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The start of a new season is the perfect time to inspect the outside and inside of your home. This will help you ensure everything is working properly and help reduce problems.

 The following are guidelines that will help you be better prepared for extreme weather conditions.
• Have the roof checked and make any small repairs now. Check for leaks.
• Check siding for cracks and holes; fill with caulking as necessary. Clean siding. Paint or seal wood siding.
   Joints where materials meet should be caulked.
• Inspect wood framing for termites; re-treat as necessary.
• Check weather stripping on all doors and windows. Replace where necessary. Install foam inserts in electrical receptacles on exterior walls.
• Place weatherproof cover on window air conditioner or completely remove air conditioner from window.
• Drain outside faucets. Remove all garden hoses.
• Check garage door for balance.
• Check insulation wherever possible (in the attic) ; replace or add as necessary. (Consult a professional if you are not familiar with this process)
• Make sure window seals are in good condition.
• Call a professional to service your heating system, heat pump, and humidifier. (If you haven’t done so recently)
• Walk around your house and make sure all heat vents are clear and clean.
• Change filters on furnace at the beginning of the heating season and every month there after, even during the cooling season because the fan
   is still working.
• Drain 2 – 3 gallons of water from the hot water heater and remove sediment from bottom of tank; clean burner surfaces; adjust burners
• Turn on the humidifier. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to check and clean the humidifier.
• Vacuum dust from refrigerator coils. (See “Refrigerators” page for more information on your refrigerator)
• Inspect the insulation (if any) on the water pipes and water heater. Adjust or replace where necessary.
• Check your door sweeps for wear and proper fit.
• Check your window weather-stripping for wear and proper fit.
• Vacuum refrigerator coils. (See “Refrigerators” page for more information on your refrigerator)

Outside Annual Check List:
• Check all weather stripping and exterior caulking.
• Clean gutters and downspouts. Clear out all outside drains regularly.
• Check wood, vinyl and aluminum siding for signs of mold or mildew.
• Check all door and window screens; patch or replace as needed. Clean exterior doors and garage doors; refinish when necessary.
• Check concrete or block foundation for cracks or surface deterioration. Consult a professional if you have any leaking or severe cracking.
• Check A/C unit drain line for clogs. Attach a wet/dry vacuum to the drain line outside (remove the paper filter first) and suck any clogs out.
• Check the garage door for balance.
Inside Annual Check List:
• Have your dryer’s exhaust duct cleaned. (See “Dryers” page for more information on your dryer)
• Drain 2 – 3 gallons of water from the hot water heater and remove sediment from bottom of tank; clean burner surfaces; adjust burners.Do a     visual inspection of the water heater’s air intake screen. Clean lint accumulations. (See “Water Heaters” page for more information on your       water heater.)
• Have the water heater’s anode rod inspected by a professional. (See “Water Heaters” page for more information on your water heater.)
• Check the sump pump, make sure it is working properly. Remember to always clean out any debris or accumulated sediment. Make sure it is powered and running at all times. Clean out any blockage in the inlet suction screen.
• Clean drapes and blinds; repair as needed.
• Turn the humidifier on.
• Inspect A/C unit for proper operation.
• Inspect attic for proper ventilation.
• Check the seals on the refrigerator and freezer to make sure the cold air is not leaking. Vacuum dust from the refrigerator coils. (See “Refrigerators” page for more information on your refrigerator)
• Check basement walls and floors for dampness; if too moist, contact a professional.
Caulk around windows.
Aside from the seasonal routine maintenance there are other, more frequent tasks you should remember to follow up with.
Monthly tasks:
• Replace filters on furnace every 1-2 months.
• Test Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCIs).
• Direct outdoor sprinklers away from the house during summer time.

Quarterly Tasks
• Close and open the main water and all individual supply shutoff valves, this will ensure that it does not get stuck in the open position.
• Check and repair faucet leaks. Clean aerators on faucets. Use a rust or scale remover to return them to normal condition or replace where necessary.
• Check caulking around the inside of your home.
• Do a reversal test of your garage door.
• Vacuum around the base of your water heater for dust, dirt, and lint. (See “Water Heaters” page for more information on your water heater.)
• Clean out window weep holes.
• Inspect your garage door and opener for proper operation.
• Check cords and plugs of all electrical appliances for wear.
• Check all door hardware and tighten as needed.
• Change the batteries in your garage door remote control units.
• Replace the batteries to your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and thermostats.
• Have your roof inspected by a professional every 3 years.
• Have your carpet cleaned every 3-5 years depending on your family’s lifestyle.
• Replace flexible gas connectors and clothes washer supply hoses every 10 years.
When Going on Vacation follow these steps to prepare your home when you will be absent for an extended amount of time.
This will help you avoid unwanted surprises and ensure that everything is working properly when you return.

Prepare your home:
Slightly lower the heat, but be careful not to lower it too much, water pipes run the risk of freezing and bursting in cold weather. A solution is to drain the water system.
To drain the system, shut off the main valve and turn on every water fixture (both hot and cold lines) until water stops running. If desired, only
one valve should be left open, preferably one in the lowest part of your house, to allow air to flow through and excess water to drain, the rest should be closed.
Always turn off all water-using appliances when completely turning off the water source, such as water heaters and humidifiers.

Disconnect all water hoses.
To save money and electricity, turn down the water heater and unplug all televisions and appliances. This may also help prevent damages from electrical storms and power surges.
Turn off your water heater at the electrical breaker panel; this will protect the heating element and reduce your use of electricity while you are away.
Security Measures:

In case of emergency, provide a trusted neighbor with a spare house key and let him or her know where you can be reached while out of town.
Don’t make your vacation departure obvious. If you can, pack the car with the garage door down so not everyone knows you’re leaving.
If the trip is longer than a week, arrange to have someone mow the lawn.
Have the post office hold your mail while you’re away. Simply go to the post office, fill out a form, and they will hold the mail for up to 30 days. Arrange to have a trusted neighbor come by to pick up any newspapers, flyers or packages for which the post office isn’t responsible.
Don’t draw all of the curtains shut. Sheers also help in obscuring the view into the house and aren’t as obvious as closed drapes or curtains.
Set a few electrical timers in different places in the house. During the day, have one of the timers connected to a radio or a television. At dusk, set up a timer to turn on lights in a different room, like a bedroom or living room. Turn telephone ringers off.

Cover garage windows with mini-blinds to prevent passersby from seeing valuables and a car-less garage. Put a padlock in the track on your garage door to prevent burglars from jacking up the garage door using a crowbar, or just unplug your automatic garage-door opener.
Have a neighbor use your garbage cans if you’re going to be away for more than a week.
Have a neighbor park their car in your driveway to give the impression that someone is home.
Some police departments have vacation check programs. Notify them, and generally they will do a routine check of the house. While some will only drive by and look for suspicious activity,some will get out of their vehicles and inspect the grounds looking for any break-ins.

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