If you’re first-time homeowner, you’ll probably experience some trial and error before you know how to properly care for your new place. But you can avoid some costly mistakes by doing routine home maintenance that protects your investment. Here’s a basic home-maintenance checklist to help you get started.
- Check gutters regularly to make sure they’re properly attached and clear of sticks and leaves. Also confirm the flow of water from your gutters is away from your home to avoid damage to your foundation.
- Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly. Experts also recommend changing the batteries in these items as part of your routine when you change the clocks in the fall and spring.
- Change filters in your home at intervals recommended by your HVAC manufacturer, especially if you have allergies or pets. A dirty filter means an inefficient system. Also arrange for seasonal checks on your heating and cooling system to avoid emergency repairs.
- Hire a tree-service company to inspect trees on your property. They can give you advice on how to care for your trees and identify weak limbs that should be cut before a storm.
- Is your toilet running? Or your faucets? No, this isn’t a joke. Toilets that run and faucets that leak when not in use are wasting your water. Sometimes you can fix these problems yourself, but hire an expert if you’re in doubt.
- Frequently check the water supply hose to your washing machine, which can leak and cause expensive damage.
- Clean your dryer vent regularly. Note the dryer vent is not the lint trap (which should be cleaned often, too). Dryer vents push air outside the property through a duct, but can get filled with lint. Clogged dryer vents can be a fire hazard.
- Clean around the vents and coils underneath and behind your refrigerator to support its efficiency. Also check for gaps when it’s closed to make sure your cool air isn’t being wasted.
- Check your doors, garage door, windows, and any places where pipes and wires enter the structure for gaps and cracks. Replace weather-stripping that’s missing or in disrepair and add caulk where needed. This will help you keep the house insulated for all seasons and keep bugs and small creatures out.
- Have a pest-control expert inspect your home, even if you don’t suspect signs of infestation, since attic and crawlspace critters are usually unwanted guests on your property.
As you can see, a lot of effort goes into maintaining your home, and these tips just scratch the surface. Ask your REALTOR® about other resources that can help you keep your home safe, efficient, and well-maintained.