Expert advice courtesy of Randal Duncon, All Pro Inspections.
☐ Large trees should be kept trimmed and thinned out to prevent damage to your home and build up.
☐ Avoid stacking firewood and other scrap material next to the house.
☐ Check weather stripping on doors, and make sure the doors are latching properly.
☐ Disconnect garden hoses from hose bibs (outside faucets), and cover faucets with insulated covers to help prevent freeze damage to the faucet.
☐ Shrubs and other foliage in plant beds next to the house should not be touching the house. Keep shrubs and foliage trimmed at least 2 feet away from the air conditioner.
☐ Keep gutters cleared of leaves and debris, and check for damaged or leaking gutters.
☐ If you have a sprinkler system, check twice a year for leaks and broken heads, look at water coverage, and make sure the heads aren’t popping up and dropping down. Also make sure the sprinklers are not spraying on the house or in the street. Programming the sprinkler system for adequate watering will change depending on the time of year and weather conditions. Avoid overwatering.
☐ Keep a consistent and even moisture level in the soil to prevent foundation movement. This is especially true for houses built on expansive soil, like in the DFW area.
☐ Check your sprinkler system for leaks or broken heads.
☐ Water around the foundation by using a soaker hose. They should be placed 12 to 18 inches away from the foundation. Ideally, the ground should be slightly moist and not cracked and not mushy. Avoid overwatering.
☐ Walk the perimeter of the house and check for cracked or damaged wood trim and siding, fascia and soffit (overhang of the roof) boards, cracked or deteriorated caulking, or weathered and peeling paint. Replace any rotted or damaged wood that could lead to further damage to the underlying materials.
☐ If you notice water dripping on the outside of the house from a drain pipe—usually in the soffit or above a window—this is most likely condensation coming from your air conditioner. This drain is a secondary (backup) drain, and if this is happening, there is a problem with your AC system. Most likely, the primary condensate drain line is clogged or blocked. Contact an AC specialist to evaluate and service the unit.
☐ Check the drainage and grading. Ideally, the soil should be 4 to 6 inches below the brick or siding on the home and sloped to drain away from the foundation. Also, keep mulch and other ground covers below the brick or siding. This will help to prevent insect infestation (including termites).
☐ Check for signs of squirrels, birds, rodents, and other pests. Look below the roof eaves and in gable vents for signs of animals entering the attic. These areas will often look dirty and have clawing and chewing marks. Also check for holes next to the foundation in plant beds. Contact a pest control service if you suspect any of these conditions.
☐ Check again to make sure shrubs and other foliage in plant beds are not next to or touching the house. Keep shrubs and foliage trimmed at least 2 feet away from the air conditioner.
☐ Check again for leaves and debris in gutters, and check for damaged or leaking gutters.
☐ From the ground, look at the roof for missing or damaged shingles. Avoid walking on the roof. Consult a professional roofer to further inspect the roof if you suspect a problem.
☐ Have your cooling and heating system serviced once a year.
☐ Look again for signs of squirrels, birds, rodents, and other pests, and contact a pest control service as needed.