Check your homeowner manual for your "Maintenance Checklist by Season" located at the end of section 9 in the manual.
Tips and Helpful Hints
You can find all of these tips and more in your Halminen Homes Homeowner Manual.
Plan in Advance:
-Ask a neighbour to keep an eye on the property. If possible, provide them with a way to reach you while you are away.
-If you will be gone an especially long time (more than two weeks) consider arranging for a house sitter.
-Arrange for someone to mow the lawn or shovel snow.
-Notify local security personnel or police of the dates you will be away. Also stop mail, newspapers and other deliveries.
-Confirm that all insurance policies that cover your property and belongings are current and provide sufficient coverage.
-Mark valuable items with identifying information. Consider whether you have irreplaceable items that should be stored in a bank vault or security box.
As you leave:
-Forward phone calls to a relative or close friend.
-Unplug computers and other electronic devices that might be harmed in an electric storm.
-Leave window coverings in their most typical positions.
-Confirm that all doors and windows are locked and the deadbolts are engaged.
-Shut off the main water supply. Set the thermostat on the water heater to "vacation" to save energy.
-Store items such as your lawn mower, bicycles or ladders in the garage.
-Disengage the garage door opener (follow manufacturer's instructions.)
-If possible, leave a second vehicle in the driveway.
-Summer: Turn your air conditioner fan to on. Set the thermostat to 78 degrees F.
-Train all of your family members to ensure they know what escape routes exist in your home and practise evacuation by conducting fire drills.
-Test the smoke detectors for function and to ensure that everyone recognizes the sound and how to react. Remember to clean and maintain all detectors as per the manufacturer's directions.
-Teach all children how and when to call 911 as well as safe use of appliances such as irons and toasters.
-Have at least one general use fire extinguisher and instruct all family members in its location and use.
-Avoid overloading electrical outlets and ensure that all electrical cords are in good repair.
-Keep the range hood filter (found in the fan above your stove or cooktop) to prevent the potential of a grease fire.
-Always allow space for cooling around electrical equiment and ensure they are kept clean.
-Store volatile materials (paint, gasoline for the lawn mower, etc.) in appropriate containers, away from flames (such as pilot lights) or heat sources.
-If you have a wood burning fireplace:
-Arrange for professional cleaning at appropriate intervals.
-Maintain the spark arrester on the chimney.
-Never use liquid fire starters (such as for a charcoal barbeque) in an indoor fireplace.
-Use a screen or glass doors when a fire is burning.
-Confirm the fire is out before closing the flue.
-Do not leave the fireplace unattended while a fire is burning.
-During holidays, ensure that all cords and connections are in good condition and of appropriate capacity for electrical decorations.
-If you decide to remodel, finish the basement, or add onto your home, obtain a building permit and work with trained professionals. Ensure that all building department inspections occur and that the work complies with all applicable codes. This also applies to installing a gas line for an ourdoor barbeque, a gas fireplace, clothes dryer, and so on.
Heating and Cooling
-Maintain all your home's systems in a clean and good working order to prevent inconvenience and maximize efficiency. Arrange for a professinoal to service heat and air conditioning systems a minimum of once every two years.
-Keep filters clean or replace them regularly.
-If you have a zoned system (more than one furnace and separate controls) think through operating schedules and temperature settings to maximize energy consumption.
-During cold days, open window coverings to allow the sun to warm your home. Close them when the sun begins to set.
-Limit use of your fireplace in extremely cold or windy weather when the chimney draft will draw room air out at an exteme rate.
-During the winter, humidifying the air in your home allows the air to retain more heat and is a general health benefit. Note: If condensation develops on your windows, you have taken a good thing too far and need to lower the setting on the humidifier. Avoid use of the humidifier when you are using your air conditioner.
-Ceiling fans and whole house fans cost little to operate and the moving air allows you to feel cooler at temperatures several degrees higher. Avoid running whole house fans at the same time as your air conditioning.
-Plan landscaping elements that support efficient energy use:
-Deciduous trees provide shade during the summer and permit solar warming in winter.
-Evergreen trees and shrubs can create a windbreak and reduce heating costs.
-Position trees to shade the roof and still allow good air flow around the house.
-Plant shrubs and trees to shade the air conditioner without obstructing air flow around the unit.
Water and Water Heater
-Set your water heater at 120 degrees if your dishwasher has a water booster heater. If not, set the water heater at 140 degrees.
-Follow the steps outlined in the manufacturer's directions for draining water from your water heater in order to remove accumulated hard-water scale that builds up inside the tank. Timing will depend on the nature of your water supply.
-Correct plumbing leaks, running toilets or dripping faucets as soon as possible.
-If you have a swimming pool, consider using solar heating power.
-In selecting your home's appliances, compare the information on the Energy Guide sticker (yellow and black.) Sometimes spending a bit more up front can reduce operating costs over the life of the appliance, conserving energy at the same time.
-Use cold water when operating your disposal. This not only saves hot water you pay to heat, but also preserves the disposal motor.
-When baking, preheat your oven just five minutes before you use it. When possible, bake several items at the same time or at least consecutively. Turn the oven off a few minutes before the baking time is done.
-Run the dishwasher when it has a full load and use the air-dry cycle.
-Refrigerators with the freezer on top generally use significantly less energy than side-by-side models. Select an appropriate size for your needs; two small refrigerators use more energy than one large one.