Home Ownership

Routine Maintenance

If you're buying your first house or relocating to Idaho/Washington, there are some seasonal maintenance items you will want to stay on top of.  Winters play a big role in the Pacific Northwest; make sure you're prepared and save yourself from spending thousands of dollars!

Spring/Summer

VACUUM/DUST

Beyond your typical weekly/monthly chores, you'll want to do a thorough cleaning of your major vents and air returns.  Unscrew the vent covers and run them under the faucet or through the dishwasher.  They collect a lot of particles over winter time with the furnace constantly running. 

CAULK CRACKS & CREVICES

With the bugs coming out of hibernation they like to go exploring.  Make sure they don't make their way into your house!

VISUAL INSPECTIONS

Take a good look around.  The temperature and climate changes can often cause damage to  areas such as decks, concrete, rooftops, and so forth.  What may start out as a tiny crack or broken seal could eventually lead to something bigger. 

CLEAN RAIN GUTTERS

Fall/Winter tend to leave behind dead leaves, branches, roof shingles, etc.  If it's a heavy winter you might also experience damage from the heavy snow and ice that collect on the roof.  Make sure rain gutters are cleared of debris and fully functional.  They should direct water AWAY from your home.

SUMMARIZE SPRINKLERS

Have a professional summarize your sprinkler system and get it ready for use.  Some cities even require a back flow test so make sure to inquire. 

*Maintenance records and service receipts are something to ask for when buying a house.  If you're a Seller make sure to keep these on file.*

TRIM FOILAGE

As soon as Spring arrives shrubbery can grow quickly.  Stop overgrowth before it starts.  Pay close attention to trees or bushes that lay close to the home or other structure.  Sometimes they can scratch your siding or grow behind it, collect water near your foundation, or grow large enough roots to damage sidewalks/sewer lines/etc. 

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Fall/Winter

DON'T FORGET THE OUTDOORS

  • PROTECT THE EXPENSIVE ITEMS - patio furniture, BBQs, lawn decor, etc should all be covered if not brought into the garage or basement.

  • PLANTS TOO - if you haven't done so already, bring in your flowering trees and shrubs.  The cold snaps will kill them off.

  • DRAIN THE WATER - ponds, pools, water fountains...make sure they are all drained and their pump systems are not left with excess water inside.

PROTECT THE PIPES

Remove all hoses and drain the hose and faucet completely.  Cover each faucet with a hose bib insulator ($5-$10/ea).  Check all pipes in, under, above, and outside of the home.  Cover any exposed pipes with insulation; this includes your water heater.

TEST THE TEMPS

This one's easy.  Check your thermosat and make sure it actually works before the temps drop too much.

PREP THE FIREPLACE

Check for nests and critters and make sure the damper actually works.  Consider an inspection/cleaning by a pro if you've never had one done before.  Don't forget to plan ahead for wood if you have a wood burning unit.

REPLACE AIR FILTERS

You'll be indoors - a lot.  Nothing like breathing stagnant, musty air that hasn't been filtered.

KEEP HEAT IN AND COLD OUT

  • FILL THE CREVICES - caulk, weather strip, and/or add storm doors and windows.  Particularly basements and crawl spaces.

  • INSULATE - add any extra insulation to areas such as the attic or crawl space. 

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PREP FOR SNOW

  • TEST THE SNOW BLOWER -  Ideally BEFORE it snows ;)

  • BE CAUTIOUS OF DE-ICERS & EZ MELTZ -  Many of them can eat away at your concrete leaving that chipped/cracked appearance. 

  • PROTECT FROM SNOW MELT - if you have gas meters, AC unit, plants, etc make sure they are protected should a heavy ice chunk fall off of the roof.  Especially if you have a metal roof!  Avista will put on a meter shield for free if this could be an issue. 

 

GOING AWAY FOR A WHILE? 

  • Set the thermostat at 55 degrees or higher.

  • Open cabinet doors so any water pipes (such as a sink) are exposed to more heat.

  • Turn off the main water. 

  • It gets dark early.  Consider "safety" lighting to make it look as if someone were home.

SERVICE THE FURNACE

Schedule this early on!  HVAC companies are extremely busy as soon as the weather turns cold.  If your system breaks down they charge extra for an "emergency" (no heat) visit.  Make sure whoever services the unit dates the sticker on the furnace.

*Maintenance records and service receipts are something to ask for when buying a house.  If you're a Seller make sure to keep these on file.*

CLEAN RAIN GUTTERS

For the second time in a year span, you'll want to make sure the gutters are fully functional prior to first snow fall.  When the snow and ice melt, you'll want to make sure the run off has somewhere to go.

BLOWOUT THE SPRINKLERS

Have a professional winterize your sprinkler system and get it ready for freezing temps.  It's a quick, easy service that could save your sprinkler system from getting ruined.

*Sprinkler maintenance records and service receipts are something to ask for when buying a house.  If you're a Seller make sure to keep these on file.*

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