Preventive vs. Corrective Maintenance (Condos)

Broken dishwasherYou’re probably aware by now that you need to maintain your condo. Your builder told you, your Homeowner Maintenance Guide lays it out for you, you receive this email each month reminding you. But in the busyness of life, most of us probably still revert to corrective maintenance instead of preventive maintenance. Corrective = wait and fix it once it breaks. Preventive = maintain it so it lasts as long as it’s intended to.

But there are good reasons to take a preventive maintenance approach to caring for your condo. You’ll save time and money in the long run. (Just like a car, which is more affordable and schedule-friendly — regular oil changes or a new engine?)  Along that same logic, it makes more sense to replace deteriorating caulking ($10) rather than deal with water damage (thousands of dollars). Following is a quick list of the areas you want to make sure to care for on a preventive basis (see your Homeowner Maintenance Guide for other maintenance tasks that shouldn’t be neglected):

1. Everything water related. This doesn’t just apply to your plumbing fixtures and piping, although that’s a big part of it. It also includes maintaining what is called the “envelope” of your home – the components that keep the elements out. Your windows and doors are susceptible to damage or deterioration that can result in serious water damage should they fail and water is able to enter your condo from the outside.

2. Mechanical components. All those electricity and gas consuming appliances not only have motors and other parts that need periodic attention, but greatly affect the efficiency of your home and the cost of your utility bills. We’ve said it before, but your air conditioning and heating system DO require regular maintenance – an annual service call and monthly to quarterly filter changes. Without maintenance it will not only work less efficiently but may actually fail long before it should. Your refrigerator may cease to work if the coils become too clogged with dust. A stopped up dryer vent can not only cause your dryer to stop working altogether or work inefficiently, but can also pose a fire danger.

* For electrical concerns, possible plumbing issues, or any other potentially dangerous inspections, please consult a licensed, bonded and insured professional.

March Maintenance Recommendations

checklist-for-home-1Appliances – Clean the filter screen on your cooktop/range hood vent. Check your dryer vent and ductwork. Click HERE for a video on how to clean your filter screen.
Caulking – Inspect caulk joints around your plumbing fixtures, doors, and windows.
Electrical – Test your AFCI’s and GFCI’s. Click HERE for a video on testing your AFCI’s, and HERE for one on testing your GFCI’s.
Fireplace – If you have a fireplace, check the chimney or vent system for obstructions. If you have a manufactured gas fireplace, refer to the owner’s manual for information on how to inspect the flame patterns and sensor tips.
HVAC – Change the air filter. Clean the registers. Clean filters in bathroom exhaust fans. Click HERE for a video on changing your furnace filter.
Plumbing – Inspect for leaks around plumbing fixtures and appliances that use water (garbage disposal, refrigerator, dishwasher, washing machine). Check water connections. Listen for running water to help locate unseen leaks.
Exterior – Inspect weatherstripping around doors – there should be a tight seal against the door surface when the door is shut. This is also a good time to do a mid-season check of your roof and gutters to make sure they’ve weathered the storms already this season and are ready to face the rest! Make sure that light fixtures are tight against the wall. Check your balconies, decks, and patios to ensure water is draining properly. Click HERE for a video on how to weatherstrip a door.

Corrective vs. Preventive Maintenance

Broken dishwasherYou’re probably aware by now that you need to maintain your home. Your builder told you, your Homeowner Maintenance Guide lays it out for you, you receive this email each month reminding you. But in the busyness of life, most of us probably still revert to corrective maintenance instead of preventive maintenance. Corrective = wait and fix it once it breaks. Preventive = maintain it so it lasts as long as it’s intended to.

But there are good reasons to take a preventive maintenance approach to caring for your home. You’ll save time and money in the long run. (Just like a car, which is more affordable and schedule-friendly — regular oil changes or a new engine?)  Along that same logic, it makes more sense to replace deteriorating caulking ($10) rather than deal with water damage (thousands of dollars). Following is a quick list of the areas you want to make sure to care for on a preventive basis (see your Homeowner Maintenance Guide for other maintenance tasks that shouldn’t be neglected):

1. Everything water related. This doesn’t just apply to your plumbing fixtures and piping, although that’s a big part of it. It also includes maintaining what is called the “envelope” of your home – the components that keep the elements out. Your roof, siding, windows, doors, vents, and sealants are all susceptible to damage or deterioration that can result in serious water damage should they fail and water is able to enter your home from the outside.

2. Mechanical components. All those electricity and gas consuming appliances not only have motors and other parts that need periodic attention, but greatly affect the efficiency of your home and the cost of your utility bills. We’ve said it before, but your air conditioning and heating system DO require regular maintenance – an annual service call and monthly to quarterly filter changes. Without maintenance it will not only work less efficiently but may actually fail long before it should. Your refrigerator may cease to work if the coils become too clogged with dust. A stopped up dryer vent can not only cause your dryer to stop working altogether or work inefficiently (it happened to me!), but can also pose a fire danger.

3. Landscaping. Maintaining your landscaping is more than just keeping things looking pretty. It’s keeping your house and property protected. Your irrigation system should be set to only water what is needed – anything more will result in runoff and unnecessarily high water bills. Sprinklers should always point away from your home and hardscape. Water should always drain away from your home to the designed drainage path and not stand along your foundation.  Bare slopes or dirt areas can be eroded away and affect the slope of your property. Trees should be trimmed so as not to impact your house or nearby power lines in windy conditions.

* For roof inspections, electrical concerns, possible plumbing issues, or any other potentially dangerous inspections, please consult a licensed, bonded and insured professional.

Getting Organized: Reduce the Clutter

Organized HouseSimplicity is the ultimate sophistication. – Leonardo DaVinci

In the third installment of our series on organization, we’re going to look at reducing clutter in our homes. I’d wager that most of us struggle with this, especially those of us with kids!  Clutter in our homes often equals clutter in our minds…it’s hard to feel peace or even remotely in control of life when our homes are cluttered and messy.

But take heart – there is hope for that kitchen counter, entryway, or play area! We scoured Pinterest for the best organization blogs and posts, and bring you our favorites:

Reduce Clutter to Improve Your Happiness

Storage and Organization for a Small Home

10 Foolproof Ways to Reduce Clutter

How to Reduce Clutter to Reduce Stress

One of the best organizational tips we’ve come across in the past year has been the Kitchen Command Center. Most of us already have one cabinet or drawer that is essentially is “junk” cabinet – where all the miscellany of our lives end up, mailers and catalogs, bills, coupons, receipts, etc.This inspiring blog shows how to organize it into a spot where everything has a place. No more lost receipts, misplaced coupons, or piles of unopened mail. You can use inexpensive baskets and containers you already have, but pretty containers would make the space even more special!

What organizational ideas have worked best for you? We’d love to hear them! Put your thoughts in the comments section!

Also, see our Reduce the Clutter Pinterest board for more ideas…