Before becoming a homeowner you probably heard one (or more) people tell you how home maintenance can sneak up on you.
However, now that you actually own a home, you may be wondering, “okay, now where do I begin with home maintenance tasks”?
Choosing the right plan (or combination of programs) to fit your lifestyle is the key.
Here are some tips for creating a home maintenance plan.
Prevent water damage
Check gutters and downspouts
One of the best preventive maintenance practices is keeping water out of your home. Besides eroding a foundation, rotting wood and eroding your home’s structure, water can also lead to mold.
Take out your ladder once a year and clean your gutters and downspouts.
Scoop out any leaves, twigs and other debris and put into a bucket. Then, use a hose to flush out your downspout from top to bottom, checking to make sure that the water is rushing out freely.
When your downspouts are clogged, all that water is going to hit your foundation, cracking it considerably. Your gutters and downspouts need to be free of debris so that the water can flow freely away from the house.
Check for leaks
Another source of water damage; leaky fixtures, fittings and appliances.
Check your sinks and appliances for water at least once a month. For all appliances attached to a water supply, such as your washing machine, check hoses, supply lines, and drain lines annually. Seals, which deteriorate over time, need special attention. Additionally, check if your refrigerator and dishwasher drip pans are cracked or leaking.
If you have one, check the sump pump in your basement yearly. Ensure that the exterior pipe isn’t clogged and that water can drain from the house. Make sure your sump pump drains properly by pouring five gallons of water into the crock and checking whether the switch turns “on” and the water drains.
Also, check the driveway for cracks, and if any exist, seal them to prevent water expansion from further damaging the surface of your driveway.
Your bathroom fixtures should be recaulked every five years, or when they start discoloring and cracking. The caulk forms a seal between a fixture and the wall, the faucet, or the showerhead. This prevents water from seeping into the wall and damaging your home’s structure. Remove the old caulk, clean the area, and then re-caulk.
Maintain your home’s structure
If the foundation of your home is damaged or deteriorating, the problems will seep into your walls and floors. In the spring, walk around your house, looking for cracks or holes in the foundation. Inside, look for cracks along walls and ceilings, especially where the walls and ceilings meet. Check the foundation by opening and closing all doors and windows – if it’s settling, they’ll start sticking.
Get your roof inspected when the weather is warmer. During winter storms, shingles can be loosened or blown off, so repairs can prolong your roof’s life. Don’t forget to do some touch-up painting and pressure-washing to improve the curb appeal of your home.
Every three to six months, change the HVAC filters. Changing filters depends on their size, but it’s important to stay on top of it because if your system is struggling to work it will wear out faster, plus cost you more on energy costs in the meantime.
Every month, clean out your garbage disposal. Use as hot of water as you can stand in your disposal and sink, and add a little dish soap. Flush the disposal with water. When the disposal is off, use a scrub brush to remove dirt and grime from the screen or drain.
To keep your home safe, test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors annually. To keep major appliances working properly, vacuum under and behind them to keep out dust and cobwebs.
Drain your water heater to flush out the sediment that settles at the bottom of the tank. While you’re at it, make sure your pipes and fixtures are in good shape, especially after a harsh winter. Be on the lookout for insect infestations, such as termites, ants, and mice to head off problems early.
If you find tracking all these maintenance items overwhelming, you’ll need to create a plan.
Choose an option for tracking home maintenance tasks
DIY Home Maintenance Tasks
There are a ton of home maintenance checklists out there on the web. Buy one and use it if you prefer the old-fashioned pen and paper method.
It works great, but it does have its pitfalls:
It’s easy to forget – shoved into a planner or the back of a drawer you forget about all of the good intentions you set for keeping your home maintenance on track.
Also, if you lose it, you’ll have to start all over again – and you won’t have a written record of what you’ve done!
Use an app
A great thing about this option is the ability to set alerts and/or reminders so that the task actually gets done.
And, in the unfortunate event of needing to file a claim with your homeowners’ insurance, you have a record of what you’ve done that can speed up the payout process.
Selling your home
Finally, remember that while detailing your maintenance schedule won’t make or break your house sale, it does help.
Think about it…if you’ve got an expensive car and you’ve kept track of every single thing that’s been done to it, right down to the oil changes, its new owner will feel more confident that you’re not selling them a lemon.
The same can be said for homes where buyers are given a record of routine maintenance that’s been done to the home..
Over the course of five, ten, or fifteen years, it is easy to lose track of things you had done, but keeping detailed records makes it much easier. In addition to saving you money, maintaining your home protects and increases its value. It’s worth taking the time to create a plan that you can follow and that works with your schedule!
For more tips on home maintenance planning and budgeting, check out these areas: