Your new home, while mostly maintenance free, will still need some attention. We have provided a list of things to pay attention to based on the season. Click on any season above to see those tips.
If the caulking around your bathtub, shower, or sink appears dried or cracked, remove the old caulking and replace it. If you do not have a caulking gun, caulking material can be bought in applicator tubes or in disposable caulking guns. It is a good idea to fill the bathtub before caulking. This is a high maintenance area and it is very important that all caulking joints be checked and maintained on a regular basis (every 3 months or as needed). Shower enclosures should be wiped down with towel, cloth, or squeegee after each use to help prevent mold, mildew, or soap residue build-up.
Keep all countertop seams dry. Maintain caulking between wall and countertop backsplash to prevent moisture from accumulating behind cabinets.
Have the chimney inspected and cleaned. Each fall, as fireplace usage begins, our service department receives calls regarding smoking fireplaces: that is, smoke is coming into the room and not going up the chimney to avoid this problem and other potential difficulties with your fireplace it is important to consider the following: Before using the fireplace, be certain the chimney damper is open. After use, close the damper so conditioned air will not escape through the chimney. If you have glass fireplace doors remember to close them when no one is in the room. NOTE: Some of our homes have vent-less fireplaces so this step is not necessary.
Make sure the flashing around the chimney or vent pipes is watertight.
Most driveways, walks and patios in Essex Homes SE, Inc. homes are constructed of concrete or asphalt. We have anticipated normal stresses on these concrete areas and have provided contraction and expansion control joints to minimize cracking; however, cracking is one of the characteristics of concrete and a method of entirely eliminating cracks is still sought. Unanticipated cracking sometimes occurs from unforeseeable conditions, such as severe frost or changes in home site grade, which prevents proper runoff from rain or watering. Ordinarily, the cracks are of no serious consequence. NOTE: You should avoid applying salt to concrete or asphalt, as it will deteriorate the surface of these materials. To assist you in having traction on ice you may use sand.
The panel contains the main shut-off breaker to your home, along with individual circuit breakers to labeled circuits. An overloaded circuit breaker 'trips' and turns off power to the circuit, protecting the wire from overheating. To reset breaker, first switch breaker all the way to 'Off', then to 'On'. CAUTION: A circuit that continues to 'trip' may signify an electrical problem which should be repaired by a licensed electrician. It is advisable to maintain clearance around the panel for easy access in an emergency situation.
Foundation vents should remain open at all time except in the event of extreme cold; Close during winter months.
Silicone spray is available at many hardware stores and may be used on hinges to help eliminate squeaks.
Have a heating professional do a routine-check before cold weather arrives. Vacuum vents and other heating components.
We recommend draining this once every 12 months. Every 6 months, check the temperature and pressure relief valve on the hot water heater to be certain the lever works properly. If the thermostat should fail to operate properly, this valve would prevent dangerous increase in water temperature and pressure. Consult the owners manual for more detailed information.
We do not recommend turning the heat down lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit or shutting it off, due to possibly freezing or bursting pipes during the winter.
Your Essex Homes Se, Inc. home has been designed to provide the proper insulation for our climate. Open doors, windows, fireplace flues and clogged filters are more often the cause of inadequate cooling or heating than deficient insulation. A lack of proper window treatments can also prevent the heating/cooling system from functioning properly.
If your home has a pitched roof, the space between the ceiling and the roof may have louvered openings. Louvered openings should remain unobstructed all year round.
The window and door screens in your Essex Homes SE, Inc. home are constructed of good quality nylon. They never need painting or other preservatives. A gentle washing and hosing about once a year is all that is needed for maintenance. Should it be needed, replacement nylon screen is available from any good hardware store. It is not necessary to remove window screens in the winter, although many people prefer to do so.
Add or replace worn weather-stripping around doors and windows. Replace worn door sweeps at the bottom of doors.
Smoke detectors are wired directly to your house wiring system, and also have a battery backup for your safety. They are installed in locations specified by local building code. Smoke detectors should be tested and cleaned periodically. During a power failure, the smoke detectors signals a lack of power by an intermittent beeping.
Termites cause major damage to structures, it is highly recommended that you maintain an inspection and treatment program after the first year. Do not store wood in the crawl space as it could easily become a prime breeding area for termites.
Take care of known issues with pipes that freeze. Heat tape can be used to keep them warm during extremely cold weather. Learn how to turn off water at its source so that you can stop leaks immediately if they start.
Check the foundation and siding for cracks or gaps. Repair as necessary. Drain garden hoses, roll them up, and store them inside. Under no circumstances should hoses or any other attachments be allowed to remain connected to hose bibs during cold weather. If connected, then water comes back in the bib from hose, freezes and causes the bib to shatter.