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Home Improvement  /  January 17, 2020

How to Maintain a Historic Lexington Home

How to Maintain a Historic Lexington Home, by the Home Maintenance Experts at Handyman Connection of Lexington East

Lexington is home to many beautiful, historic buildings. And from its beautiful red brick colonials to its stately Federal-style estates, the city is in no shortage of architecturally stunning houses. But if you’re lucky enough to own one of them, there are a few maintenance tips to keep in mind to make sure you’re making the most of your older home.

The Complete Checklist for Maintaining Your Old Kentucky Home

1. Research any antique features

Part of what makes historic homes so irresistible are the beautiful antique features inside them. From cleaning claw-foot bathtubs to polishing hand-carved woodwork, it’s important to keep your favorite parts of the home in pristine condition.

Take inventory of any unique fixtures in the home and before cleaning or fixing them, learn a little more about the materials they’re made of to make sure you’re using the proper solutions.

2. Check the plumbing

Homes built in the early 1900s most often had lead pipe plumbing, and many American homes built before 1980 still have lead solder in pipe joints. If you suspect that your home has lead pipes that may be corroding, consider using a whole-house water filter until you can have the plumbing updated.

Even if your home does not have lead plumbing, Lexington’s notoriously hard water can be highly corrosive to metal plumbing materials. It may be a good idea to call a plumbing professional to have your system checked out, and to fix any old or leaky fixtures while they’re at it.

3. Consider rewiring all or parts of the house

Many older homes have what are called knob and tube electrical systems. These systems are not designed to have electrical insulation placed over them, as the wires have a thin coating already, though this often deteriorates with age. Without proper maintenance or rewiring, these unprotected wires can spark and lead to a serious fire hazard.

It may be costly, but rewiring your old home is a worthwhile investment to protect yourself and your family from a major blaze. If you notice sparking, dim lights or inconsistencies in your system, call an electrical professional right away.

4. Test or replace the smoke detectors

Fire safety is important in every home, but especially older ones with outdated electrical systems. To keep yourself and your family safe, smoke detector batteries should be tested monthly, and replaced every six months.

Smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years, or sooner if they are not functioning. To check the age of your home’s smoke alarms, look along the side of the alarm. You should see a manufacturer’s date – if the alarm is more than 10 years old, it’s time to replace it. If you’re having a hard time installing your new ones, a general handyman service can help.

5. Check on or update the heating system

Unless it’s been updated, your older home may more than likely have an older heating system. Steam and hot-water radiators are commonly found in early 20th century homes, and can still heat your living space efficiently, if maintained properly.

Steam radiators should have low pressure, and should be able to heat your home using 2 psi of pressure. If it’s requiring more than this, adjust the pressuretrol on the boiler – it should be on its lowest setting.

Hot-water radiators need between 12 and 18 psi of pressure, depending on the size of your home. Shoot for 18 psi for three-story homes. Not sure what you’re doing? Call an HVAC professional to tackle it.

6. Install a cooling system, or a whole house fan

Considering central cooling systems weren’t common until the 1950s in the United States, your older home almost definitely won’t have AC unless it’s been recently updated. If a full AC system isn’t in your budget, consider installing individual window units, or a whole house fan.

whole house fan is designed to pull hot air sitting inside your home, walls and appliances and vent it out through your attic. Not only will this cool your space year-round, but it can also help with your home’s overall air quality and save you more on your electric bill than other systems.

7. Take care of the hardwood

Hardwood floors are often one of the most prized aspects of older homes. Sleek, durable and rich in both color and history, hardwood flooring is designed to last at least 100 years or more. Here are a few ways you can keep your old home’s hardwood in tip-top shape for years to come:

  • Sweep daily in the direction of the wood grain
  • Mop monthly with terry cloth – do not use a wet mop
  • Avoid harsh chemicals like ammonia and vinegar, or water-based hardwood cleaners
  • Keep humidity in the house to a minimum (between 30-50%)
  • Keep house temperatures consistent (between 60 and 80 degrees)
  • Refinish and polish floor, if boards are rough, splintery or dull

Need help refinishing your floors? Call a hardwood flooring expert to handle it.

8. Fix broken tiles

From white subway tile to black-and-white marble flooring, early 20th century homes were ripe with beautiful tiling. If you’ve noticed a few chipped or missing tiles though, have a tile and flooring professional take a look and repair it. Catching cracks and chips early is the best way to preserve your old tile floor or wall for years to come.

9. Mend crumbling bricks

If you’re lucky enough to own one of Lexington’s beautiful red brick colonials, take a lap around the perimeter to inspect the outer walls. If you notice any crumbling bricks or stones, be sure to have them taken care of by an expert ASAP to preserve the overall strength of your home’s facade.

Old Lexington Home With Horse Statue Out Front

Call Handyman Connection of Lexington East for expert home maintenance help

Need an expert’s help maintaining your beautiful old house? Call Handyman Connection of Lexington East. We offer a range of handyman services to help tackle home maintenance tasks for homes old and new. To get in touch, call (859) 549-5669 today or request an estimate online.

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