Spring Time and Home Maintenance…Yes, It is Important


For many parts of the country, this has been a rough winter. Seemingly endless storms have marched across the country with rain, snow, and wind pounding everything in sight. Texans won’t likely forget their time in the deep freeze. Blizzards continued to barrel across the mid-Atlantic every few weeks. Didn’t Denver pick up 27″ just a few weeks ago? Friends in Prescott, AZ were digging out of over two feet of snow a month or so ago. Tornados tore through the deep south just a week ago.

so, it is with more than a little relief we can begin to turn our sights toward spring which officially began 10 days ago.  Even with the strong likelihood of more nasty weather before us, at least there is hope. Couple the slow warmups with Covid vaccinations becoming more available and a time of growth and renewal is before us.

Of course, that also means the home repair and maintenance season. After being cooped up for so long, we probably have a better appreciation for the blessing of a place we can feel safe and warm (sorry, Texas). It only makes sense to protect our home, maybe even more so this year.

I have received several requests for a post on this subject. If you knew how inept I am with most home fix-ups, you might have not asked. I can present some thoughts from someone who once tried to install a new door handle upside down and a bathroom faucet repair that left an inch of water on the floor.

If you are more of an expert and think nothing of re-roofing your home on a Saturday afternoon,  I am hoping you will add your advice and opinions, too.

There are some basics I do on a regular basis:

*Drain the water heater twice a year. Phoenix has very hard water and the minerals will kill a water heater before its time if not flushed out. At the same time I test the pressure release valve.

*Have AC Heat Pump checked every 12 months. In fact, the technician was here just a few weeks ago to clean the outside coil, replace a dangerous motor capacitor, and check my split (sounds painful, but it is important!)

*Change the house filter every 3 months. A cheap way to keep that expensive heat pump operating at peak efficiency. A real expert told me there is no reason to buy the really expensive filters. If you are good at putting in new ones four times a year, the cheaper filters will be just fine. The only exception is if you have really bad seasonal allergies or a super-dusty environment. Then, get filters that can catch the smallest particles. 

*Check all sprinkler and drip heads twice a month. It is not uncommon for our lawn service to damage a sprinkler head or cut an irrigation line a few times a year. I just had a fellow install several new sprinkler heads and extend the lines as needed. There were spots on the lawn that are always dead-looking due to underwatering. Now, problem solved.

Look at roof condition once each spring. A new tile roof is around $12,000. It will be needed at some point, but for now, I am content to have loose tiles repaired. 

*Re-caulk around windows as needed. Our windows are old, not-very-efficient double pane windows and are prone to leak around the frames. I do what I can to cut down on loss.

* Have chimney and flue inspected and cleaned every three years. We don’t have a fireplace in this house, but if you do, this is a vital safety step. As a country, we average 25,000 chimney fires a year. Not good.

Look for termite trails on the foundation, garage, and patio at least yearly. Arizona has a big termite problem. We have a bait system, but those little devils continue to hit the traps and may find a way around my defenses.

*Lube garage door twice a year. with summertime temps, any lube on hinges will dry out and cause squeaking or damage. I use a special spray that is designed for garage doors. Oh, and change the battery in the door remote once a year. Pushing that button and having the door refuse to budge is a pain.

Check for any mold or cracks in caulking in bathrooms twice a year. The extra humidity and forgetting to dry the walls after a shower has cost us plenty over the years. I hate to recaulk, but I dislike black mold even more.

*Change the batteries in the smoke alarms on my birthday. A house fire and a dead smoke alarm = disaster. This is especially important if your smoke alarm is hard-wired to your electric system. If that fails due to a fire, it isn’t going to work without the backup battery in place.

Nothing too laborious or requiring much skill here. These are really the basics that keep our house functioning. As I noted, I am not a “This Old House” kind of repair guy. If I can manage this list, anyone can.

How about you and your housing situation? Different climates have different maintenance and repair issues. Let us all know what you do to keep your repair bills under control.