Buying a new home is an exciting time, but of course, can also come with stressors. (All the homeowners nod in agreement!) After the long & extensive process of buying a home, and after you’re all settled in, there are some steps you should take in order to make your home last for years to come. Regular maintenance on a home is so crucial to not only keeping your systems working and in great condition, but also helps maintain the beauty of your home like it was on move-in day. We’re here to talk about 5 important things you should be doing in order to maintain your new home, so read on to learn more!
A clean home isn’t just for looks! Keeping a regular cleaning schedule ensures clean air, longer-lasting floors, and bathroom fans working as they should. Some specific ways to keep up with home cleanings are dusting, vacuuming, washing windows, cleaning ceiling & bathroom fans, cleaning window and door screens, and occasionally cleaning walls for dust. Also, be sure to sweep the chimney and shampoo carpets when needed. It might be a good idea to create an organized list of when and what you will clean in order to make sure things are done regularly. Many people go by the seasons of the year. For example, in the spring and fall, you can make sure to wash windows and clean fans. Other things, such as dusting and vacuuming, should happen more often. Creating a schedule can help keep things streamlined and less stressful. We really like this cleaning checklist from The Spruce. Whatever works for you, be sure to tidy things up regularly in order to keep your home as beautiful as day one!
2. Check Up On Your HVAC Unit
You definitely don’t want your HVAC giving up on you or it costing you thousands to repair down the road. A system that receives poor maintenance will in return perform poorly, which could result in it giving up when you need it most. In order to prevent this, be sure to regularly change air filters as recommended and get yearly inspections by an HVAC technician. Inspections can identify small problems early on. When they aren’t taken care of, these small problems can lead to major damages to your HVAC. Making sure your HVAC unit is running efficiently, will help you to save on unnecessary costs like energy bills.
3. Prevent Water Damage
Water damage in a home can be a big headache to deal with and can cost a lot to fix. Not only that, but water leaks can cause damage to personal items, too. This doesn’t have to be the case and there are ways to prevent water leaks. Some of the ways to best avoid water disasters are making sure windows and doors are sealed correctly, ensuring that your sump pump is in working order and has a battery backup, check-up on bathtubs, showers, toilets, and sinks to make sure their seals are intact and replace when necessary. You’ll also want to regularly clean gutters and drains to prevent blockage. Doing these things can really make a difference in your home and ensures that you did all you could to steer clear of water damages. One tip our project managers always give new homeowners is to turn off water lines when leaving your home for more than a couple of days. Things happen, even in new homes, and something as simple as a refrigerator line breaking can cause major damage to your home.
4. Clear Dryer Vent
Dryer vents can be a huge fire hazard when not kept clean. In fact, nearly 17,000 home fires caused by dryer vents are reported every year and cost $238 million in property damages. Not maintaining upkeep on dryer vents can have huge consequences that could have been easily avoided. Make sure to clean the vent at least once every year, or more depending on the size of your family, if you have pets, and how often you buy new clothes. This will not only prevent dangerous fire hazards but also allows your dryer to work more efficiently. You’ll be able to save up to 30% on your energy bill and reduce your maintenance cost as well. Be sure to stay on top of this, so you won’t find yourself regretting it in the future. While you are at it, make sure you wash your washing machine! Sounds contradictory, but most washing machines have a self-wash setting that you should run about every month. This prevents mold, mildew or odor smells that can build up.
5. Exterior Upkeep
Maintaining your home on the outside can be a big job. There are lots of things you can do that will make your home last, and in the end, the hard work will be worth it. Regular landscape can help you to avoid having to completely redo your yard every year or two. Refreshing your flowers and plants can make such a big difference in the appearance of your home! If you don’t have a green thumb, try utilizing planters around the home for easy swapping and low maintenance. Removing dead plants, putting in fresh mulch, watering flowers, and your grass, and mowing the grass when needed will help keep your home looking beautiful on the outside too. You can always hire a landscaping company to take care of these things for you if you find you’re not able to care for your yard. Next, make sure to power wash the outside of your home regularly, including windows, decks, and porches. Your home needs a good bath every now and then and avoiding any mold build-up will keep your siding in good condition. Do not overlook the importance of cleaning out gutters regularly. This will prevent roof water damage, keep pests away and reduce the risk of a cracked foundation. If all of this sounds overwhelming, or you’re not sure what to look for, hiring a home inspector can help make you aware of any issues you might need to know about. Making sure everything is doing its job is huge in the safety of your family and the quality of your home.
Okay, we gave you five major items but wanted to include a short BONUS checklist of some other great tips that might be helpful.
1. Change your ceiling fan rotation twice a year to increase energy efficiency, putting less strain on your heating and cooling systems. Running a ceiling fan properly in the winter can help you save up to 10% on your heating bill. When you change the direction of the fan, you change the way the air moves, more effectively heating or cooling a room. You want your ceiling fan to rotate counterclockwise in the summer, pushing cool air down. On most fans, you can change the rotation using the directional switch on the motor—typically by turning the switch down. To get the clockwise rotation in winter, just reverse the switch.
2. Clean out exhaust fans once a year. Fans in your home help clean out smells and moisture, but if they can’t do their job efficiently, you run the risk of growing mold in your home. Take the time to remove and clean your bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans. That’ll keep the hardware running smoothly, and the moisture out of your home.
3. Once a year, you’ll need to drain your water heater or have a professional plumber come in to do it. Draining your water heater will flush out any minerals or debris in the system, ensuring it runs more efficiently.
4. Test your sump pump. If your home has a sump pump in the basement, you should test it twice a year. Sump pumps typically last about 10 years, and with proper maintenance, could work even longer.
5. Clean out your refrigerator coils. To keep your favorite cooling appliances running smoothly, add vacuuming out your refrigerator’s coils to your bi-annual deep clean. Typically located at the bottom of the fridge, you simply remove the cover and vacuum out dust and debris.
Don’t let the excitement of a new home distract you from essential steps to take in order to maintain the quality of your home. Your future self will thank you! We hope this helped some new homeowners know where to start in order to keep their homes lasting for years.