condition. Take the opportunity to do roof/roof repairs or replacements during the dry periods of the year.
Wash down your house. With a compressor or a hose, clean the outside of windows or shutters, as well as floors or walls with moss or fungus.
If you have a pool, it’s time to open it up again for the summer. Treat the water, check or change valves and filters, and inspect all equipment. If the water is green, it is recommended to hire a professional maintenance service.
For homes with air conditioning, contact a technician to schedule a check-up and maintenance of the system. A technician should check the ducts for signs of damage, and clean and repair the air conditioner. He or she should also clean the ventilation ducts in the bathroom.
If you have a central heating system, empty it to clear it of sediment buildup.
Have solar water heating panels serviced as the time of year when they will be needed most is approaching.
Have your plumbing checked, checking under sinks to make sure there are no signs of leaks. Also look at your ceilings for water stains – a sign of dampness or possible leakage. Check your taps and toilet flushes for drips.
Even if you don’t use your fireplace regularly, your chimney still needs a regular check-up. A chimney carries dangerous gases from your fireplace, wood cooker or furnace out of your home, helping to keep the air inside your home breathable. Your chimney should be inspected annually, and cleaned periodically.
This is the time of year when we can relax and enjoy our holidays, as the bulk of the maintenance is done in the spring. However there are always tasks that should be done.
Check that the irrigation is working, and that the yard is in good condition. Keep the pool clean, and the chlorine and pH levels normal.
Watch for insects and weeds.
Consider remodeling or redecorating projects.
If you have a fireplace, order firewood and store it in a dry place protected from rain. If you have a diesel boiler, order fuel, or take advantage of reduced prices.
When the first leaves start to fall, and the weather cools down, it’s time to prepare the house for winter.
Clean out old leaves as well as gutters and downspouts to avoid flooding with the first rains.
Turn off the automatic irrigation and prepare the pool for hibernation. It’s convenient to cover and add proper products so that the water stays in good condition throughout the winter.
Check that your central heating system and boiler are working, thus avoiding maintenance during winter, which is more uncomfortable, expensive and difficult to schedule.
Check that windows and doors are tuned up. This is the main means of cold entering your home.
Test fire alarms, as it is in winter that most house fires happen.
Winter in Portugal is not very harsh. So, take advantage of the sunnier days to air out the house, or for small jobs and projects outside.