Home Maintenance Tips for New Homeowners
You’ve purchased the perfect home in a great school district, spent time unpacking and making it your own with a killer interior design plan. Now it’s time to keep it running like a well oiled machine! But, depending on the age of your home, the specific maintenance needs and requirements will vary.
Our first home maintenance tip for new homeowners is this: Spring cleaning shouldn’t just happen in Spring (but it shouldn’t rule your life, either). This list of maintenance tips will help keep your home the stress-free living environment you deserve throughout the year.
Windows should be cleaned and checked for any cracks monthly, and draft windows – or cracked seals – should be replaced immediately so as to prevent heat or air from escaping (if you need new windows, we love Andersen). An annual power wash of exterior windows and paint touch up on the trim (if you have wood windows) is a great way to keep everything looking sharp.
A faulty furnace can be an expensive fix – but regularly cleaning the filters and having an HVAC technician check (Tempco Heating and Cooling are our go-to guys) it annually will help keep long-term costs down. Consider a smart thermostat that will help monitor temperature and humidity, your comings and goings, and tailor heating and cooling cycles accordingly – ultimately saving you time and money.
Gutters are the red-headed stepchild of the home improvement world due to their unsightly downspouts and frustrating maintenance, but they shouldn’t be – proper gutter size, installation, and cleaning can help keep water out of your basement and protect your windows, siding, and doors. Clean out the debris frequently (or install a leaf guard system – we like the “Gutter Goalie a Snap” from Crown Exteriors Inc.), especially in the fall after the leaves have dropped; and consider burying downspouts to keep that basement dry and transform a soggy lawn into a dry one.
Carpet & Hardwood Floors
Traffic – it’s especially important to keep hardwood floors maintained with refinishing. The type of flooring upkeep required (mopping, vacuuming, buffing) depends on what flooring you have in your home. Start with an inspection: because floors receive a lot of foot traffic, inspect as needed to fix scratches, or every 10-15 years.
The filters, coils, and fins on an air conditioner require regular maintenance – if not cleaned, you could see energy bills go up as efficiency and performance plummets. You could see a 5-15% decrease in your air conditioner’s energy consumption simply by replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one.
Air is constantly moving throughout your home (obviously, you live on planet Earth), so there’s constant movement within filters. Clean air results in healthy family members, lower repair costs in the long run and overall, improved HVAC efficiency. Commonly, you should replace your filters every 3 months; more often if you have an older home. This is one of the easiest home maintenance projects you could tackle and most homeowners do it themselves.
We’re pretty sure TLC’s 1999 hit “No Scrubs” referred to people who don’t take care of their lawn as well as those hollering out the passenger side of their best friend’s ride. If you weren’t both with a green thumb, lawn maintenance might not be high on your to-do list, but it’s one of the first things guests see when visiting your home, curb appeal specifics may be required by some Homeowner’s Associations, and you don’t want to be that guy for your neighbors.
If lawn TLC isn’t your thing, there are lots of great professionals you can hire (we recommend A.M. Landscape Design). But if you have a green thumb, remember to rake leaves often in fall, wash any outdoor furniture, plant flowers in spring (or get perennials once), mow weekly (or more frequently in case of heavy rain) during the spring, summer and fall; and every spring, trim bushes and trees.
Appliance maintenance varies widely by type and level of use, but for a refrigerator, for example, coils should be vacuumed regularly (at least annually), and remember to stock up – a full fridge uses less energy than an empty one! Clean the lint trap on your dryer after every load, check the dryer exhaust duct for bends monthly, and clean drain pipe filter on front-loading washers every few weeks.
All About Those Drains
Drains are like tax deductions: easily overlooked until it’s a big, messy and expensive problem. Proper drain maintenance will help maintain the plumbing in your entire house. Insulate any exterior pipes, check for leaks (especially in the water heater), and make sure if you have radiators that they remain leveled. Finally, replace old faucets (we use a lot of Moen faucets) and washers throughout the house – corrosion is fairly common.
Just like keeping up with your health, new homeowners keeping up with regular maintenance will prevent future stresses, save money, and keep it a “no-scrubs” level of which TLC would be proud. And as always, if you need help or would like recommendations on companies to use to help maintain or fix your home, we’re here for you anytime.