By Doug KILPATRICK
Welcome to At Home in the Foothills, a regular CV Weekly column featuring tips and information about maintaining and enjoying your home.
Now that the kids are back in school and summer vacations are over it’s time to make a top-to-bottom inspection of your home. While not a substitute for professional inspections this can pay big dividends in protecting our largest single investment.
Let’s start with the roof. If you don’t feel comfortable going up on top, use binoculars from the ground. Look for missing or curling shingles and make sure that the metal flashings that seal pipes and roof edges are tight and in good repair.
Check the rain gutters and downspouts – they should be clean and tightly attached. While you’re at it, branches that touch the roof or walls should be trimmed to prevent wind damage and to reduce fire danger.
Next, take a good look at the wood trim. Look for peeling paint, dry rot and signs of termite activity. Paint failure allows moisture into the wood which leads to deterioration.
Check the windows – any broken glass? Do they seal well? If they are wood do they need painting?
Finally, check the concrete foundation. Small cracks are generally not a structural issue, but large or growing cracks need evaluation. Make sure that there is at least six inches of clearance down to the soil from any wood trim and that shrubbery is not brushing against the walls. Finally, those downspouts that we looked at earlier should discharge water away from the house and the soil should be slightly sloped to drain water away from the foundation.
Question of the week: How can I find out more about rebates and tax credits for energy efficient appliances, weather-stripping and similar projects?
Answer: There are energy efficiency rebates available from California and local utilities and substantial Federal tax credits for energy efficiency upgrades. We’ll discuss this in detail in a future column but in the meantime, here are two websites with more information: http://www.fypower.org/ (California) http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=tax_credits.tx_index (Federal).