Top 5 Home Maintenance Topics from Key Expert Advice InstaLive




We would like to thank Jennifer Hernandez (JH Realtor) with Palm Beach Brokers Group for hosting us today on "Key Expert Advice." During today's InstaLive segment, we discussed our practical Top 5 Tips for efficient home upkeep.


Here is our list with useful how-to's.


#1: CHANGING THE AC FILTER & CLEANING THE CONDENSATE DRAIN LINE

While changing the air-conditioning (AC) filter may be in good practice in your household, we encourage cleaning out the condensate drain line as well.


WHY

Pets, kids, allergies, you name it, there’s a filter that you can tailor to your needs—even ones that allow you to indulge in a fresh scent.


Filters keep the AC system clean and help provide healthy air quality within your home. When the air filter is not routinely changed (roughly every 1 to 3 months), then dirt, gunk, grime and even mold can build up inside of the evaporator coils, which ultimately clogs the coils, overworks and ages the system.


The drain line is located outside of the home. A quick and easy way of cleaning the drain line is to use a Shop-Vac to suck out excess water and build up. This helps the system work efficiently and prevents the system from backing up. You can do this cleaning every 6 months, along with adding vinegar within the line to clean thoroughly clean it.


#2: DRYER VENT & LINT TRAP CLEANING


Much like the fellow HVAC-cleaning companions, these two areas work synergistically. Each time you run a load of laundry, empty the lint trap. It’s a good habit to instill. This simple task along with cleaning out the dryer duct will promote energy efficiency and your clothes will dry at optimum levels.


WHY

Safety is probably the biggest factor for this tip. Reports of home fires are overwhelming each year.

The US Fire Administration reported:

  • Each year these fires cause an estimated $35 million in property loss.

Consumer Reports showed in April of last year:

  • Firefighters across the country respond to nearly 14,000 home fires relating to clothes dryers.

In addition to the lint trap, dryers are equipped with a 4-inch vent, which connects to the exterior vent with a duct.

If you see a plastic or foil accordion-style duct connecting your appliance to the vent, then it’s a good idea to replace it. These are risky because lint can sag and build up. Typically, some form of metal duct is recommended. The smooth walls aid airflow and also reduce lint buildup.


#3: TREE-TRIMMING



Keep those palm trees, flowering foliage and so on about 6 feet away from the house. If you are not the handiest with a saw or clippers, then you can always do a 6-month to annual tree-trimming with a landscaper. Some homeowners associations actually budget for this service each year.


WHY

The easiest way for rats, mice, frogs iguanas, raccoons, possums (which are all frequent animals we find in attics) to find new homes in your home is by using the trees as bridge to the roof or attic space. They can crawl through roof vents, gutters, any slight opening, which will allow them to cozy up in your attic. Less scary friends, such as ants and bugs, can find their way into the home as well. Rodents can also cause damage to ductwork, soil installation, etc.


#4: CLEANING THE GUTTERS



Depending on which way your house faces, start in morning or late afternoon and brush out leaves and debris from your gutters. Then take the hose and run water through them.


WHY

This will help eliminate standing water, which may lead to roof/window/door leaks. It's really important come hurricane season. You want those gutters to divert the water away from the house as much as possible.


#5: TESTING GFCIs & AFCIs



Most homes have GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets located in kitchens and bath spaces. They are a special type of circuit breaker that can automatically shut off power directly at the outlet when it detects an electrical fault.


There is a test and reset button positioned in the middle of the two outlets. Press the test button; the reset will pop, and then press reset button back into place—in essence “alarming” the outlet. It's that simple.


AFCIs stand for arc-fault circuit interrupters, and they are typically found in bedrooms, offices, and laundry rooms. They protect you from electrical dangers that create heat via arcing. Examples include driving a nail through a wire or a device overheating where it is plugged into the wall. AFCIs detect this arcing, and shut down outlets before damage can occur.


They are not found in wall receptacles like GFCIs, but instead are easily incorporated into your home or business’ main service panel in the form of specialized circuit breakers. As of 2014, the National Electric Code (NEC) mandated AFCI protection.


WHY

It reduces electrocution or shock. If a GFCI trips frequently when not in use (daily or weekly), the outlet itself could be worn out or faulty and should be replaced.


Anything you can do to take care of your home goes a long way. When it comes time to sell or rent, you can save lots of money, time, effort, and headaches.


We offer Pre-Listing Inspections, so we help clients face the facts about the state of their home. They are always so grateful when we are finished, because they know where they stand. They come up with a budget; they are realistic about listing price; or they adjust their timeframe before they enter the market.


Be sure to check out Jen's 12 Month Home Maintenance Checklist for additional advice.


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