A homeowner’s worst nightmare is waking up to freezing cold temperatures on the coldest days of winter and realizing the furnace is not working. However, the inconvenience and repair cost are often preventable during those untimely interruptions. Scheduling preventative maintenance can save money in the long run and keep you warm.
“We push preventative maintenance because it is a must,” says Kirk Fry, HVAC manager at RT Hampton Plumbing & Heating, located in Massillon. “Many people let maintenance go and end up with flooded basements, clogged furnaces and algae caused by moisture. There is a lot you can do to save the day in many situations.”
Industry professionals recommend spring and fall as the best times to have home appliances on the inside and grounds outside checked and prepared for spring. Servicing central air conditioning units in the spring is important because they are known to take in dust from mulch, which can cause damage to motors and compressors.
Spring is also an ideal time to check drains, sump pumps, hot water tanks, water softeners and HVAC units.
“The situation with sump pumps is that you don’t want to wait until your basement is filled with water to check. They should be serviced two to three times a year. Whether checking an HVAC or a humidifier, anytime water is sitting around it can create algae. During maintenance checks, we will often go out and put a chlorinated pill in the drain, and that kills algae and makes it wash through,” says Kirk.
This is also a good time to put a reminder on the calendar for a fall check up on the furnace when temperatures begin to drop. A dirty furnace filter can be the culprit for damaged fans, motors and overheated bearings. Simply changing the filter every three months can remove dust and allergens and allow air flow. Beyond this, experts can clean the unit and coils as well as check electrical components, amps and make sure everything is operating correctly inside during routine service.
As spring ushers in showers, outdoor maintenance is equally important. Advanced planning will help avoid expenses including plant replacement as well as damage caused by more complex issues like lingering water around foundations that can cause drainage concerns. Routine maintenance also improves a yard’s appearance which impacts curb appeal and property values.
Landscape experts not only maintain well-kept lawns, carefully tend to plants and remove yard debris, but they can identify issues that may lead to pest intrusions and soil erosion. According to Bryan Rice of Rice’s Landscapes Redefined, frequent trimming and pruning are necessary to keep greenery in peak shape and applying fertilizer will stimulate growth. Plants that are not maintained are more susceptible to drought, infestation and loss of nutrients.
He says mulch is extremely important around plants and shrubs and saves water because it helps maintain moisture and improve soil health.
Rice’s tips for a well-maintained lawn
- Prune. Landscape professionals can identify plants, trees and bushes that should be pruned.
- Aerate soil. Aeration increases infiltration of water into the ground and improves water flow to the plant's root zone, reduces water runoff.
- Prevent weeds. Weeds can grow, become invasive and cause issues with insects and pests.
“A well-maintained outdoor living space provides a comfortable, beautiful place for family and friends to relax and enjoy. Having a yard that is properly cared for offers a sense of pride and people often experience less stress,” Bryan says.