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  • Writer's pictureDon Magruder

Yard Maintenance Can Affect Your Home

Most homeowners do not equate yard work with the overall maintenance of their home. However, what happens in your yard can directly affect what goes on inside your home. A yard and outside area of the home that is well maintained encourages a sense a pride that prevails throughout all areas of the home. How many times have you seen a beautifully maintained home with an unkept yard?

First, let us talk about bushes and flower beds as they relate to air conditioning systems. It is commonplace in Lake and Sumter Counties to plant bushes around HVAC units outside to camouflage them. If the bushes are planted too close to the HVAC unit, or grow too tall, they can choke down the airflow to the home’s HVAC system, which can overheat the motor. Keep bushes trimmed and far enough away from these units so they can breathe.

Mulching flower beds is a must for many homeowners. However, many times the overflow drip pipe from the HVAC unit feeds into the yard or flower bed. It is not uncommon for dirt, debris, and mulch to build up around the opening of the pipe, therefore restricting the flow of condensation from the inside unit. If the pipe gets clogged and the sensor fails, the condensation from the inside unit could overflow inside your home if left unattended. Know where the overflow pipe for your home’s HVAC unit is placed and be sure to keep it free from dirt, debris, and mulch.

Overgrown bushes or limbs from trees hanging over your rooftop or eaves can act like sandpaper rubbing off shingle granules and destroying the soffits and eaves. Do not let overgrown bushes or tree limbs touch your home and remember that a branch touching your home or coming very close to your home is a transportation system for rodents and squirrels. If you go up into your attic, do not be alarmed to see droppings from pests who have made their way into your home by means of a tree branch.

Overgrown weeds and grass around the house are great hiding spots for rodents, snakes, and bugs. If these critters can move back and forth to your home’s exterior unabated, they will learn to chew holes in the walls and find cracks in the foundation. Keep weeds and grass maintained to discourage the critters from finding secret ways into your home.

A broken sprinkler that continuously sprays water onto your house is a best friend to water intrusion and rot. Each year, a countless number of doors are destroyed because of rot caused by broken sprinklers. Plus, the water being sprayed onto your window by a broken sprinkler is finding a way to intrude into the walls of your home. That musty smell you detect when you enter a room could be the water intrusion from a broken sprinkler coating a window. Plus, the mold and mildew created by a broken sprinkler can permanently damage painted and wood finishes on your home’s exterior.

If you do not want bugs inside your home, you have to kill them in the yard. Many times, a homeowner will spray bug poison on the inside of their home not realizing a huge army of bugs remains outside. Ants, roaches, termites, and other pests live on the outside of your home. If you allow that dead branch or stump in your yard to be eaten away by termites, expect them to find their way into your home. Remember, while the bugs are eating on branches and grass, they are multiplying, and your home offers a huge source of food. Good pest control begins in the yard.

Finally, do not ignore soil washouts in your yard. One thing about soil washouts in Florida is that they only get worse in summertime when the flooding rains start. A soil washout in your yard today could be a foundation problem tomorrow, and in rare cases the first sign of a sinkhole. If you see any form of washout in your yard, take it seriously and find the source before it becomes a huge expense.

Homes are just like people—you have to take care of them.

Don Magruder is the CEO of RoMac Building Supply and host of Around the House, which can be seen at

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