Miscelleanous Maintenance and Repair

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All Homes Require Regular Maintenance in Order to Preserve Their Beauty and Value

An understanding of how to care for each feature in your home will prevent costly repairs and replacements later. Your home is exposed to various environmental conditions and changes in temperature variations that we experience each day. These temperature variations combined with expansive soils affect building practices.

Natural building material such as wood and concrete are subjected to constant expansion and contraction from day to day. This can result in minor warping of wood materials and tiny, hairline cracking of concrete and mortar. These effects are particularly obvious in the first year after a new home has been built. You can minimize these effects by maintaining a relatively constant temperature in your home during the first year. This allows the wood to dry at an even rate and may eliminate larger settlement cracks. Minor cracks and displacement of wood are a normal part of the aging process of your home and do not affect its structural integrity

Secure HVAC ducts

A heating, ventilation and air conditioning -- or HVAC -- duct should always be tightly secured to its connection. Otherwise neither the furnace nor the air conditioner will operate at its most energy-efficient level, meaning that you'll pay higher utility bills. If you can't repair it yourself, hire a qualified HVAC technician to do so.

Water damaged eaves

A damaged, worn or poorly maintained roof, along with gutters, can result in serious water damage to a house, particularly under eaves or soffit boards. Look for such damage particularly when buying an older home; a roofer and a carpenter may be required to fix the problem.

Interior moisture

Moisture is the last thing you want to see on or in an interior wall. The source of moisture must be located and stopped. This project may require the assistance of a carpenter to expose the interior of the wall to see how much damage has been done.

Water at the wall base

When water finds its way to the base of an interior wall, the source must be found. In cases where the source is not immediately visible, it may be necessary to call in a moisture-penetration expert. This project also may require the assistance of a carpenter to expose the interior of the wall to see how much damage has been done.

Water damaged eaves

Damaged, worn or poorly maintained gutters can result in serious water damage to a house, particularly under the eaves or soffit boards. Look for such damage particularly when buying an older home; a roofer and a carpenter may be required to fix the problem.

Cracked, lifting driveway

When a driveway starts lifting, the causes can range from a broken water main to poorly packed pre-construction soil.

Dual paned windows seal damage

If condensation appears on a double-paned window, it means the seal between the two panes of glass has been broken and that the window needs to be replaced. Some window company warranties and homeowners insurance policies cover this repair.

Deck footings on concrete

The footings on wood decks should never be placed directly on the ground but instead be encased in cement. Otherwise, the footings are susceptible to deterioration and are an easy target for termites.

Safety window exit

Burglar bars are an acceptable security measure, but at least one window in every room should be free of bars to allow for easy exit in the event of an emergency.

Auto reversing overhead garage door

Every automatic garage door should be equipped with a device that stops and reverses direction in case someone steps under the door as it is closing. If the device stops working, consult the owner's manual for advice or contact the manufacturer. It may need replacement.

Protect the gas meter

If a gas meter has been placed in a spot vulnerable to damage by a motor vehicle, a heavy-duty barrier should be erected to reduce the exposure.

Clean the ceiling vent

A ceiling vent used to supply combustible air to such gas-fired appliances as water heaters and furnaces must be the appropriate size and cleared of any blockages in order to work properly.

Second story deck

If the wood used to build and support a second-story deck is not weather-treated, it will decay rapidly and will need to be replaced. For reasons of safety and practicality, it should be sealed as soon as possible.

Avoid long term building material exposure

Building materials that have been exposed to ice, rain, snow and heavy winds for more than six months should be inspected to see if any materials need to be replaced. While short-term exposure does not usually have an adverse effect, long-term exposure is

Inspect gas lines on a regular basis

All gas-fired appliances and gas lines should be inspected at least once every two years for leaks and other problems. This will not only extend the life of the appliances and systems involved but avert any potentially hazardous situation.

Finish a deck

If a deck has been built and not properly treated for the weather, it should be sealed as soon possible to avoid serious damage from the elements.

Garage door electric eye

In California new garage door openers must use electric eyes to trigger their automatic-reverse safety features. If the eye falls out of alignment, however, the door will not work properly. It should be realigned as soon as possible to avoid possible accidents.

Proper roof vents

A poorly ventilated roof could look like this. While soffit vents are present, attic vents were not. For this size of house, two vents should be installed on the house and one on the garage.

Keep the attic correctly vented

Because attics built up heat and moisture year-round, roof vents should never be covered, even during cold winter months.

Water heater support base

If a hot water heater is supported by a wooden base, the base eventually may show signs of wear. If this occurs, repairs should be made immediately before the base collapses.

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