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Home Maintenance Checklist for New Homeowners
Homeowners generally have more home maintenance responsibilities than those who rent. Typically, this is because those who rent can often submit a maintenance request to their landlord. However, homeowners need to handle repairs themselves. By creating a monthly home maintenance checklist, homeowners can ensure they properly address seasonal repair concerns ahead of time.
The Importance of Creating a Home Maintenance Plan
Since the homeowner has to rely on themselves for any possible repairs, it’s important to create a solid home maintenance plan. Creating a home maintenance plan is important because:
It can be more expensive to fix something rather than prevent it from failing;
It can take more time to repair once it fails;
Your home is likely the most expensive asset you have;
It adds value to your home;
It minimizes the chance of repairs being needed;
It can make your home more reliable.
It is recommended that those who own a home should save 1%-4% of their home’s purchasing price every year. For instance, if you purchased your home for $200,000, it is recommended that you save $2,000-$4,000 each year specifically for home repairs. Homeowners who fail to perform regular maintenance can cause serious harm to their property — a major problem for individuals looking to improve the value of their home.
Monthly Home Maintenance Checklist
Most of the time, repairs are a one-time fix. However, there are a few tasks that should be done around the house on a monthly basis:
Deep-clean the House: This includes, but is not limited to cleaning: drapes, blinds, upholstery, lampshades, mattresses, rugs, walls, flooring, cabinets, baseboards, appliances, etc.
Run their unit six months a year or all year round;
Have a large family;
Live with someone in the household who suffers from allergies or respiratory medical condition;
Live in a windy area;
Occasionally use a fireplace;
Live near construction;
Live/work on a farm.
Test Smoke Detectors: Testing a smoke detector is more than just making sure they work. A family member will want to stand at the furthest point of the home to make sure the alarm can be heard throughout the entire house. One can test the sound typically by pressing the “Test” button that is found on most smoke detectors. Make sure the batteries work and the detector unit itself and the surrounding area is clean and free of debris and dust.
The heating/cooling system is running more frequently than normal;
Your home is dustier than usual;
You notice strange/burning smells near your HVAC unit.
Inspect Hot Water Tank/Steam Heating System: Check and drain sediment from your hot water tank/steam heating system if needed.
Check garage door and tracks: Make sure the wheels are aligned and the door shuts straight and all the way. If it isn’t shutting properly, chances are the garage door needs repairing .
Add Copper Sulfate to Basement Floor/Downspout Drains: This can help to prevent root growth in sewer lines.
Seasonal Home Maintenance
In addition to monthly home maintenance, homeowners should perform seasonal tasks throughout the year. This can prevent damages that often occur as the seasons change, such as frozen pipes, poor air quality, overgrowth from gardens and trees, cracked sidewalks/driveways, torn weather stripping, etc.
Spring is commonly associated with frequent rain showers, flowers, and thunderstorms. Along with the wet weather, spring brings along a checklist of chores that should be accomplished by homeowners:
Trim trees and hedges;
Declutter flower beds of leaves, weeds, and debris — update with new plantlife if desired;
Inspect the roof for any missing shingles, holes, etc.;
Rid the gutters of leaves, sticks, branches, etc.;
Inspect the siding on the house;
Inspect the porch for any slivered wood pieces, nails sticking up, wood chips, stains, paint chips, etc.;
Check windows/window screens for any areas that need re-caulking, chips in the pane, sturdy frame, locks, and tears;
Inspect sprinkler and irrigation system and make sure no pieces or pipes broke/froze during the winter;
Schedule air conditioning services for summer.
As temperatures start to rise, homeowners will want to prep their homes for summer by accomplishing the tasks listed below:
Wash the exterior of the house and garage;
Inspect premises for pests, including termites, ants, other invasive insects, and rodents — and contact pest control if necessary;
Dust ceiling fan blades and make sure they’re balanced and work properly/reverse the direction;
Inspect the fireplace and its surrounding areas, such as your stone fireplace mantel , and any other areas where mortar may need to be repaired. Make repairs and touch-ups as needed (starting early will help to ensure that it is finished before winter);
Clean and replace showerheads;
Clean out bathroom drains;
Organize/clean out the attic and basement;
Check dryer vent and exhaust duct;
Clean out the grill to prepare for summer barbecuing;
Inspect fences for any missing pieces, breaks, chips, etc.;
Check driveway, sidewalk, patio, etc. for the condition of concrete — patch, level, and replace as needed.
The autumn season might be spent by preparing your home and yard for the cold months to come. Homeowners can accomplish this by:
Pruning trees, hedges, etc.;
Inspecting and replacing (if necessary) the weather stripping on doors and windows;
Clearing gutters of leaves and inspecting them for leaks (this may need to be done multiple times throughout the season as the leaves and other debris begin to fall);
Sweep/clean decks, fences, patios, and any structure made with pressure-treated wood;
Have your home’s furnace checked, tuned, and change the filter;
Have the chimney cleaned and inspected;
Bring any outdoor furniture in;
Fertilize your lawn;
Test winter equipment;
Change batteries in items throughout the house.
Preparing for winter can keep the power bill down and help to maintain the overall quality of your home. Listed below are different ways to winterize your home:
Shovel snow from walking areas;
Move your furniture off of vents in living areas;
Shut off interior valves supplying outdoor water pipes;
Unhook watering hoses from valves outside;
Install blackout curtains and wrap windows in plastic to improve insulation if desired;
Reverse back the direction of your ceiling fans;
Shut the door on rooms that aren’t frequently used;
Reassess weather stripping and repair where needed;
Ensure ductwork in the house is in good condition and repair if needed;
Cover your water heater with an insulating blanket;
Tidy and clear away your fireplace mantel to ensure there are no fire hazards for when you start using your fireplace;
As winter ends, re-open the interior valves you closed at the beginning of the season.