Home Maintenance Tips Asheville
Homeownership means home maintenance is always on the horizon. And when you live in a temperate rainforest, we put together these home maintenance tips Asheville specific to this area’s weather, seasons, and landscape.
With some planning, home maintenance tasks don’t have to be a whole weekend of chores. We recommend breaking down our recommendations for annual home maintenance tips Asheville into monthly assignments that only take a few hours out of your day. Except in a few cases where the tasks may take a bit longer.
Spreading home maintenance tasks over the year is important because it means you’re paying more attention to your home. If something looks amiss, you might catch it before it becomes a major problem.
Proactive Home Maintenance Tips Asheville
Taking care of your home helps ensure your home will endure. Deferring home maintenance can lead to costly (and avoidable) repairs later. When you proactively take care of your home and its systems, you can save on energy costs, prevent water damage, prevent damage from critters and pests, eliminate risks and hazards, extend the life of your appliances and systems, and more. Ideally, none of these tasks are overly time-consuming, and you don’t have to be overly handy to complete them. Yet some require a professional to complete. If you need recommendations or referrals, let us know.
We break down home maintenance tips Asheville by season and then by month. The goal is to make it easy (dare we say fun?), alert you when you might need to call in a professional and help your home’s systems run as efficiently as possible.
Let’s get ready for seasonal rain and the coming summer heat! It’s a good idea to tackle a few exterior home maintenance tasks in the spring. All of these Asheville home maintenance tips and tasks are straightforward and easy to do on a Saturday each month.
- Clear your gutters of debris to keep them flowing freely during spring showers. If leaves and other debris are a consistent problem, consider installing gutter guards or screens to prevent future clogging. Practice ladder safety, and if needed, call a gutter pro.
- Clean dust and debris from your AC condenser to keep it running efficiently. Use your garden hose with a sprayer nozzle to rinse away dirt and leaf litter. Do not use a pressure washer as the water pressure may damage your AC condenser.
- Inspect and seal cracks in walkways and driveways that may have appeared over the winter during the freeze-thaw cycle. You can apply caulk to some cracks, and you may need to realign a few paver stones. If you find large cracks and areas that are sinking, call us for a referral to get that repaired.
- Check your yard for low spots where water may puddle as these areas can become a breeding ground for mosquitos. Grab a wheelbarrow full of fill dirt and make the rounds filling in any dips. And don’t worry. The grass will grow back.
- Inspect your sprinkler system by checking each zone to make sure it’s working and covering each zone properly. Straighten and re-aim any crooked sprinkler heads. Replace any broken heads.
- Check and clean clogged vents along the foundation walls and under eaves, and repair any broken or missing vent screens, which you can generally get at any hardware store. These vents help your home breathe, and the vent screens keep out debris and critters.
- Check for worn or chipped exterior paint. House painting tasks don’t have to be major. In fact, for this annual task you’ll inspect your home’s siding and exterior trim for small cracks and chips. If you see any, repair those spots by sealing any cracks and painting over chips so moisture doesn’t get inside.
And a home maintenance tips Asheville #protip when it comes to paint, whether interior or exterior, keep paint brands, color names, and identification numbers on file so you can replace paint if you run out. Be sure to store and label extra paint in airtight containers so you can spot-paint as needed.
- Check for lose pavers and stones. Freezing temperatures and heavy rains can cause your hardscape features, like pavers and stone walkways, to rise, sink, or come loose. To fix, use a garden trowel to pry up displaced pavers, and then smooth and even out the paver bed with fresh sand. Then replace the paver.
- Secure loose pickets. Fences and garden gates can move, twist, warp and loosen during cycles of cold temperatures and wet weather. Check for loose pickets and anything out of alignment in your fences and gates. Refasten with a nail gun using galvanized nails. Use a drill and outdoor appropriate screws for anything that needs to be secured with a screw. Be sure to check for and tighten and loose gate bolts, too.
- Clean those windows. Huge glass windows and clerestory lights are prominent design features of #mountainhomes, and an annual cleaning will keep your view crystal clear. You’ll want to hire a crew to do this work. Let us know if you need a recommendation.
We love the warm days and afternoon showers of summer. Before the leaves turn their vibrant reds, golds, and oranges, let’s tackle a few tasks that can prevent cold weather breakdowns by showing some love to the hardest working appliances in your home. You may need to call in some professionals to tackle these home maintenance items because some things are best, and safest, when left to the pros.
There is one task you’ll want to add to this list if you have a fireplace. Sweep the chimney. Call a pro to tackle that one. They’ll also ensure no one builds a home in your chimney over the summer. Call now to get on the schedule because they can book up for months in advance.
- Test drive your A/C. If you haven’t already cranked up the A/C, give your air conditioner a test run before the summertime heat rises. Turn it on for 30 minutes to make sure it is cooling properly. If it’s not, then you’ll need to call a professional for service. Remember, adjusting the temperature by only a degree or two at a time can help extend the life of your unit.
- Stop mold before it starts. When heat and moisture combine (we live in a temperate rain forest, remember?), it’s the perfect environment for mold to thrive. Keep mold at bay by doing two things. First, lower your A/C thermostat. Second, keep your A/C fan set to auto to help control the humidity in your home. A cooler, less humid environment will discourage mold growth. If you see mold, you may need to call a professional to remove it.
- Stop the flying pests! Warm weather brings out ALL. THE. BUGS. And they love your outdoor lights! Swap out mercury vapor outdoor lightbulbs with yellow sodium vapor outdoor lightbulbs. Use caution if you have to get on a ladder.
- This one’s for you if you have pets! Clean those refrigerator coils again. Did that in January? If your pets, a build-up of your pet’s recently shed winter may coat on your refrigerator coils can cause your trusty appliance to work considerably harder than it needs to. So check them to see if they need to be cleaned.
- Give your washer and dryer some love. It’s hot outside! You’re probably sweating through a few more shirts and shorts than usual. (No? Just us?) Can your washer and dryer handle extra loads? Nurture your washer and dryer now so you aren’t waiting on a repair service later.
Let’s take care of the washer first. Add diluted bleach or white vinegar to the washer drum and run a cycle (no clothes) to take care of most cleaning needs and prevent mold from growing. If you have a front-loading washer, be sure clean the gasket that seals the door. Wipe behind the gasket with diluted vinegar or bleach solution to remove any detergent buildup or debris. Leave the door open when you’re done so the gasket can dry.
Now let’s give the dryer some love. Remove and wash the lint screen. Key word, wash. Especially if you use dryer sheets. Most people remove the lint from the screen each time they use the dryer (keep doing that), yet when was the last time you scrubbed the screen with warm soapy water and rinsed it clean? While you’re at it, check the dryer vent tube for excess lint and remove it. Remember that leaf blower hack for earlier this year?
- Drain your water heater. Even your water heater needs TLC. A once-a-year-flushing improves your water heater’s efficiency and life span by clearing out built-up sediment and minerals that may affect its performance. It’s easy to do if you follow these simple steps. And, you might want to remind people not to expect a hot shower while you’re cleaning the water heater.
First, turn off the electricity or gas to the water heater. Now, close the cold-water supply valve (usually at the top of the unit) and attach a hose to the drain valve (at the bottom of the unit). If the hose is long enough, drag the hose outside. Or, if you have a floor drain where the water heater is housed, you can remove the drain cover and insert the end of hose into the drain.
Next, open the drain valve on the water heater. Then open the drain value on the pressure relief tank. Now water should be draining from the tank. When the tank is empty, open the cold-water valve again (the drain hose is still attached) and let the water run clear from the drain hose. When the water is clear, close the water heater drain valve and pressure relief valve, allow the tank to refill, and detach the hose. Turn the electricity or gas back on so the water will heat up and be ready to use.
- Schedule a furnace check-up for your furnace. Wait, what? It’s the dog days of summer – a sweltering, muggy afternoon, and the last thing you want to think about is heating your home. We hear you. But, as luck would have it, furnaces seem always to fail on the coldest days of the year.
This task is one of those instances where you need to call a professional to inspect your heating system, tune it up, and make any repairs to that’s its full prepped for winter. If you’re not already on a regular maintenance program with your HVAC company, don’t wait to schedule a check-up. HVAC technician schedules will fill up quickly the longer you wait.
- Tame the trees. Next time you’re out in your yard, look up. It might be time to do a little tree maintenance. Check for dead or dying tree limbs that can damage your home if they fall. Are any limbs getting too close to your home? Do you have vines in your trees that need to be removed? Now we’re not saying get out your ladder and chainsaw. Limbing trees can be dangerous work. We recommend calling a professional to tidy up the tree canopy.
- Clean out the gutters. It may seem like we recommend cleaning out your gutters every season. To be honest, if you live in a wooded area and you don’t have screens or guards on your gutters, then yes, you’re going to want to check your gutters for anything that can cause the downspouts to clog or water to overflow the edges. Every season. Especially in the fall.
Clean gutters and downspouts mean water is less likely to pool around your home’s foundation. When water pools at your foundation, you run the risk of water intrusion, which can lead to a whole other series of problems. Climbing up on a ladder isn’t something everyone is comfortable doing, so calling a professional is advised to inspect your gutters.
Hooray for fall! Autumn leaves, cooler temperatures, and everything pumpkin spice. Okay, so maybe not everyone is a die-hard pumpkin spice fan. While you’re probably more focused on leaf peeping, Halloween, college football and the holidays, it’s the perfect time to ensure your home is buttoned up and ready for the cold, wintry weather on the way. Then you can get back to sitting by the fire, chestnuts roasting, caroling, and all that jazz.
If you didn’t schedule a chimney sweep over the summer, add that to your list.
- Check walkways for cracks or loose pavers. Cracks and loose pavers can create trip hazards during the freeze-thaw cycles of winter. If water seeps under the walkway through a crack or under a paver that’s loose, it can freeze. Water expands when it freezes and can expand enough to displace a paver or a portion of your walkway.
Seal cracks in walkways with epoxy, which you can buy at home hardware stores. For pavers, lift the loose paver out, level the ground (fill with sand if needed) and replace the paver. You may need to do this a few times to level the paver. Fill the spaces between the surrounding pavers with additional sand to prevent any additional movement.
- Does your siding need some TLC? Heat and humidity can encourage mold and mildew growth on your siding, so it might be time for a good ole pressure washing. While you’re at it, look for cracks and deteriorating caulk. This task is a weekend project if you decide to DIY it.
First, you can rent a pressure washer for almost any equipment rental business in the area. Be sure to use an appropriate cleaner for your siding with the presser washer. Use care when operating a pressure washer because the pressure means business.
Now that your siding is clean and dry, inspect the siding for cracks and any caulk that might need to be replaced. You may need to get on a ladder to do a full inspection, so be careful. Or you may be able to use a drone or long selfie stick and your phone’s camera to snap photos of high and hard to reach places. Fill cracks and re-caulk as needed. Or, call a pro to knock it out for you.
- Check your window seals. All double- or triple-pane windows have a tight seal around their perimeters that separates the individual panes of glass and traps inert gas between them. If your windows are frequently foggy, it’s likely that a seal has failed.
Contact the windows’ manufacturer to see if you can cash in on your windows’ warranty; many companies will cover failed seals for a decade or longer. If your windows are no longer under warranty, or your warranty doesn’t cover a total replacement, check out a professional window defogging company. These pros will reseal the window’s perimeter and replace the gas between the panes.
- Clean your dryer vents. Yes, we recommend you do this task several times a year because excess lint can dramatically increase the risk of fire. If your clothes aren’t drying as quickly as usual or they need an extra cycle or two to dry, then chances are you’ve got lint build-up in your dry vent. Scrub the screen once a month if you’re a heavy user. Now make sure the vent pipe is clear, and you’re good to go.
- Stow the hose. If you live where it snows (or freezes), then it’s time to drain and store your garden hose. Hoses with water in them can freeze and burst. Remove the hose from the faucet and drain it completely away from your foundation. Now, shut off the water supply to the external faucets. Then, drain the line by turning the faucet on so the residual water may drain out. Turn the faucet off. For extra protection from freezing temps, install a foam insulator cover over each external faucet.
- Seed your lawn. Your lawn might need a little TLC after this long hot summer. Seeding it can be one of the best ways to repair that damage. We recommend doing this now so that the seeds can take root before the first frost of the season. Use a spreader or your hand to lay the seed, and then water it a few times. If you need to show your lawn some TLC, wait a bit before stowing the hose for the winter.
- Weatherproof your home by finding and sealing leaks. Cracks and gaps let heat out and cold air in. You know, drafty. Common places to find drafty spots are along baseboards, wall and ceiling junctures, windows and doors, light fixtures like recessed lights, switches, and electrical outlets.
Fortunately, there are easy ways to find and fix leaks. Light a candle or an incense stick and hold it up to whatever you want to check for leaks, such as a window frame or canned lights. Move the candle or incense stick around the entire window frame and watch for the flame to flicker or the smoke to move. If you’ve got movement, you’ve got a leak. Most leaks can be stopped with weatherstripping or caulk, but large gaps and cracks may require a pro to repair.
- Check the fire alarms. While there may be mixed reviews about daylight savings time, checking and changing fire alarm batteries always gets rave reviews. Get into the habit of checking fire alarm batteries twice a year. Synch checking the batteries with time changes to help you remember this important task.
- Critters get cold, too! Just like you, when critters get cold, they want to go inside where it’s warmer. But unlike you, many rodents and other small animals can fit through holes no larger than a quarter to set up a winter hide-away in the attic, the crawl space, and in walls. Check the attic and crawlspace for holes. Replace any damaged vent covers and roof tiles. Seal up any holes around plumbing pipes and where cables enter your home.
- Clear dead leaves from your lawn. Dead leaves will kill your lawn if left in place for the winter. Nourish your lawn by mulching the leaves with your mower instead of bagging them and hauling them off. You can also blow (or rake if you want exercise) the leaves off your lawn and into the woods for birds and other critters to use for winter cover. We blow the leaves once or twice a week because, well, using the blower is kind of fun. But you don’t have to do that. Once or twice during leaf season, or at the end of it, is fine.
Brrr! Winter’s cold tends to drive us inside – cozying up under blankets, gathering around fires, watching movies – where it’s warm. That makes it a great time to tackle some easy inside jobs on a rainy afternoon and a few outside jobs for when the weather is sunny.
- Flat or fluffy? Over time, your attic insulation can deteriorate or get matted down, especially if you live in an older home. The result is reduced energy efficiency because flat insulation can no longer insulate against the cold air as well as new insulation. Fortunately, it’s easy to remedy, just taking a little time and care.
- Insulation is assigned a number, called an R-value, which indicates its ability to resist (R) heat. The higher the number, the more it resists heat, and the better job it does keeping the cold air out of your home in the winter and the hot air out in the summer. Most conventionally built homes have an R-value of R19. This value gives you about 5½ inches of insulation depth in your attic.
By contrast, an Energy Star home has an R-value of R38, which is often between 10 and 14 inches in depth. Which one do you think does a better job at keeping your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer?
Crawl up into the attic and look. If your insulation is matted down below 5½ inches or deteriorating, it needs some TLC. You can pull it up and replace it with R38 rated insulation, or, you can add another layer of R19 insulation and get similar results. Aim for 10 to 14 inches. And be careful. It’s easy to put your foot through the ceiling by accident. You can also have new insulation installed professionally.
- At risk for ice dams? However lovely the phrase may sound, ice dams are not your pals. In fact, they can cause water to seep into your attic, causing a whole other layer of problems. Ice dams are mounds of ice that accumulate around the edge of your roof, and they’re created when melting snow or ice can’t drip freely into gutters, through downspouts, and away from your house. These drips can freeze and form ice dams over just a few hours, and as result, push water under eaves and into your home.
Shady roofs and high elevations can increase the risk of ice dams forming because snow and ice can linger. Ice dams are less common at lower elevations but can happen any time snow or ice accumulates on the roof. Need a visual, think of icicles inside and outside your gutters. To help prevent ice dams from forming, make sure you have adequate and properly installed insulation in your attic (see above).
Also, make sure gutters and downspouts are in good shape and free of leaves, bird nests, and other debris that can cause water to back up and freeze. If ice damming has been a problem in the past, or you want to take an extra step to prevent them, install heat cables along the edges of your roof and in the gutters and downspouts.
- Deep clean the range, oven and hood. Your range and oven likely went into overdrive during the holidays, and they can get filthy because of it. Grease can accumulate inside the hood, and spills can char in the oven. It’s also a great time to clean your hood ventilation filter. Use a degreaser on the hood, set the oven to self-clean overnight (remember to remove the oven racks), and toss the hood filter into the dishwasher for a deep clean. Use a paste of baking soda and water to clean the oven racks.
- Banish the dust. Seek out dust in those hard-to-reach places that don’t get cleaned very often. Think the tops and edges of ceiling fans, refrigerator coils, the tops of your kitchen cabinets (might need to use a degreaser), and your heating/AC vents.
- Give your hardware some love. Spend an hour or two of TLC to hinges and doorknobs, cabinet pulls and doors. Tighten screws, clean the hardware, check alignment and leveling, and clear away any dust or debris that may have accumulated.
- Tighten loose outdoor railings. Slip on a coat, go outside, and tighten any loose handrails. Loose handrails can be problematic if you have any ice accumulation. If you slip on ice that accumulated on the front stoop stairs and the handrail is loose, you have an increased risk of falling and injuring yourself.
- Clean the coils on your refrigerator. Improve the lifespan of your refrigerator by cleaning away the dust that collects on and in between the condenser coils. Break out the vacuum cleaner and pull the refrigerator out from the wall. Use the upholstery attachment to vacuum the dirt, hair/fur (got pets?) and dust from the coils and grate (which you may need to remove). Use a duster or cloth to get in between the coils. Remember to vacuum the floor that’s normally under the fridge.
- Clean out your dryer vent and duct. Clear any lint or other debris from your dryer’s outside vent all the way back to where the duck connects to your dryer to keep your dryer running as efficiently as possible. But first, make sure a bird or other critter hasn’t made your duct into its home. First remove the vent cover outside, then pull your dryer away from the wall and disconnect the vent hose that connects your dryer to the duct. Carefully, use your leaf blower (yep!) to clear the duct and vent hose. Then, put it back together!
- Clean your garbage disposal. If you use it regularly, the garbage disposal will need cleaning. First, disconnect the power by either unplugging it or turning off the breaker. Now, remove the splash guard (wash it, too) and use a flashlight to inspect the inside of the disposal and remove any debris that might be stuck. Now, pour in half a cup of baking soda, and let it sit for about 30 minutes (clean your refrigerator’s condensing coils while you wait).
After 30 minutes, add one cup of vinegar and let that chemical reaction do its thing. After five minutes, rinse the disposal with very hot water. Next, reinstall the splash guard, and grind completely two cups of ice and one cup of salt to help remove any debris or build-up on the blades. It’s like an exfoliator for the blades. For the last step, freshen up the disposal, your sink and the kitchen by grinding up small pieces of citrus peel. One important point to note: don’t use citrus peels if you’re on a septic system. Add a few drops of lemon oil instead.
Need a referral?
There you have it. A list, perhaps a long home maintenance tips Asheville list, of what you can do to protect your investment in your custom home. Whether you do them or hire someone to complete the tasks, you’ll improve the longevity of your home, appliances and systems, and we think you’ll agree, it’s totally worth it. Reach out to us if you need a referral. We’ve got you covered.