Home Ownership & Maintenance
Routine Home Maintenance
So you've just moved into your brand new home. You shopped around and did a lot of research to find the home that was just right for you. You signed a big pile of documents at closing, the moving trucks have left, all the boxes are unpacked, and all your belongings are in their proper places. What should you do now?
One of the most important things to remember is that you are responsible for certain routine maintenance items to keep your house functioning properly. These tasks tend to be relatively simple. For instance, many types of heating and air conditioning systems contain filters to remove dirt and dust from the air. A home owner should change these filters when necessary.
Cleanliness is a factor that will make your home last longer and work better. Dust and dirt, if allowed to accumulate, can harm the finishes on blinds, cabinets, countertops, floors, sinks, tubs, toilets, walls, tiles and other items. If dirt does accumulate, make sure to clean it with a substance that does not scratch or damage the finishes.
On the outside of your home, make sure that gutters and downspouts do not get clogged with leaves or other objects. The exterior of your house is built to withstand exposure to the elements, but a periodic cleaning will improve the appearance and, in many instances, prolong the life of siding and other exterior products.
When you bought your home, you received a warranty from the builder on workmanship and materials. This warranty applies to problems related to the construction of the home, but it does not apply to problems that arise because of failure to perform routine maintenance. For example, if your roof begins to leak after six months because of faulty workmanship, your warranty would cover that. If you develop a problem because water backed up in clogged gutters that you should have cleaned, the builder is not responsible for repairs. Also, some items, such as appliances, may be covered by manufacturers' warranties and are not the responsibility of the builder.
You should fully familiarize yourself with the terms of your warranty soon after you move into your home. With all the excitement surrounding a move into a new home, most people have little desire to curl up in front of the fireplace and read a legal document. Nonetheless, you should not wait to read your warranty until a problem arises. Set aside an hour to learn what your rights and responsibilities are from the outset.
Top 5 Maintenance Projects
Review some tips from professional remodelers on maintaining your greatest investment, your home. Regular home inspection and repair will help maintain the condition of your home and save on costly emergencies in the future.
An informal poll of professional remodelers revealed five tips for maintaining your home to keep it in top condition and support home value. Proper home maintenance should start with a regular inspection of the home’s exterior and the heating and cooling system to ensure the home is running smoothly.
- Inspect the roof.
An examination of the roof will reveal spots that need repair, preventing leaks that ruin home interiors and valuables. Regular roof maintenance prevents roof problems leading to structural damages and other expensive emergencies.
- Add insulation.
Most houses can benefit from installing or repairing the insulation barrier in the home. Adequate attic insulation, in particular, keeps the home from losing energy with wasted heating and cooling. A better insulated home means less work for the heating and cooling system and lower energy bills.
- Repaint surfaces.
A fresh coat of paint does wonders for a home by updating the color palette and giving the home a shiny new start. Quality paint jobs also protect surfaces and prevent problems like rotting wood. Consider using no- or low-VOC paints for reducing fumes while drying and keeping the home air quality more comfortable.
- Monitor flashing and caulking.
Worn window flashing and caulking allows water to penetrate the walls, causing damage to drywall and framing. Asking a professional to inspect windows can prevent water intrusion, saving thousands in major repairs down the road. Additionally, examine caulking and sealing in bathrooms to ensure water isn’t leaking into walls or floors.
- Check the water heater and heating and cooling system.
Waiting until the water heater, furnace, or air-conditioning fails will cost more in emergency repairs. Bring in experts to assess these units to ensure they are functioning and receive needed repairs. Newer water heaters and HVAC systems can increase home efficiency, bringing down water and energy bills.
- Inspect the roof.