Proactive Ways to Maintain Your Home
Taking care of a home is a huge responsibility, and one that can easily slip your mind if you’re not diligent about it. Most problems in the home start out small, so it behooves any homeowner to be proactive about checking their home and the premises on a regular basis. The earlier you discover things like mold and cracks in the foundation, the better your chances are at being able to fix the situation before any permanent damage is done that would devalue the home or make it uninhabitable. For instance, you don’t want to be dealing with air conditioner repairs in the middle of summer, so it’s best to stay on top of these things.
We know that maintaining a home is a large undertaking, so we’ve narrowed it down to 10 steps. Let these serve as a checklist that you can refer back to throughout the year.
#1 – Check the Electric
Even if you don’t use every outlet in the home, it’s always a good idea to check to make sure they’re all in good working order. Routinely check anything that’s running electricity at least once per year. That includes all outlets, fixtures, doorbells, etc. In the event that you find a dead outlet or similar issue, you can hire an electrician to fix it.
#2 – Ceiling Fan Efficiency
Many people forget to change the directions of their ceiling fans when the seasons change. You should be doing this twice per year. At the beginning of summer, you want the fan running counterclockwise to keep your rooms cool. During the winter, you want your fans running clockwise to push heat down into the rooms. Set reminders in your phone so that you don’t forget to switch them over.
#3 – Annually Clean Exhaust Fans to Prevent Mold
The fans in your home – specifically, the ones in the bathrooms and kitchen – help keep out moisture. If these fans malfunction, you might start to develop a mold problem within the home. What we recommend is taking the time to clean all exhaust fans once per year. This ensures everything stays in good working order so your home can stay moisture-free.
#4 – Maintain Drains
Clogged pipes can lead to nasty problems in the tub and sink. Always be conscious of how fast water is draining. If you notice that a particular drain is draining slow, that’s your cue to clear the obstruction with either a snake or a clog removal tool. Drain cleaner also works, but it’s hard on the pipes.
#5 – Clear the Gutters and Check the Roof
This is another one that can be easy to forget because people generally aren’t on their roofs that often. For gutters, you’ll want to clear them of debris at least twice per year (once in the spring and once in the fall). For the roof, make sure to give all the shingles a close inspection at least once per year. If you find any damage, you’ll want to patch it up as soon as possible. Maintaining the roof and the gutters drastically prevents water damage and leaks.
#6 – Check the Foundation
Foundation damage will greatly devalue your home’s value if not caught and addressed immediately. Take the time to annually check both inside the home and around the outer perimeter for cracks (no matter how small). If the foundation crack is small, there are ways to patch it up yourself. For larger cracks, you might need to solicit the help of a structural engineer.
#7 – Wash the Siding and Touch Up the Paint
A surefire way to brighten your home’s curb appeal is by cleaning the siding and touching up the paint. People often forget that houses can and do get dirty throughout the year, which is why we recommend cleaning the siding twice a year (once in the spring and once in the fall). However, do NOT use too much water pressure as it can damage your home. After you’ve washed the home, inspect it closely for areas that can use touch-up paint.
#8 – Defend Your Home’s Perimeter Against Water
Nothing damage’s a home quicker than water that’s allowed to pool and invade the home. After the next rainstorm, walk the perimeter and look for areas in which water is pooling or is not being properly diverted away from the home. This may involve you needing to replace your downspouts. It’s a minor repair that goes a long way in protecting your home.
#9 – Inspect Your Greenery
Great landscaping is another way to brighten your home’s curb appeal. Not only should you keep your lawn mowed, bushes trimmed, and trees properly pruned, but you should also be seeding any bald patches and checking the trees for signs of illness. Sick trees can quickly become a problem for both you and your neighbors. Hire an arborist if you notice your trees have dead limbs or other signs of illness.
#10 – Regularly Service Your HVAC Equipment
Your HVAC equipment is critical to maintaining a comfortable home, so make sure you’re keeping up with the maintenance. This means changing out the air filter and having it regularly serviced by a technician twice per year (once in the fall and once in the spring). Doing so ensures that you can regulate the temperature of the home, thus, avoiding things like residential heating repairs in the middle of winter.