by Joshua Carrick
If you properly maintained your home last fall, there is a lot to do to get your house out of winter mode and prepared for summer. Turning on the irrigation system and outdoor waters, bringing out your patio furniture and opening your pool for the season are all must-dos before Memorial Day.
However, there are many other preventative maintenance items that need to be done to not only prepare your home for use, but to also protect it against mechanical failure and lost use of your home.
Even though your summer/ weekend house in the Hamptons is used much less than a full time/primary residence, the dryer vents likely build up more lint than normal because of the heavy use washing and drying beach towels and other similar linens. Not only does this lint buildup restrict the exhaust of the dryer, making is harder to get rid of the moist air, thus lengthening dry times and wasting electricity, but it also can lead to lint fires inside your walls. It is strongly recommended to have your dryer vents cleaned each spring.
Similarly, each spring it is standard to have your HVAC system serviced and the air filters replaced. This is usually completed roughly when the weather gets warm enough to turn off the heat and switch on the air conditioning for the season. But often, the ductwork that carries the air throughout your house is ignored. This ductwork can get a buildup of dust from the winter when the house is left vacant and the HVAC turned down very low or left completely off. These cool, dark, damp ducts are usually made of metal, but when there is a buildup of dust, it becomes the perfect breeding ground for mold spores to grown. It is important to ask your HVAC technician to inspect the condition of the ductwork during the spring service. And if needed, the same company that cleans dryer vents can sanitize this ductwork too.
If your home has a generator, this also needs to be serviced each spring. Generators are large engines that require the same kinds of maintenance as your street vehicle. Twice per year, these motors need oil and filter changes, belt tightening, a fluid check/lubrication and a general service to ensure it is running smoothly and properly. And if during the year, you experience any prolonged power outages where the generator runs for multiple days straight, it will need an additional service, like if you took your car on a cross country road trip.
Barbecue grills are another often neglected item. They are heavily used and abused all summer, sitting out in the elements for several months then put away, trapped under a tarp or cover and sit completely unused all winter long. The salt in the air is trapped under those covers and it quickly begins to rust the metal and corrode the inside of the grill. This can especially effect the burner tubes which are raw, untreated metal. And no one wants to cook on a rusty grill grate either. If you don’t get a new inexpensive throw away grill every spring, it is a good idea to have your barbecue disassembled, serviced and sanitized each spring before you start to use it.
Maintenance costs for a part time home can seem unnecessarily expensive, however the long term cost of neglecting a home is exponentially more. When properly maintained, a house and all of its’ systems and components can last for decades. But when left without being properly cared for, they will end up needing to be replaced much sooner. And the replacement cost far exceeds the incremental cost to maintain the same item.