Once you’ve purchased a home in Cozumel, it’s time to learn a little about the maintenance required. Although we don’t have formal seasons on the island, there are still certain times of the year when it’s best to do preventative home maintenance. This maintenance, in case you haven’t figured out, is different, than a location with a distinct climate change, and a cold winter.
The first thing to keep in mind are rainy times, and hurricane season. It’s important to get the preventative work done before the rain starts, so you’re not on your roof with a broomstick in the deluge attempting to unclog a drain. Generally speaking, hurricane season runs from June – November. The two rainy times in Cozumel are June and November. By the time June rolls around, you’ll want to have a few simple tasks performed.
One of the first, and easiest things to do, is to re-caulk your windows. I try and choose a really dry day with no rain in the projected forecast. I scrape out most of the old caulk and apply a new layer, and make sure it’s sealed well (by running my finger over it). Pay special attention to that one slider that always leaks. Caulk and the caulking gun are available in any hardware store on island.
Now is also a great time to clean out your tinaco, and ensure that the drains on your roof are clear and free of debris. Most Cozumel homes have a cistern, or tinaco, in the shape of a large black plastic tub, or a cemented holding tank, on their roof, these recipients can hold hundreds of liters of water, so it’s important to make sure that it’s free of algae and disinfected periodically. You can accomplish this yourself using an old broom, and a bleach/vinegar mix. I wait until the water level is low, scrub the inside down and flush all the water out afterwards. This is also a good time to ensure that the drains from your tinaco to your home’s water supply are clean and intact. Some tinacos, don’t come with filters, if yours doesn’t have one, it’s easy to fashion one yourself out of chicken wire. Since you’re up on the roof with your broom already, take a moment and make sure the drains for your roof are open and in good working order.
Every two years we have the roof re-sealed and “fester” the whole roof. While sealer alone will keep your house cooler, fester, which is a fabric mesh that allows the sealer to really stick, will ensure that you won’t have any leaks during the coming rainy season. This is a messy, labor intensive job, and I generally hire someone, like a professional painter, to do it.
We don’t generally use our air conditioning until July or August, when it gets really warm, however, in order to cut down on the killer CFE bills, we have the AC units professionally serviced yearly, generally around June as well. We have the filters changed; the gases recharged and clean all the dust off the units. I’ve discovered that the cost of this maintenance more than pays for itself in electric savings.
This is also a good time to fumigate your home. We use a good professional fumigator who has our house on a every three-months rotation. When it starts to get really wet out there, everything that’s outside is going to want to come into your home. Having the house fumigated beforehand will discourage any unwanted visitors.
If you didn’t get all of these projects marked off the list before the June rains, don’t worry, very soon the sun will come out, everything will dry out, and you’ll have plenty of time to complete all of these tasks before the November season!
Fabian Gonzalez, an escapee from Mexico City, is the owner of Cozumel 4 You. The Fabster has a degree in marine biology and is a PADI scuba instructor. Long-suffering husband to Laura Wilkinson, he’s been involved in her various schemes and plans for over a decade now. When not on the tennis court, or skulking in a cantina, he devotes much of his free time to assisting in environmental causes.
This story originally appeared in the weekly Cozumel 4 You NEWS – the island’s number one source of positive information about our island! Be sure and subscribe to the weekly NEWS to find out all the island events!…