I love it when the new year rolls around and you find everyone putting out lists for what you should be doing all year long. I can't help but think, "Why didn't I do this all last year?" and kick myself in the leg. That doesn't usually work too well, but once I fall down I realize hey here's a brand new year to start fresh! And I can very easily do a little bit each month to keep your house looking like this....
And not like this by the end of the year...
So Here's the list...
Home Projects Calendar: 2010
BY ALLEN NORWOOD
Make a list of projects you plan to complete during the year. Include small but important chores so you won't overlook them, and big projects so you can budget ahead.
Post important emergency info: Locations of main gas valve, for instance, and contact numbers for heating and cooling services.
Organize garage or shed. Dispose of old paint, and properly. Around here we have the Sedgwick County Household Hazardous Waste Facility: 801 Stillwell, 316-660-7464
Clean lint from dryer exhaust ducts and vents.
Early spring is a good time for interior painting. (Uh-Oh, we've been doing this all year round. I guess we don't mind a little sweat)
Repair window screens and check screening on porches before bug season arrives. Save old screening for patches.
Build or repair fences and arbors.
Repair deck board; remove protruding nails and replace with coated or galvanized screws. Be sure to check and tighten bolts in deck supports.
Clean and seal wood deck as necessary. Deck stains with at least some pigment last longer than clear sealers.
Check foundation. If large cracks develop, call engineer.
Prepare an emergency kit for storm season.
Reverse ceiling fans - they should have been blowing upward during the winter and clean tops of fan blades.
Wash black streaks from roof. Use prepared cleaner (http://www.shingleshield.com/), or mix your own: Combine one part chlorine bleach with three parts water and a handful of trisodium phosphate. Apply to small section of roof with garden sprayer, let soak 20 minutes, rinse with hose.
Wash siding and gutters with similar solution.
Scrape and touch up exterior paint, pay special attention to window sills, gable vents, and garage doors.
Complete larger exterior painting jobs. Follow the shade - don't paint in direct sun - and quit before dusk so the paint can dry before dew forms. For most exterior jobs, look for 100% acrylic, and buy at least the "better quality".
Clean gas grill and replace any rusted or damaged parts.
Check crawl space for moisture and remove debris. If you spot signs of termites, call a pro.
Vacuum coils behind refrigerators and freezers to ensure proper operation.
Check supply hoses to washing machines. If hoses are soft or cracked, replace them.
Remove toe panel from front of dishwasher and check for leaks under the appliance.
Test GFCI circuit breakers, especially those that supply power to freezers in garages.
Be sure air conditioner's condensation drip tubes are flowing freely. If they're clogged, clear with wet/dry vacuum.
Trim shrubs away from heat pump compressors, and trim those blocking crawl space ventilation.
Flush water heater as needed. Be sure to turn off power before draining, and refill before restoring power.
Call heating service to schedule fall heating system checkup.
If you smell a musty odor during peak air-conditioning season, check ducts for leaks. Repair leaks with mastic - not duct tape.
Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and replace batteries.
Caulk around windows and doors. If you're going to paint, choose a caulk that's paintable. Pay special attention to places where dissimilar materials such as brick and wood meet.
Add weather stripping around pull-down stairs and attic access holes; insulate backs of panels.
Vacuum gas logs, and be sure they're properly seated before operating.
Add ne sweeps to the bottoms of exterior doors as needed to block cold air. Use a candle to determine whether drafts are getting through gaps.
Reverse those ceiling fans again. They should blow upward in the winter.
Clean gutters. Use hose to be sure downspouts are flowing freely; they can clog at bends.
If your water heater is warm to touch, and in an undeated garage or utility room, wrap it with insulated blanket. Be sure wrap doesn't interfere with pressure relief valve.
Drain and winterize irrigation system; the backflow preventer is most vulnerable.
Seal holes in foundation, especially spots around pipes and wires where rodents might enter. GROSS!
Create a fire escape plan for family and practice it. Be sure fire extinguishers are properly filled. Make sure household chemicals are out of reach of children. Post poison hot-line number near phone. The national hotline is 800-222-1222, which connects callers to local centers.
Well, there you have it. You can now take proper care of your house. Good luck following through with it, and hey if you fall short, there's always next year.