Appliance life expectancy.

Every appliance in your home has an average life expectancy. Some appliances will last quite a long time ( I owned a 30yr old gas furnace at one point!). Others, not so much. So how do you know when to expect a replacement unit?

Several factors go into the expected longevity of any appliance like make, model, maintenance schedules and usage. Some manufactures may disclose that number for you, or you just have to do your own research.

Here is a guide from Consumer Research showing average life expectancy from the most common appliances in your home:

So, how old is your appliance? Check the manufacture’s label that is usually permanently installed on the unit itself. There may be an exact date of manufacture on that label, or there may be a code. Calling the manufacturer and providing the code and/or serial number is usually enough to verify age. You can also use this free website to look up most appliance information.

If you have any trouble, give us a call. As a home inspector here in Colorado, I can look up the information for you and find out if there have been any recalls on that specific unit as well. Here in Castle Rock, Colorado, Winters can be especially hard on furnaces and summers very hard on air conditioners. Do your maintenance and plan on budgeting for that inevitable replacement.

A little gutter maintenance goes a long way.

As a homeowner, you know the importance of maintaining your home and avoiding large repair costs. Cleaning your gutters might be easier than you think, and it’s very important.

You may not consider Castle Rock (or Colorado) a seriously wet area with a lot of rainfall, but it doesn’t matter. Your gutter system is just as important here as it is with other areas of the country that receive far more rain. Hundreds (and even thousands) of gallons of water can fall from your roof in a typical storm. In fact, for every 1000 square feet of roof area you have, there will be over 600 gallons of water collected on the roof for every 1 inch of rainfall. You do NOT want that much water landing in the wrong places.

So what do the gutters do? The gutter system serves a few purposes:

1) To collect water run-off during rain, hail and snow melt.
2) To consolidate and control the flow of the water.
3) To direct the water safely away from your siding and foundation. (At least 6 feet)

Without accomplishing these three things, major damages can occur after just one rainfall. Leaves, sticks, new roofing materials, birds and bees nests can clog up those gutters even when they are professionally installed and sized. Over time, seams and joints in the gutter system can come apart and create issues.

Here are some tips for cleaning your gutters out and doing routine maintenance:

1) Clean them at least once per year: The Spring season brings rain, so get up there and have a look before it starts. This will also help you catch any damage from the Winter snow and ice. Another great time to do this is in the Fall after all the leaves are down. If you are putting up Christmas lights, brings some gloves and a trash bag and scoop out all the debris.

2) Look for gaps and separations: Some gutters are seam-less, some are not. If there are seams, they should not be leaking. Check for any leaks near joints and corners as these areas are prone to damage. Local hardware stores carry sealants that are specifically for gutter material. Make sure the sealant is made for your type of gutter (Aluminum,Steel, Copper, etc.) Downspouts and their extensions are commonly disconnected as well. These are usually quite easy to reattach.

3) Check for low spots and loose brackets: Gutters need to flow downhill, so they should have a slight downward slop to a downspout connection. There should be roughly a 1/2inch slope for every 15ft. If you see deep puddles of water resting in the gutters, you may need to hire a professional to re-adjust the slope. Also, look at the attachment points where the gutters are held to the roof. Often times, these areas have loosened up and need to be tightened or new hardware needs to be installed.

4) Consider installing leaf guards: Leaf guards are long pieces of material that are permanently installed onto the tops of the gutter. They allow water to drain into the gutter system as normal, but filter out any leaves or debris first. There are several different manufactures but they all serve the same purpose. Some are cheap, some are expensive. If you have large trees that drop leaves into your yard every fall, you probably want to consider these devices.

5) Hire a pro: There are gutter system contractors in the area that will do the yearly maintenance for you. Some roofing companies also provide maintenance and adjustments. If getting on a ladder isn’t your thing or you already have work being done on the roof, it’s probably best to let the pros do it. An annual Home Maintenance Inspection usually covers the gutter systems as well. Check with a local home inspector that offers these plans.