Annual home maintenance tasks you can forget about

The list isn't long but it is distinguished

In an attempt to make home life a bit easier for everyone, our remodeling team of experts sat down with a couple of cold beverages to compile a list of annual home maintenance tasks we think people can now ignore. After all, this is 2019. Technology abounds. There’s got to be all kinds of stuff we can cross off the list, right?

The longer we thought and toasted our own health, the happier we got, and over time the grey matter finally began to loosen up, a bit. So, here is our list:

You get the idea. We stumped ourselves. After 36 years in the business that’s not an easy thing to do. The fact of the matter is we couldn’t come up with anything from a maintenance perspective, that you don’t need to do anymore. If you think we’re joking go ahead and ask Siri or Alexa.

We did however, come up with a list of things people don’t want to do, but really should do to avoid costly repairs down the road. If you think we’re hyping this check out this true story…

We know this is a disappointment. As homeowners ourselves, we were bummed out a bit too, but hey, we always tell it like it is, so we’re going to go ahead and list the top 10 things people ignore, but really shouldn’t.

Composite deck after careful power washing. "Who knew we had a cedar colored deck?"

1. Wash your "maintenance free" deck (no such thing) with a low-pressure power washer. Sap and leaves with tannins not to mention the dirt that falls out of the sky every time it rains or snows dulls the color, builds up and can over time affect the finish. If it’s a wood deck you can kiss it goodbye in no time if you don’t keep this stuff off of it at the end of the year. Yes we can do it for you. Yes you can do it and save money, but be careful, take it slow and keep the washer spray at least 8 inches away from the surface. Don’t do it bare foot.

Sure moss is pretty. But remember moss doesn't grow unless it's eating something. That would be your roof.

2. Use a leaf blower to clear away debris—matted leaves, acorns, pine needles, discarded lottery tickets, and such can trap moisture and allow mold/moss to grow. While you’re up there, clean out any vent pipes from the same stuff including bird nests—they will just have to live in trees like they are supposed to.

3. Soffit vents can become clogged by resident dust and could have been stifled for a long time by overblown insulation. When that happens they don’t move air like they should and that can contribute to ice dams in the winter and you know what that means. We would use an air compressor but you can also use a leaf blower from a couple of feet away and give it the once or twice over for a minute or two. But not too close. You might accidentally blow off the bug screens on the back side.

4. Clear your gutters by using someone else. Honestly is there a more disgusting job than sticking your hand in that slimy goo? Revolting.

An extreme example of course, (a blind person might discover a novel here), but these birds know about rotting wood and the bugs they invite long before we do. Think of it as nature's automatic alarm system. A loud one too.

5. Look for bubbling/cracking or streaking of paint on siding. Got wood siding? Look for holes from woodpeckers. None are good signs. Unfortunately we don't do woodpecker remediation, but we can repair or replace your siding, so, shameless plug, you should probably call us.

6. Inspect for loose or bad caulk around windows and doors. It's not so much about the heat loss as it is about the water. It is one of the most common ways for water intrusion to occur and it can be very costly.

7. Add copper sulfate to basement floor drain and downspout drains to control tree roots in main sewer.

8. Add water with a tablespoon of mineral oil on top to unused drains in laundry sinks, little used basement showers and floor drains. If the trap dries out you can get sewer gas backing up into your home, which can often lead to uncomfortable sideways glances among family members.

9. Replace your furnace filter monthly for the next several months after a major remodel. Otherwise, a good rule of thumb is to change 1-2 inch filters every three months, 4 inch filters every six months and 5 inch filters every 12 months. Signs your air filter needs changing: if it looks like an old garage floor, dark, foreboding impenetrable. Certainly if you can't see the material of the filter itself, it should be replaced.

You’d think someone would have invented an app to monitor that by now, right? Well, they did—

They do make an actual garage door lubricant. They do not as yet have an app for that however.

10. Lubricate your garage door rollers and springs. No one ever thinks about this until they stick and the door comes up half way and your stuck in your garage while your friends are out fishing or golfing or…you get the idea. Grease these lonely fellas, they deserve it for all the heavy lifting they do.

If you are relatively new to homeownership we suggest setting aside 1-5 thousand dollars each year for those larger replacements and repairs that aren’t covered by insurance such as new windows, roofs, siding, carpet, tile, countertops. You can call it your Murphy Bros. savings account. Come to think of it, that way you could tell people you have an MBA. Pretty smart. Then of course be sure to call us when you’re ready. We’ll be here.

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