A few simple home maintenance tasks can save you thousands of dollars in potential damage and service calls. Whether you’re new to homeownership or just looking for ways to streamline your weekend chores, these tips are a good place to start.
Seasonal home maintenance tasks include protecting your property from winter weather, resealing windows and improving energy efficiency. Breaking down your checklist into monthly and annual tasks helps you be accountable to your responsibilities.
- Clean the Gutters
Gutters are important for keeping water away from your house, but they can be easily clogged by debris such as leaves, twigs, and dirt. This can affect how well they channel water, resulting in overflowing gutters and stained walls and roofs.
Clogged gutters can also cause serious foundation damage. When water pools, it saturates the soil, which can then expand and push against your home’s foundation. This can crack basement and crawlspace walls and lead to structural problems.
Rather than waiting for these issues to occur, new homeowners should make a schedule to clean their gutters a couple times a year. This will protect their home and help them avoid costly repairs down the road.
- Check the Roof
The roof is the first line of defense against rain, snow, and high winds. While most new homeowners will only think about their roofs after a major storm, they should also perform routine inspections.
During a home maintenance checkup, look for any damage or signs of trouble such as rust on nails and screws. A good inspection will also include an examination of the workmanship around areas such as skylights and chimneys. If the inspection reveals that repairs are needed, make them as soon as possible—before winter. This will help prevent leaks and other long-term damage to the interior of the home.
- Replace the Furnace Filter
Keeping your furnace filter clean is essential for maintaining your home’s air quality. A dirty filter limits air flow, causing the blower fan to work harder and decreasing energy efficiency.
Start by shutting off your furnace and removing the existing filter. Often, the filter will have an arrow that indicates air flow direction. If not, mark the directional side of the filter frame with a sticky note or permanent marker so you can remember the correct way to install the new one.
Replace the old filter with a new, clean filter and turn your furnace back on.
- Change the Light Bulbs
Light bulbs can dramatically affect the energy, mood and productivity of a room. Choosing the wrong bulbs can also impact how paint colors look.
Generally, incandescent bulbs should be replaced with LED or CFL bulbs. Those that earn the EPA’s Energy Star rating use less energy and last longer.
When these types of light bulbs burn out, they can be safely tossed in the trash, unlike halogen and fluorescent bulbs that contain small amounts of mercury. Instead, consider bringing these to your local recycling center or using a program offered by your home improvement store.
- Change the Door Locks
Changing the door locks is one of the most important things you should do as a new homeowner. You never know who else may have keys to your home and a simple lock change can prevent break-ins and theft.
Rekeying is an option but if the locks themselves are starting to show signs of wear and tear, it’s best to replace them altogether. This is an easy task and you can purchase a wide variety of different locks at your local hardware store or big box retailer. Some options include traditional deadbolts, keypad locks and smart locks.
- Install a Garage Door
A garage door has a lot going for it, but over time, wear and tear can degrade its look and function. A new garage door is an easy home improvement project that boosts curb appeal and adds value to the property. It’s also a popular project for homeowners who want to improve security and lower energy bills.
A yearly maintenance appointment should include visual inspection of the whole door, testing of photoelectric sensors and mechanical auto-reverse features, cleaning and lubrication of metal parts, and weather stripping replacement. You should also limit the use of your garage door to avoid overworking it and shortening its lifespan.
- Check the Electrical System
Most homeowners are familiar with the importance of getting a home electrical inspection before buying a house. This is a great way to make sure everything is up to code and there are no huge issues that could cause an accident or serious problems.
A professional can check if the wires in the walls are safe, if there is any aging or rodent damage and that the system has the right amount of power for your needs. They will also look at the breaker box to make sure the breakers are the right size and that they don’t show signs of aging or corrosion. If possible, look for the best home warranty in California so you can have your electrical, plumbing, or HVAC replaced when needed. These proactive measures will set you up to keep your home maintained well.