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July Home Maintenance Tips
I was planting some annuals the other day, and I needed to clean up a mess I made in the garage. I grabbed the shop vac and decided to take a look inside the canister before I used it. I could not believe what I saw in there. Whoever used it last had vacuumed up some water, but didn’t drain the canister so it had this grungy, stinky water in it and the filter was all damp and mushy. Just because someone was too lazy to take care of the shop vac after using it, the quick little job of cleaning up my mess from planting turned into a big job that took way longer than I had time for. In case you haven’t guessed, that someone was me.   
 
Life is so much easier when you keep up with regular maintenance of everything you own. When you need to use your car to get somewhere you need to be, you don’t want to find out that weak battery you’ve known about for weeks has finally decided to completely die. Just like your car, or shop vac, your home requires lots of regular, timely maintenance. It is much less expensive to keep an exterior joint caulked than to wait for the wood to rot and have to replace it. If you can get on a regular schedule of doing maintenance, you can spread the work out over the entire year and it won’t be such a burden all at once.  
 
The summer solstice has passed and July will be officially here in a couple days. What should you be doing now? Here is a list of things to do in the month of July. You should be able to do most of these tasks yourself, but if you need help, you can always contact me and I have many people I can recommend for you to hire. I hope you didn’t think I was going to help you.  
 
Clean and Stain Decks. Don’t use a pressure sprayer if you don’t need to. A garden hose, deck brush, large plastic bucket, and a deck washing solution either purchased or homemade should be all you need. Once the deck is clean, let it dry thoroughly for a couple days and it should be ready for stain. This is an easy task if you do it annually, but if you wait until the wood is damaged, it will require more work to get it in shape, but will be easier next year. 
 
Seal cracks and openings. This is one of the most inexpensive ways to prevent future damage to your home and lower your utility costs. Scrape away any loose or cracking caulking, use a brush to gently clean the area, and use a quality caulk designed to be used on the material you are sealing.  
 
Check your windows. Open and close each window to make sure everything is working properly. Look for gaps, broken seals, moisture collecting between the panes of glass, and other anomalies. Make sure the screens fit tight and don’t have holes. While you are there, clean the windows thoroughly – glass, frames, and screens.  
 
Service your clothes washer and dryer. Front-loading washers have a gasket that seals the front door. This gasket can get a build up of mold and/or mildew. Make sure to keep the gasket clean. Use a clothes washer cleaner on a monthly basis to prevent a build up of detergent. Remove and thoroughly clean the dryer vent screen. Carefully inspect it for any damage before reinstalling it. Have a professional clean your dryer vent duct to increase the efficiency of your dryer and prevent fires.  
 
Drain your water heater. This is an often overlooked maintenance item that can add life to your water heater and keep it working efficiently. Turn off the gas or electric to the water heater. Close the cold-water supply to the water heater, connect a garden hose to the water heater drain valve and run the hose to a floor drain or outside, open the drain valve, and then open the pressure relief valve on the side of the water heater. Once the tank is empty, open the cold water valve again and let the water run clear from the hose. Close the drain and pressure relief valves, allow the tank to refill, and detach the hose. You’re now ready to turn your clean water heater back on. 
 
Congratulations! You have just prevented many unforeseen future emergencies. Next month I will give you some things to do in August, but for now, relax and enjoy the month of July, because you deserve it.  
 
Norwalk IA Real Estate – Jon Niemeyer, Broker/Owner/REALTOR® at EXIT Realty North Star. I list and sell real estate in Central Iowa including Norwalk, Des Moines, West Des Moines, Cumming, Indianola, Carlisle, Waukee, Urbandale, Grimes, Clive, Johnston, Ankeny, Altoona, and Pleasant Hill in the Counties of Warren, Polk, Dallas, and Madison. Call Jon Niemeyer at 515-490-4675.
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