Jon Eakes

Weekly Maintenance for your Home

January – Week 02

Just like preventative maintenance on your car, if you take care of a few small items around the house every week, you can avoid many emergency breakdowns and expensive repairs.

Inspecting the Roof

Winter water damage can be avoided by keeping an eye on the build-up of ice on the edge of your roof. Step out away from the house and take a good look at the roof, perhaps even use a pair of binoculars to "get up close" without a ladder. Climbing a ladder in winter time is a rather dangerous undertaking and is best left to professionals with safety equipment. If you see ice cycles or the build-up of ice on the edge of the roof, it is best to arrange some drainage paths for the water that is probably accumulating behind the ice, and I am not talking about chopping at your roof with a hatchet while on the top of a ladder. Drainage paths are made either with electrical de-icing cables or some non-corrosive-salt melters. Drainage paths, of course, are a temporary action to prevent water from backing up under the shingles and flowing into the house. The real solution is to identify the cause of the ice build-up, almost always specific heat loss from the house, through the attic, into the snow pack on the roof. The first step in a permanent solution is to take photos of all ice problems during the winter. In the spring, when proper work on the roof and in the attic can be undertaken, those photos will act like a road map for locating the heat losses that need to be sealed off. Check out the Search tab above for extended information on "Ice Dams".

Floor Registers

Examine the floor, or particularly carpets, around the floor registers of a forced air heating system. It is common to have a bit of dirt here simply because when the air sneaks around the floor grill frame it flows a bit through the carpet and the carpet acts like a filter, trapping dust that is in the air stream. If this dirt is greasy or oily, that can be a first sign that there is a serious problem with the heat exchanger of your furnace. This indicates that some of the gasses that should be going up the chimney have found their way into the house. Oily streaks around floor registers means that you should immediately call a furnace serviceman to inspect your furnace for heat exchanger problems. If you just have dirt streaks you have no serious problem, but if you want to stop the dirt from collecting, use weather-stripping products like the self-adhesive foam strips to seal the frame of the floor grill to the metal ducting below, forcing all the air to go through, rather than around, the grill.