Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

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Gutter Cleaning

clean the gutters every fallCleaning the gutters is a task homeowners commonly put on their fall maintenance checklist, but mostly just for good housekeeping. The truth is cleaning the gutters will not only promote good drainage but also help prevent ice damming. Ice damming occurs when water gets trapped and freezes when the temperatures drop.

Take care when using a ladder to clean the leaves, sticks and other debris out of the gutters. Place the debris in a bucket or drop it to the ground. Pull the downspout strainer out and clear away any debris. Use a garden hose to clear out all the tiny bits still remaining.

Drain Water Heater Sediment

Minerals and small bits of debris collect at the bottom of the water heater over time and promote corrosion. This sediment should be drained to prolong the life of your water heater and avoid possible water damage.

Start by turning down the temperature to the lowest setting if your have a gas powered water heater. If it is electric, then simply power down the unit. This is done so the unit doesn’t try to heat the water while it is being drained. Attach a garden hose to the drain valve while taking care not to over tighten if it is a plastic connection. Place the other end in a tub or outside. Slowly open the valve and let the water start draining. It is important not to open it too fast or sediment will be kicked up inside the water tank. Have a partner check the other end for water color. It will most likely start out as a yellowish color. As soon as it turns clear close the drain valve. Remove the garden hose and turn the power back to normal levels.

Consider using a chemical solution to loosen up the sediment and sludge before draining. Find a commercial product designed for this purpose and follow the instructions. Adding this step can help you to more effectively clean the tank.

You can also change the cathodic anode if it is too corroded. It is located inside the water tank and attached by a hex nut on the top. This rod helps to neutralize otherwise corrosive minerals. However, a new cathodic anode might make your hot water smell or taste a little different at first.

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Tyler Golberg

Tyler is the founder of Home Maintenance Tracker and a writer for HomeSpot HQ, an easy to use tool for managing maintence and projects for every house.