Essential Tips for New Homeowners
With summer nearly here and warm weather beckoning us outdoors, this is the best time to tackle those home projects you’ve been putting off during the winter. Make a maintenance plan to keep your home in tip-top shape while saving you money. The newer your home is, the less maintenance there will be, but in time, you will need to fix, replace, and renew some aspects of the interior and exterior of your home as it ages. Home maintenance involves everything from the basic foundation to small appliances and hardware fixtures. Where do you begin? It’s best to start by breaking up your care into three main tasks: Inspection, Cleaning, and Repair/Replacement. Here are some home maintenance and repair tips that fall under each job that you can accomplish yourself with ease and without paying a contractor.
Test and inspect—Evaluate the condition of all major structural and functional items such as the roof, shingles, gutters, windows, plumbing hardware, water heater, HVAC System, and other major appliances that help sustain living. Look for missing parts, cracks, leaks, mold, and further damage that could lead to wood rot and pest infestations. If your energy bills are high, you may lose costly heat due to poor sealing and insulation. Check caulking on the outside of your windows for cracks that could be allowing a draft in. Test your refrigerator door seals to ensure that the cold is staying in. Close the door on a sheet of paper, and if you can’t remove it from the closed door, your seal is good. Having moisture or flood issues? Check for disconnected or faulty downspouts and test your sump pump levels twice yearly to ensure it’s not overflowing. Track energy consumption by checking your water bill.
Repair and replacement—Once you have completed your inspections, you will know what needs to be fixed or replaced. If you are unsure what parts are required, consult the appliance manufacturer or contractor or retrieve any instructions for proper care that you may have saved. Always keep a toolbox well-stocked with screws, nuts, bolts, nails, trusty power tools, and other hardware for quick fixes when all else fails. Items needing attention are faulty shutoff valves, loose showerheads, malfunctioning smoke detectors, squeaky door hinges and floorboards, loose wallpaper, leaky faucets, clogged or running toilets, and misaligned drawers and blinds. Purchase a spray lubricant to unstick jammed windows, replacement washers to fix a valve, or expanding foam to secure a wobbly pipe.
Stock up on HVAC air filters since they must be changed once or twice yearly to make your unit work more efficiently.
Cleaning and Renewing—Repairs may be infrequent, but there is always something in and out of your
home to clean and restore as age, microorganisms, and weather conditions take their toll. Recall your tub, showers, and bathroom when you notice crumbling, peeling, mold, or mildew. Remove and clean your exhaust fans to enable them to run smoothly. Flush out your water heater and snake out clogs from your drains and disposal. Clear away leaves and other debris from your gutters at least twice yearly. Wash your siding or repaint traditional exteriors for curb appeal and to prevent wood rot. Use a stain blocking primer on ceilings and basement walls. Vacuum out dust and debris from your refrigerator coils. De-gunk your washer and clear the link from your dryer vent. Protect your roof by trimming overgrown shrubs and trees away from your house.
While certain home maintenance tasks require a professional, the homeowner can handle many with the right tools and proper attention to care. If you can afford to hire a handyman to complete a task, that is your choice. But it’s also great to save some money and become more knowledgeable about basic homecare skills to become a more self-sufficient and frugal homeowner.