9 Quick Home Maintenance Tips

Home maintenance isn’t restricted to repairs. In fact, certain tasks–when performed regularly–may actually prevent things from breaking in the first place. But when things do go wrong (and it’s inevitable that they do), we have some backup plans that you can try before you grab the phone to call for pro. Appliances and plumbing are the most frequent offenders, but they also often can be the simplest to care for. From the gutters to the living room carpet, there’s a reliable method for keeping every part of your home clean, safe, and well maintained.

Quick Home Maintenance Tips. Handyman, Commercial and Residential Real Estate Care Services for Boston and Greater Boston

9 Quick Home Maintenance Tips

MUST-DO MAINTENANCE:

The quickest fix is to not have the problem in the first place. Here’s a checklist of items every homeowner should get to regularly.

1. Test your garage door opener monthly to ensure that it reverses when it hits an obstruction or when its sensor beam is interrupted.

2. Vacuum the clothes dryer’s exhaust duct at least once a year. If the duct is plastic, replace it (it’s a fire hazard). Rigid sheet-metal ducting is best.

3. Replace furnace filters quarterly, or as recommended by the furnace manufacturer.

4. Test all GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets monthly. Press the test button and use a voltage tester to make sure the power goes off.

5. Clean leaves and debris from the condenser of a central air conditioner seasonally.

6. Once a year, vacuum the refrigerator coils underneath the appliance.

7. Have the fireplace chimney inspected and cleaned annually.

8. Inspect window and door caulking and weather stripping yearly.

9. Replace the batteries in smoke detectors yearly. And remember, even recent hard-wired smoke detectors have backup batteries that must be replaced. If you have never checked yours, do so.

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How to Prevent and Deal With Frozen Pipes

A 1/8-inch crack can leak up to 250 gallons of water a day, causing flooding, structural damage and the immediate potential for mold.

How to Prevent and Deal With Frozen Pipes advice by Boston Home Services

How to Prevent and Deal With Frozen Pipes? Advice by Boston Home Services.

Why Frozen Pipes Are a Problem

Water expands as it freezes. This expansion puts extreme pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor water faucets, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. Also, pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing.

A 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can leak up to 250 gallons of water a day, causing flooding, serious structural damage, and the immediate potential for mold.

In the US, frozen pipes cause significant damage every year, but they often can be prevented. Taking a few simple steps, even now, may save you the aggravation and expense.

Prevention

There are three common causes of frozen pipes:

1. Quick drops in temperature

2. Poor insulation

3. Thermostats set too low

There are a number of preventative steps you can take to keep your pipes from freezing:

  • Check the insulation of pipes in your home’s crawl spaces and attic. Exposed pipes are most susceptible to freezing.
  • Heat tape or thermostatically controlled heat cables can be used to wrap pipes. Be sure to use products approved by an independent testing organization, such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc., and only for the use intended (exterior or interior). Closely follow all manufacturers’ installation and operation instructions.
  • Seal leaks that allow cold air inside near where pipes are located. Look for air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents, and pipes, and use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out. With severe cold, even a tiny opening can let in enough cold air to cause a pipe to freeze.
  • Use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets. This reduces the chance of freezing in the short span of pipe just inside the house.
  • A trickle of hot and cold water might be all it takes to keep your pipes from freezing. Let warm water drip overnight, preferably from a faucet on an outside wall.
  • Keep your thermostat set at the same temperature during both day and night. You might be in the habit of turning down the heat when you’re asleep, but further drops in the temperature – more common overnight – could catch you off guard and freeze your pipes.
  • Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to un-insulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.

If Your Pipes Do Freeze…

Don’t panic. Just because they’re frozen doesn’t mean they’ve already burst. Here’s what you can do:

  • If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on and call a plumber.
  • If your house or basement is flooding, turn off the water valve and immediately call 911.
  • Do not touch or use electrical appliances in areas of standing water due to electrocution concerns.
  • Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame because it could cause a fire hazard. Every year, many building fires are caused by people trying to thaw frozen pipes. All open flames in homes present a serious fire danger, as well as a severe risk of exposure to lethal carbon monoxide.
  • You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe with the warm air from a hair dryer. Start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, working toward the coldest section of pipe.
  • Again, if your water pipes have already burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve in the house; leave the water faucets turned on and call 911. Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shutoff valve is and how to open and close it. Likely places for the water turn-off valve include internal pipes running against exterior walls or where water service enters a home through the foundation.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat set to a temperature no lower than 55ºF.

Find the original article How to Prevent and Deal With Frozen Pipes here.

Common Air Conditioning and Heating Ductwork Problems

real estate plant maintenance Air Conditioning and Heating Ductwork

Common Air Conditioning and Heating Ductwork Problems. Boston Home Services

How’s my ducting?

National studies of residential duct systems indicate that many duct systems leak 40% or more.  This means that 40% of cooling capacity, heating capacity, and utility dollars are going into unconditioned space.  Duct leaks also cause pressure imbalances inside the home causing indoor air quality problems.

We find many duct systems to be poorly designed, installed or don’t have a improperly implemented maintenance program. A sure sign of duct problems is rooms that heat or cool unevenly.  Dust streaks around supply vents are often thought to be caused by a dirty duct system.  Most of the time dust streaks around supply vents are caused by leaks in the duct system between the “bucket”, the sheet rock, and the supply vent cover.  A venture effect caused by the moving air sucks dirt, humidity and heat directly from the attic.

Poorly insulated points or sections of ducting can cause moisture and microbial growth to occur.  Air is then circulated past the molds growing in the duct system, distributing mold spores thru out your home. Since these spores are created after the filter; even the best filtration system can’t fix this duct problem.

Proper duct design is also important in achieving and maintaining proper system operation and efficiency.  Some residential homes and commercials buildings have supply air outlets placed near the interior walls of the home.  This poor duct installation practice creates a need to run high duct static pressures in order to push air all the way from the interior wall to the exterior wall where the majority of the heat enters your home.  This one poor duct design feature creates a host of potential problems.

Definition: Property maintenance relates to the upkeep of a home, apartment, rental property or building – commercial or residential real estate.  Boston Home Management is a property maintenance company.

How to Maintain Real Estate Property – by Boston Home Services

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Boston Home Services Has Extensive Experience in Maintaining Real Estate Properties.

A rental property will not enjoy long term tenant retention and acceptable return on investment unless it is maintained properly. This involves:

  • preventive and ongoing maintenance;
  • repairs to correct problems or malfunctions; and
  • construction and remodel

Preventive and ongoing maintenance to rental properties requires a thorough knowledge of the property, its needs for upkeep, staffing required to accomplish the tasks and budgeting to accomplish them.

The real estate property manager must balance the costs of routine and preventive maintenance with the benefits and desired results. Line items on a property manager’s routine maintenance list might include:

  • cleaning of common areas;
  • landscape maintenance;
  • regular service to heating and air conditioning systems;
  • periodic inspection of plumbing and electrical items; or
  • proper upkeep of wood, roofing & other building components

Repairs and corrective actions are required when things break or cease to function as intended. Sometimes the repair is of an emergency nature, such as a heating malfunction in winter, while at other times these repairs can be scheduled and done efficiently in groups. It is the responsibility of the property manager to know the difference and to serve the needs of the tenants while balancing costs. It’s also important to take care of small problems before they become large ones.

Construction and remodel are a part of facility and building maintenance. Remodel or construction of the structure might be required:

  • for special business requirements of a commercial tenant;
  • to correct obsolescence of the structure; or
  • to accommodate special physical needs of a tenant;
  • A real estate property manager can be very skilled at all the other functions of management, but if they drop the ball when it comes to facility maintenance, the property will experience a degradation of condition, loss of tenants, and declining rents.

    Home and Property Maintenance Schedule and Checklist

    Like a car, your home needs regular maintenance and occasional tune-ups to stay in tip-top shape. Fortunately, you can complete most of the following tasks yourself by following this season-by-season schedule of indoor and outdoor maintenance.

    Spring Home Maintenance

    Home and Property Maintenance Schedule and Checklist. Boston Home Services

    In spring, focus on freshening up your home and protecting your property against the season’s strong winds and rains.

    Outdoor Tasks:

    • Clean gutters and downspouts.
    • Inspect roof and chimney for cracks and damage.
    • Touch up peeling or damaged paint. Watch our video for ideas on troubleshooting exterior paint problems.
    • Wash all windows, inside and out.
    • Install screens on windows and doors.
    • Clean outdoor furniture and air out cushions.
    • Service your lawn mower.
    • Fertilize your lawn.

    Indoor Tasks:

    • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors when you set clocks forward.
    • If your basement has a sump pump, test it by dumping a large bucket of water into the basin of the sump pump. This should activate the sump pump. If it does not switch on or if it’s not pumping water, it may need to be serviced by a professional. Also, check for and remove any debris and make sure there are no leaks.
    • Wash and change seasonal bedding.
    • Dust blinds and vacuum curtains throughout your house.
    • Clean kitchen and bathroom cabinets and throw away outdated food, medicine and cosmetics.

    Summer Home Maintenance

    Pruning Trees and Shrubs

    In summer, complete the following projects to keep your yard lush and your home cool.

    Outdoor Tasks:

    • Walk around your home’s exterior and slide open crawl space vents at the foundation.
    • Prune trees and shrubs.
    • Remove lint from dryer exhaust vent with a long, flexible brush.
    • Uncover central air conditioner and install window air conditioners.
    Indoor Tasks:
    • Change or clean heating, ventilating and air conditioning filters. Consult manufacturer instructions for your furnace to determine whether you need to change filters more frequently.
    • Clean kitchen appliances inside and out, including refrigerator coils.
    • Maintain clean drains by adding a half-cup of baking soda followed by a half-cup of white vinegar. After 10 minutes, flush with boiling water.
    • Drain or flush water heater.

    Fall Home Maintenance

    Rake Leaves

    In fall, prepare your home and yard for cooler temperatures, falling leaves and more hours spent indoors.

    Outdoor Tasks:

    • Clean gutters and downspouts.
    • Inspect roof and chimney for cracks and damage.
    • Rake leaves and shred to use as mulch or dispose of them based on local guidelines.
    • Close or install storm windows.
    • Remove hoses from spigots and drain and store indoors, coiled and flat.
    • Store outdoor furniture and cushions.
    • Test snow blower and have it professionally serviced if necessary.

    Indoor Tasks:

    • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors when you set clocks back in the fall. See our carbon monoxide detector buying guide.
    • Check windows and doors for weather-tightness and install weather stripping where it’s needed.
    • Have furnace professionally inspected.
    • If needed, set traps for rodents.
    • Dust blinds and vacuum curtains throughout your house.
    • Clean kitchen and bathroom cabinets and throw away outdated food, medicine and cosmetics

    Winter Home Maintenance

    In winter, enjoy energy-efficient warmth and the fruits of your home-maintenance labors. Use this time of the year to thoroughly clean and care for your home’s interior while taking a few precautionary measures on the outside.

    Outdoor Tasks:

    • Walk around your home’s exterior and check the crawl space vents located at the foundation. Close any that are open.
    • Protect your central air conditioning unit with a cover, and remove and store window air conditioners.
    • Clean and store garden tools.
    • Move snow shovels and snow blowers to a convenient spot.

    Indoor Tasks:

    • Change or clean furnace filters. Consult manufacturer instructions for your furnace to determine how frequently the filters should be replaced.
    • Clean kitchen appliances inside and out, including refrigerator coils.
    • Maintain clean drains by adding one-half-cup baking soda followed by one-half-cup white vinegar. After 10 minutes, flush with boiling water.

    Boston Handyman Services for Homes and Businesses

    Every project is original and here is how Boston Home Services can help you with yours
    Here are just a few of many ideas how Boston Home Services can help you.

    Just moved? Congrats! You’ll be relaxing in your new space in no time as we get your home feeling like home smoothly and quickly.

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    Hanging Wall Decor? We are experts at that! From pictures to mirrors and shelves, we have you covered. Our team will always come prepared with all proper tools and hardware to get your job done right.

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    Boston Furniture Assembly Let us assemble your furniture – we will save you tons of time and frustration! Setting up your IKEA? Awesome! We are superstars at IKEA furniture assembly. Seriously. Trust us with yourIKEA furniture assembly project in Boston. Our handyman and home services are insured and come with a 6 month warranty.

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    Flat Screen TV Wall-Mounting. Book Boston Home Services to have your TV mounted. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about TV Wall Mounting service.

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    Flat screen TV mounting at a flat rate. We cover Greater Boston area.

    Moving Help.  We can help with the packing, lifting and loading. Just Moved? Get Help to Set Up Your New Home!

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    Interior and Exterior Painting. From small touch ups to larger interior and exterior painting projects. Hire us when a large painting crew is not required.

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    Hire Boston Home Services pro for your painting project.

    Window Treatments. Experts at installing all types of window treatments, including blinds, curtains, shades and shutters.

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    Window Treatments Installing? Boston Home Services has got your back!

    Knobs & Locks. From doorknobs to chain locks, we have you covered.

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    No job too small to Boston Home Services – call us today.

    Drains and Toilets. Sometimes calling a licensed plumber is not necessary. We troubleshoot all sorts minor plumbing issues, replace your toilet with new and lower your expenses for plumbing jobs that do not require a licensed plumber by the Massachusetts Plumbing Code. When your plumbing project requires a licensed plumber we will help you find one.

    Boston Home Services troubleshoot all sorts minor plumbing issues, replace your toilet with new and lower your expenses for plumbing jobs that do not require a licensed plumber by the Massachusetts Plumbing Code
    Call Boston Home Services when a licensed plumber is not necessary.

    Light Fixtures.  When calling a licensed electrician is not necessary we can lower your expenses. We will replace hard to reach high ceiling lightbulbs, install prewired light fixtures, replace light covers and complete electrical jobs that do not require a licensed electrician by the Massachusetts Electrical Code. When your electrical project requires a licensed electrician we will help you find one. 

    We will replace hard to reach high ceiling lightbulbs, install prewired light fixtures, replace light covers and complete electrical jobs that do not require a licensed electrician by the Massachusetts Electrical Code
    To lower your expenses hire Boston’s best handyman team when a licensed electrician is not necessary.

    Power Washing. Oily driveways, mud-caked semi trucks, or barnacle-ridden boats . . . You name it, we’re equipped with specialized power-washing equipment can clean it. Call is for spotless results!

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    Air Conditioner. Save yourself from the summer heat and let our professional handyman install your window AC.

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    Do not see your project listed above? Please call for a consultation #617-651-2582 or Send us an Email.

    Boston Handyman proudly serves the residents of:

    Our technical background is a combination of experience in construction, home repairs and mechanical systems. Our property care services are used by tenants, homeowners and businesses in Boston, Metro Boston, Greater Boston and we are committed to earn your trust.

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    Boston Home Services services: Handyman, IKEA Furniture Assembly, Painting, Flat Screen TV Wall Mounting, Property Management, Cleaning, Gardening, Landscaping, Carpentry and more!

    HOME CLEANING + HOUSEKEEPING FOR THE GREATER BOSTON

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    Property Management, Handyman, Repair, Cleaning Services and much more by BHM of Boston!

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