A new home doesn’t come with an “instruction manual,” even so, there are several items that you will need to maintain.
Maintain these often overlooked things now to avoid paying dearly later on.
You’ve finally closed on your new home and are walking away with the keys. Score! Congratulations! But, wait. If you are a former renter turned first-time homeowner, there are pesky maintenance items and responsibilities that now rest squarely on your shoulders. Beyond mowing, painting and maintaining walkways, or getting your gutters blasted, what’s inside of your house counts as well. Neglecting these things could wind up costing you big time.
5 useful maintenance tips for first-time homeowners
If your home has a sump pump, get it on a maintenance schedule.
Even if you are not technically living in a “flood zone,” your home can randomly take on water for many different reasons. For instance, during a rainstorm, water can randomly appear in the basement. If water shows up uninvited, a well-maintained sump pump is your home’s best friend. Ensure that the last checkup was satisfactory and that you have the information about the maintenance company.
When you call to schedule the next checkup, explain that you are the new owner and that you’d like to get the system on a regular schedule. While you’ve got them on the phone ask about the history of the system, especially how it’s functioned over time, and if there have been any repairs made throughout the lifetime of the system.
Clogged drains can be a real, costly pain.
Plumbing is probably one of the last things on your mind, which is exactly why this home maintenance tip should be at the forefront. Trust us, like so many “hidden” things in a home, you don’t realize how much it matters until it stops functioning properly. If your home has trees anywhere near it, the trees’ roots and your drain pipes will meet up at some point, and nature pretty much always wins.
If you have pipes that are older, the roots can move in pretty quickly and take up residence. This will cause all sources of water to back up into your home, which can mean flooding, septic water, and a costly nightmare to repair the damage. The best way to head this one off is to hire a plumber to come and snake your drains every other year. You’re going to want to have a great relationship with a reputable plumber anyway, so why not start on the good foot immediately when there’s nothing urgent?
Your HVAC system is the boss of you and it’s probably a tad needy.
One critical artery to any home is its heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) system. This is what keeps you cool in the warm months and warm in the cool months. It often consists of a furnace and air conditioning unit, with the furnace in your home’s basement or boiler room and the A/C unit outside the home. Being able to heat and cool your home at the touch of a button is one of modern life’s awesome conveniences. But waiting too long to get to know your system can prove to be painfully costly.
To head this off, replace disposable filters every six months. If you’re lucky enough to have a washable filter, do this on the same schedule instead. And, when the weather changes, hire a pro to come and look over your system to ensure everything is tuned up and in working order. Many companies offer a “club” option, that gets them at least two visits a year during which times, the equipment receives maintenance. But membership has its privileges: members often get priority in an emergency and discounted services if anything is amiss.
Apply these strategies to your appliances.
A dishwasher that doesn’t get your dishes all that clean or a moldy front load washing machine are such buzzkills, but if they go unchecked, the root causes of these items can negatively impact the quality of your machines over time. Despite what commercials may tell you, always get as much residue and debris off of your dishes before loading them into the dishwasher.
And make it a priority to open up the filter and clean it with the change of seasons. In the case of your washing machine, wipe out the very front after uses and leave the soap dispenser and door ajar so that any water left behind has the opportunity to evaporate.
Your home’s ducts and vents need your attention too.
Every few years, getting a pro to come and clean your home’s HVAC ducts will not only clear out allergens such as dust, mold and pollen, but it will allow the air to pass through more easily. This will maximize the HVAC system and could save you money on your electricity bill. The same goes for your clothes dryer vents, however, cleaning the vent is not optional. It’s easy to assume your lint trap gets everything, but this is an incorrect assumption that comes with a fire hazard attached to it. Make sure the dryer vent is cleaned out periodically, per the instruction manual or company’s recommendation.
Bonus: Some of these home maintenance tips could potentially be a DIY project if you’re handy. And some, at the very least, can be executed by you after a pro visits once or twice to show you the ropes. But, as with anything pertaining to your home, when in doubt, put down your tools, pick up the phone, and get a professional to come assess the situation for you.