A home purchase is likely the biggest investment of your life. It’s important to care for your investment by performing regular maintenance. This is Part 3 of our Home Maintenance Series, and you can find the other checklists below. This post will focus on major appliances in the home.
We consider the HVAC system and the water heater “the guts” of the home. These large systems are integral to the home and your comfort living in it. They are not difficult to maintain and regular care will have a great impact on their longevity.
- Air filters
Some pros recommend changing furnace filters monthly. However, this is only necessary if you live in an area with higher levels of pollution outside your home. You might consider monthly filter changes if you live in an area with lots of construction, or during our windy spring and fall seasons when plenty of very fine dust is kicked up into the air. Considering cleaning (blowing out your filter) or changing your air filters quarterly. It’s ok to buy the least expensive filters, especially if you change them more often than quarterly.
- Changing a Filter
- Look for a thin door on the furnace that can be vertical or horizontal. In some homes, you might find the filter in a hallway or ceiling behind a metal grill. Many times, your inspection report from when you purchased the home with have information about where to locate the filter.
- Simply remove the old filter and replace with a new filter. Most filters have an arrow on the side that indicates which way the air should flow. The filter for your fresh air system may also be located in the same return. When in doubt always refer to your owner’s manual.
Turn your furnace on early in the fall before it is needed so you can test that all systems are working properly. It’s normal for the system to have a burnt dust smell during the first few minutes of operation. This odor should pass quickly.
- Check to ensure that the pilot light has not gone out (if applicable).
- Check the blower switch to make sure it is in the On position. The blower switch looks like a regular light switch located near the furnace. This switch overrides all furnace commands and manually shuts down the blower. Usually, the switch is turned off during maintenance service.
- Condensation on a Window
Condensation on interior surfaces of the window and frame is the result of high humidity inside the home while temperatures are low outside. Take a look at your humidifier and adjust if necessary. You can leave the blinds lifted slightly off of the window sill to help keep the condensation from damaging the sill. Clean any condensation as quickly as possible to avoid damage to the window sill or surrounding drywall. Call a professional contractor to look at your HVAC system.
Operating your air conditioning system at a consistent temperature throughout the day is the most efficient way to keep your home cool.
As a rule of thumb, your cooling system should be capable of maintaining a temperature of 78 degrees (or 20 degrees cooler than the outside temperature. This is based on indoor temperature measured at the center of each room, five feet above the floor.
Your system may need to be balanced if you notice uneven temperatures from room to room within your home. After you move into your home and have all of your furniture, blinds, and window treatments installed, you can contact an air conditioning contractor to come and balance your system if needed.
The AC also has a filter that needs to be changed regularly. The filter can be found in the air return vent (they will look larger and slightly different than the air registers found in other rooms). The grill will have a swing-down or sideways door that will allow you to access the filter. You can release the swing-down door using the small plastic or metal tabs on each side.
- AC Condensation
Your air conditioning system takes water (humidity) out of the air in your home. This water is removed from your system through two drains: a primary drain and a secondary drain. You should have your AC system serviced on regularly and have the drains cleaned out on an annual basis. You can also clean this out yourself instead. Instructions on how to change the air filter and how to change the filter and clean out the drains: https://todayshomeowner.com/video/how-to-clean-an-ac-condensation-drain-line/
Related Reading: Steps to Buy a Home
The area around your water heater should be kept free from clutter or any obstructions. Do not store anything within three feet of your water heater.
- Your water heater should be drained annually to remove sediment buildup at the bottom of the tank. This helps prevent rust, corrosion and improves the efficiency of your water heater.
- Pilot Light (Gas Models)
Never light the pilot light or turn on electricity to the water heater when the tank is empty. Always turn off the cold water supply (typically located at the top of the water heater). Refer to the owners manual or look for instructions printed directly on the tank of the water heater.
Condensation may occur inside a new water heater and can cause a small drip of water onto the flame of your pilot light. This should not cause any harm to your water heater.
Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless water heaters require regular maintenance. You should have a professional service it annually for best performance or as recommended by the manufacturer.
Related Reading: Home Updates without Renovation
- Swamp Cooler
This is a bit like an “old fashioned” air conditioner. You usually see those mounted on the side of a house or on the roof. Instead of removing humidity from the home like an air conditioner, the swamp cooler actually blows very fine moisture into the home to cool it down.
- Radiant Heat
Radiant heat can be provided through electricity or hot water. In homes of the 80’s you might find radiant heat in the ceiling. Newer homes have it under tile floors. Many consider radiant heat healthier and less expensive.
- Septic Waste Water Treatment System
These systems are usually found in the countryside or larger (usually 1+ acres) lots. There are some septic systems within the city limits, but they are grandfathered in. When they are at the end of life, the properties will have to be connected to the city sewer system.
You’ll find water wells on large lots or in the countryside.
- Solar Panel Systems
These have become more and more common as home owners are incentivized by tax credits and a reduction of their utility bills. Refer to the company’s user manual for maintenance tips.
If you have questions about or need recommendations for professionals who can help with this maintenance, call us 719-219-9739 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Our team is always here to help!