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Home Inspections in Oakland County MI & Surrounding areas

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May 2017 Newsletter

Greetings from Sterling Home Services! In this month’s newsletter we cover some essential spring home care tips. First your air conditioner. With warmer weather and allergy season upon us you may be firing up the AC sooner than later. Here are some tips to keep it in good repair. Second, we turn our attention outdoors to… the gutters? Yes! You might think cleaning the gutters is a fall chore, but they need attention in the spring as well. We also have info on tree and shrub trimming plus how to deal with cracked cement.

Basic Air Conditioner Maintenance

Running the AC can get expensive. It’s important that your air conditioning system is working at its peak efficiency. Keeping the system clean is simple enough, but it’s also important to have a thorough, professional check up performed by a reputable HVAC service. Check our list of Preferred Providers or contact us for a reference. Also, considering getting a check up done before the first heat wave hits and the pros become booked solid!

Here are some simple DIY maintenance chores that will help improve the efficiency of your  air conditioning system.


Clean the Condenser

The condenser is the cylindrical outside unit. It contains a compressor, a fan, cooling fins and tubes. Make sure you minimize dirt and debris around the condenser. Trim foliage back at least 2 feet for good airflow around the condenser.

First, shut off the power. Never attempt any maintenance on the unit with the power on. Cleaning the condenser is a 5 step job that consists of gently vacuuming the exterior fins, carefully straightening bent or crushed fins, removing and wiping down the fan, then rinsing the fins from the inside out.  FamilyHandyman.com has well detailed and photographed instructions here:  FamilyHandyMan.com


Restart the Condenser

Turn the power back on the condenser unit then from your indoor control panel start your AC so that it turns on. After 10 minutes head outside to feel the insulated tube that is connected to the condenser. It should feel cool. The uninsulated tube will be warm to the touch. This is a rudimentary test to make sure the system has coolant. Only a professional can check the coolant level.
Check around the unit for leaks or drip marks and call a professional if you spot any. Do not try to tighten a joint or stop a lead yourself.


Replace the filter. You may also vacuum and lubricate the blower compartment and clean the drain tube. Full instructions for those procedures can also be found at FamilyHandyman.com

Clean the Gutters in the Spring?

Gutters on your roof protect your home from water damage by directing and draining water away from the house. But if those gutters are clogged water can back up and cause damage to the roof, siding, and soffits. Problems with gutters are difficult to see from the ground, that’s why it’s important to get up there and check them out twice a year to check for build of debris, damage, or other problems.

A simple first examination is to check the downspouts during a heavy rain. Is water flowing freely out the bottom? Is water spilling out from the gutters along the roof? Look for any indication of blockage or damage.

Most clogs can be scooped out by hand. With dry debris a handheld leaf blower or vacuum will clear the way. Downspouts can be cleaned with a hose. As with all your household maintenance, simple and easy up-keep chores prevent damage and expensive repairs!


Trimming Overgrowth

We’ve all seen the movies and pictures of post-apocalyptic neighborhoods with the trees and shrubs overtaking the houses and buildings. Trees and shrubs grow - it’s no joke. And while we enjoy their flowers, foliage, shade, and erosion prevention it’s important to keep the growth under control.

Overgrown foliage will promote moisture buildup on your home. Think about shaded areas that never get sun, buildup of algae or moss on the roof or siding. Bushes and trees are home to critters too, and give squirrels, raccoons, and birds easier access to your house. Lastly, a home with nicely trimmed foliage looks clean and well-cared-for.

Spring is a good time to trim back branches and shoots before the leaves bloom. Keep tree branches 5 to 7 feet away from your house. Trim back shrubs and bushes to keep them neat looking and tamed. It’s important for their health and beauty to trim away any dead wood and winter-killed wood. For flowering shrubs like rhododendron, climbing roses, lilac, dogwood, and forsythia wait until those lovely blooms die off, then trim dead, diseased, and old growth.

For an excellent guide on how to trim specific varieties of plants check out the Farmer’s Almanac here>>

Have a happy, healthy May 2017!
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