Here are few things you may want to consider doing in and around you home…courtesy of one of our Austin real estate inspectors, Bob Petersen at Precision Inspection.
Keep your A/C filter clean.
A dirty one REALLY increases your electric bill. The best kind to use is the wavy paper type, kind of like what you have in your car’s engine. If you haven’t had your ac checked in the last few years, have it serviced. The outside and inside ‘coils’ get dirty & use more electricity. If your ac unit is in a closet upstairs PLEASE have an automatic shutoff switch put in the drain line to prevent an accidental overflow of the unit. If this happens, water will drip out of your downstairs ceiling ! (and if your floors are wood, they’ll get wet too)
Test your smoke detectors.
Test all the gfi outlets in your home. If they don’t trip off when you push the ‘test’ button , they are defective and must be replaced.
Get a Termite Inspection
If you haven’t had a termite inspection done in the last 12 mos., GET ONE. They are very prevalent in this area and both my neighbors across the street had them as have I! Remember though that if someone says you have them, ask to see them. Termites in your fence, landscape timbers, mulch or driveway expansion joint don’t count and will not harm your house!
Check your toilets to see if they’re ‘running’.
Often they’ll make no noise but will increase your water bill substantially. If you see small ripples on the surface of the water in the toilet bowl, it’s not shutting off as it should (or if it occasionally refills itself, the flapper is leaking). Put food coloring into the tank, if it shows up in the bowl, you’re wasting water.
Speaking of water, don’t use your lawn sprinkler in the automatic mode. Leave it off and watch your lawn, when it needs a drink just run the system thru one program. This will save you tons of water and money. Your lawn will be fine. Be sure to only water on the days allowed by the City for your address.
Convert to Flourescent Bulbs.
Buy and use the new small flourescent light bulbs, they’re a LOT more efficient that the standard bulbs you’re used to and last almost forever.
A word about roofing.
I’ve noticed several new roofs going on in my 14 year old neighborhood and was wondering why! No hail big enough to cause damage has EVER come thru here and the 20 yr. shingles we all have WILL last 20 yrs. Beware if someone says you need a new roof, you probably don’t. DO cut the tree limbs off your roof as they damage the shingles AND allow mice, rats, squirrels and wood ants into your attic. If you haven’t cleaned out your gutters in the last year, they need it ! (I recommend screens on top of your gutters as well)
Check Water Heater
If your water heater is more than 15 yrs. old, replace it (especially if it’s in the attic)! At this point, it owes you nothing and if it leaks, you won’t notice it for quite awhile and by then water damage WILL have occurred. Pay an extra $20 & have a drain pan put under the new tank. The new tankless units are good but very expensive, $1000 and up plus installation so your ‘payback’ period is quite long.
Precision Inspection (Since 1983 in Austin)