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General Handyperson

Preventative Home Maintenance; Learn from My Mistakes

January 19, 2022


If you’re anything like me, you have enough on your plate. When it comes to home maintenance, out of sight out of mind, right? Well not really. Rather, an old adage comes to mind, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. I have learned that lesson the hard way a time or two. So I humbly offer you my learnings. 


Start here: next time you use your shower or bath, give a quick inspection of the caulking on the perimeters and nooks of the tub or shower. Is it peeling, broken down, or does it have any black stuff growing on it? If the answer is yes, it needs your attention. If the caulking is still intact but has black stuff growing in it, you can take a mix of bleach and water along with a sponge to scrub it away. If there are cracks, gaps, or breaks in the caulking around the tub or shower it will require a bit more work. To repair, you will need a tube of caulking, a caulking gun, masking tape, and tools to scrape away the worn out caulking. A Mavyn Expert can help guide you through the process on a 10 minute Mavyn Chat. Take it from me, those gaps in the caulking allow water to leak through and this can degrade your subflooring leading to bigger, much bigger issues!


Regularly get your HVAC system serviced. Having someone come out and check your system out each fall and spring can help ensure your system will not run into issues when it matters. Sure, your heat and AC seem to work on demand, but inevitably when it fails, it will do so at the worst possible time. This can have profound effects like no AC in the summer, or worse yet frozen pipes. Regular inspection can mitigate the risk of catastrophic issues in the short and long term. Maybe a more tangible indication of value is when you go to sell your home, documentation of regular inspection and maintenance can add reassurance of the HVAC system to any buyer, leading to better sale price. More importantly than all of the above, concerns for carbon monoxide poisoning from a poorly maintained HVAC system are real and are in fact, the best case for regular inspection from a qualified HVAC technician. 


Inspect for and prevent rodent infestation. Blatant signs of a rodent problem include droppings, small chew marks, tiny footprints, nesting (small, focused collections of paper, cloth, etc), or noise such as scampering, scratching, or gnawing. If you see rodents active during the day this can be a sign of a larger infestation, that needs to be addressed aggressively. Keeping in the vein of this article; prevention is key. Most mice can enter your home through a hole no larger than the diameter of a pencil, so godspeed to all of us! But don’t despair, cleaning up clutter and food remnants and sealing up most visible holes with caulking (you can use what’s leftover from your bathroom repair) inside and outside your home will be a big help. Check for holes around the foundation, inside and under cabinets and appliances, around doors and windows (which also helps with heating and AC efficiency), and in the basement and laundry room. Implementing these measures will at least limit their options for entry into your home. 


Lastly, change your oven range ventilation filter. Frankly, I didn’t know there was one there. I thought when I turned on the fan while burning my food, the air would ventilate outside. Well for most of us, this is not the case. The air gets run through a filter and that filtered air is then vented back into the area. Over time, and depending on how much you use your vent, smoke, aerosolized grease, and other particulate matter saturate the filter. This can put added strain on the fan motor which can lead to it burning out. Some manufacturers say you should change that filter every few months. I don’t necessarily buy that, but depending on how much mileage you put on yours, once a year might be more reasonable.


Even the most fastidious of home caretakers can’t prevent things from breaking or failing. We all just hope it is not expensive to fix and doesn’t happen when guests or the in-laws are in town. Utilizing Mavyn, which puts experts at your fingertips, will help you fix or better understand any home maintenance or repair issue you face. With Mavyn you have handy help in your pocket. 


For more information, talk to one of our Handy Experts and get customized advice by submitting a request through one of the following: