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Lisa Goodman
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lmg517@aol.com
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Home Tips
 
Maintaining the grounds around home
One key to avoiding costly, unexpected repairs or replacements is to establish a maintenance plan. Here is a basic plan for the grounds around the house.

Window wells, storm drains, and areaways
These should be cleaned and any damaged items repaired. Window wells and areaways should be checked and cleaned frequently, particularly in the fall.

Water lines
Outside water lines, hose bibs, and hoses should be drained each fall. Hoses should be stored in a protected location – plastic hoses become brittle and crack in colder weather.

Surfaces
Check all paved surfaces (asphalt, concrete, etc.) for cracks and deterioration. Cracks in concrete surfaces should be cleaned and repaired or sealed with special insert materials for bonding to concrete. Asphalt is susceptible to damage from water if drainage is not adequate. All asphalt surfaces should be sealed with a special asphalt coating when needed.

Wooden structures
Wooden fences and detached or wooden outbuildings should be checked for overall condition, such as decay and wood boring insect damage. When and if replacement is caused by wood boring insects, wood should be pressure treated.

Water collection
Check grounds for low places or pockets where water can collect. Grade accordingly to eliminate problems. Check down spout discharge for water accumulation. Keep all grades to at least a 15 degree slope away from the house.

Toxic materials
Drain and service all gasoline-powered equipment according to manufacturer’s recommendations. Clean and repair all garden equipment and tools. Rust and dirt should be removed and all metal surfaces should be coated with oil or silicone. Fertilizers and spray guns should be thoroughly cleaned after each use. Leftover chemicals should be stored in a cool, dry location.

Firewood
Keep firewood away from the house and garage as it attracts wood-boring insects.

Life expectancies of a home’s interior:
Appliances
Refrigerators......................................... 10 to 20 years
Dishwashers........................................... 13 to 18 years
Gas ranges............................................. 20 to 25 years
Electric ranges....................................... 15 to 25 years
Garbage disposal.................................... 10 to 15 years
Dehumidifiers......................................... 8 to 12 years
Washers & Dryers.................................. 10 to 20 years
Hot water heater..................................... 10 to 15 years

Plaster Walls........................................... 70 to 120 years
Ceilings................................................... 60 to 90 years
Note: Life expectancy of plaster is altered by the carpentry framing and the type of lath used.
Drywall Walls...........................................50+ years
Ceilings................................................... 30+ years