Monthly Archives: February 2017

MAINTENANCE NEEDS FOR A NEW CUSTOM HOME

We’ve built over 100 custom homes across Fairfield County, CT, and Westchester County, New York. One thing that remains constant across all of these projects is the need for regularly scheduled maintenance. Home buyers often don’t think of maintenance after they’ve built a home. After all, it’s a brand-new structure with top-of-the-line finishes and mechanical systems. Just like any other advanced mechanical device, however, regular maintenance will be required to keep it running properly.

Screen Shot 2017-02-08 at 10.33.15 AM

Your homebuilder should walk you through regular maintenance as part of the planning process, before construction. This way you’ll know what to expect after the keys are turned over. The most significant maintenance needs will come from the home’s mechanical systems. They’ll require yearly tune-ups to stay functioning at peak efficiency.

Whole-Home Ventilation Systems
Today’s luxury custom homes are built almost airtight. We accomplish this by using the latest materials and building processes, such as spray foam insulation, advanced exterior home wrap and flashing, and all-in-one exterior insulation and sheathing panels. The result is super efficiency. Hot air stays in during the winter, and cool air stays in during the summer. When air can’t escape, however, mold can grow, and airborne toxins can be trapped inside. For this reason, whole-home ventilation systems are now a standard mechanical component in custom homes.

There are four main types of whole-home ventilation systems. Your architect and homebuilder will work together with you to determine the right setup for your custom home. Regular maintenance is fairly simple. The filter, which is easily accessible, should be changed out yearly. And ductwork can be cleaned every three to five years.

HVAC Systems
Heating and air conditioning systems should have yearly scheduled maintenance conducted by a professional HVAC contractor. One exception to this is the filter. Energy Star recommends checking the filter once per month and cleaning it or replacing it depending on the level of residue and any wear. Professionals will conduct a yearly checkup that will include inspecting the thermostat settings, tightening electrical connections, checking refrigerant levels, and cleaning and adjusting blower controls, among other steps. Quality homebuilders will offer a maintenance program that typically includes these types of checkups.

Wood-Burning Chimney
Wood-burning fireplaces that are used regularly should be inspected once per year. Chimney cleaning removes soot and creosote buildup in the chimney liner, smoke chamber, damper, and firebox. Creosote is highly flammable and accumulates fairly quickly. It only takes a thin layer to potentially cause a chimney fire. Venting systems on stoves and furnaces should also be cleaned. In addition to safety, keeping these channels clear of debris will help create more draw and put less strain on the systems, allowing them to function more efficiently.

Security Systems
Today’s smart home security systems are changing the home security game. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the idea of maintenance. Having a maintenance program in place will cover yearly professional inspections. These typically include the inspection of battery function as well as signal and sensor transmission, and the repair of any damaged or malfunctioning parts.

Of course, any home requires standard upkeep on a variety of additional interior and exterior features. A good caretaker, or maintenance program from your homebuilder, can help with issues as they arise. Most homes need gutter cleaning, countertop oiling, paint and/or stain touchups, and more. By having a good maintenance plan in place, you can keep your home looking like new for years down the line.