21 December 2018

New Year's Resolution: To Take Better Care of My Modern Florida Home

If you’re a stickler for home maintenance, completely committed to making sure your modern home is healthier than you are, come back later to see what our next post will be. You don’t need this one. In fact, you may be unduly shocked by the notion that not everyone is as committed (read: anal) as you about home maintenance.

If, however, you’re like the rest of us who are guilty of letting certain tasks slide, sit down and get comfortable. We need to talk.

Unlike our friends in Northern states, those of us who live in warm, sunny, Southern Florida don’t spend a lot of time, energy, and money on “winterizing” our homes. We’re more concerned about damage from rain and summer humidity. And hurricanes. 

Until the temperature dips below 70. OK, 65. To a South Floridian, that’s chilly, right? That’s also when those tasks you’ve let slide will make themselves known in very uncomfortable ways.

So get out whatever device you use for note-taking and prepare to write your first...

I Love My Modern House Checklist

(1) Have a professional check out your heating system. (Yes, Northern neighbors, houses in Florida have heating systems.) A pro can assess the health of your system, repair flaws, and order and install parts if necessary. Don’t wait until the first 60-degree day to call because everyone else will be doing the same. Call an HVAC pro when the weather is sunny and warm.

(2) Take a long, hard look at your roof. If your modern house has a flat roof, there are several issues you need to be aware of. Click here to read about them. If any of those issues are present, call a flat-roof expert right away. If you have a tile roof, check for broken or cracked tiles. Again, if you find a problem, call a pro. And take pictures so you can text or email them to your roofing pro so he or she will know exactly what you’re talking about. Don’t delay, either. You don’t want to wait until a leak comes through that could damage a host of things in your house. Also, cleaning your roof at least once or twice a year, from debris such as leaves or from mold with a pressure cleaner, is good maintenance.

(3) Speaking of cleaning roofs, when was the last time you cleaned your gutters? Clogged gutters allow water to stay on your roof. Water that stays on your roof will eventually cause trouble. So get up there!

(4) Is your modern house well insulated? Are you sure? Attic insulation is imperative in Florida homes for so many reasons. We tend to think of it as a way to keep our Florida homes cool, but when chilly weather hits, it means everything when you want to keep your home warm. Please take a minute and check out this excellent article: “Why Insulation is a must-have in FL Homes.” And don’t forget: An under-insulated house uses far more energy than a well-insulated house. Not only is that bad for the planet, it’s also bad for your budget. You don’t want to be an energy hog, do you?

(5) Check your windows and glazing for gaps. You know how awful it is to feel hot air seeping through the gaps around your windows, glazing, or sliding glass doors. Chilly air will seep through those same gaps. So proper caulking is a no-brainer. (Go back to #4 and re-read “don’t forget…”)

(6) Finally, if you have a fireplace in your modern house and you haven’t had it cleaned in, well, ever, a beautiful sunny day is the perfect time to call a chimney expert and have it thoroughly cleaned. You’ll nip a fire hazard (creosote build-up) in the bud and be ready to build a beautiful, crackling fire on the first chilly night that creeps into warm, sunny Southern Florida. That is likely to be right around the time this post is published.

Of course, there are a host of other home maintenance issues to consider. But if you resolve to start with these, your modern house will love you for it.

Happy New Year!


Remembering Mima, 1920–2006