Property Maintenance Essentials
Maintaining your property is essential for the health and safety of the occupants and to prevent costly repairs. Staying on-top of a maintenance routine is simple.
- Window cleaning is a simple task that can greatly increase the comfort of your home. Cleaning your windows before winter can allow more light to enter your home, saving you energy and increasing comfort. If you live in an apartment or high-rise, ask your strata manager about the window cleaning schedule.
- Light bulbs are something you may not notice until the shorter days of winter come, keep some spare light bulbs on hand so that you will be ready to replace them when the time comes. Fluorescent lighting degrades with time, even if the light is still working the light output may be much less than new. It is also advisable to clean your light fixtures with a cloth and glass cleaner, dust accumulates on light bulbs and fixtures reducing the available light output.
- GFCI outlets are located in bathrooms, kitchens, and outside of your home. These are special outlets that will turn off if they detect a ground fault in an appliance plugged into the outlet. These can be life saving devices and can prevent electrocution. Test these regularly by pushing the “test” button on the front of the outlet, afterward press “reset” to put it back into operating mode. Note that several plugs may be connected to one GFCI outlet, if one trips off it may interrupt power to other receptacles.
- Smoke alarms should be tested monthly and batteries replaced every 6 months according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Smoke detectors lose their ability to properly detect smoke in time, replacing them by the expiry date could save your life. If you have battery operated smoke detectors, reuse the old batteries in other devices such as flashlights to use the remainder of the charge inside.
- Floor maintenance is very important to ensure longevity and visual appeal. Whether it is hardwood, tile, vinyl, concrete, cork, or carpet there is maintenance to be done. Give your floor a thorough clean with the appropriate detergents, carpet should be steam cleaned. Tile grouting may need extra attention for cleaning and sealing. According to the Residential Tenancy Act, it is the tenants’ responsibility to perform reasonable and periodic cleaning of flooring and carpets. It is also required for tenants to steam clean carpets at the end of tenancy.
- Wash your walls for freshen up your home. You may be alarmed by how much dirt accumulates on your walls. Fill a bucket with a quart of warm water, 1 teaspoon of dish soap, and ¼ teaspoon of white vinegar. It is a legal requirement for tenants to clean finger prints, scuff marks, and dirt from the walls.
- Roof maintenance is important to ensure there are no broken shingles or holes in your roof. It is a good idea to perform periodic inspections of your roof to ensure no shingles have been lifted from windstorms, that all roof vents are securely attached, and that all flashing is secured in place. Look at the general condition of the shingles, as they age they may begin to crack and curl, this is a sign replacement may not be far away
- Hot water tanks are an item you want to replace before it fails. You have probably heard horror stories of flooded basements. Your hot water tank expected life will vary greatly depending on the water source your on. Talk to a local plumber about replacement if the age or condition of your tank is unknown.
- Painting your house not only freshens the look, it protects the structure of the house. Walls that are exposed to direct sunlight can be damaged by the UV rays, keeping a fresh coat of paint on the exterior prevents wood from drying out and cracking.
- Gutters and drainage. It is important to clean your gutters, especially in the spring and fall to remove leafs and other debris that can clog them up. Try using a small shovel to scoop out debris and a garden hose to flush out the gutters. Consider installing gutter guards to turn your gutters into a maintenance free item. Also inspect all downspouts to ensure they are attach and drain away from your house. You want to minimize water accumulating against the foundation of your house. Make this part of your regular inspections and clean them when buildup occurs.
- Changing your property landscaping to low or no maintenance has many benefits for the landlord and tenant. Low maintenance yards will be more appealing to your tenant and will provide a greater assurance the property will be kept looking good. As part of your regular inspection look for sinking concrete slabs or walkways, this could be a sign of a larger underlying problem. A little maintenance to fix a small problem could save you lots of money from doing costly repairs.
- Doors and windows require maintenance, screens deteriorate, door sliders require cleaning and lubricating, handles and latches wear out. Monitoring the condition of these items can allow you to budget repairs and replacements when needed. Keeping your property well maintained will ensure your tenants are happier and that your home will retain its value.
- Furnaces are vital for home comfort and care, have a certified tradesman inspect your furnace annually. Heating elements whether gas or electric should be cleaned, air filters should be changed at regular intervals, and gas burners should be checked and adjusted for proper flame. Schedule a furnace inspection before the heating season to avoid potential break-downs and emergency repairs. Consider installing a quality air filter to reduce dust and allergens in your home.