Tackling those maintenance tasks around the house might not be your first choice for a beautiful fall Saturday. However, since your home is probably your most significant investment, maintaining it is one of the best things you could be doing.
The upkeep on a typical home can be expensive and time-consuming. However, when compared to the cost of replacing something like a heating system, on which regular maintenance was disregarded, it looks much more reasonable.
An accepted rule of thumb for budgeting maintenance costs is to set aside about one percent of the home’s purchase price for annual maintenance. For a $200,000 house, that is around $2,000. If you have experienced a year in which several items broke down, you will understand that repair costs add up quickly. One thing that could help you avoid some of those issues is sticking to a house maintenance checklist.
Follow these home maintenance tips to keep your property in excellent condition. If you just purchased your home, consider this your new homeowner guide:
Here are some simple, inexpensive tasks you should complete every month:
- Check the HVAC system filters: While some filters are reusable, most are disposable and need to be replaced. They will need cleaning and replacing every one to three months.
- Test your smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors: You should change the batteries twice a year along with the monthly test.
- Check for leaks around toilets and sinks: Leaking water can cost hundreds of dollars.
- Inspect grout and caulking and fill in any voids or cracks. Doing this helps to avoid damage from seeping water.
- Check the kitchen vent hood filter and clean or replace it as needed.
- Walk around the exterior of your house, checking for issues with the foundation, gutters, or drain pipes.
Fall maintenance gets you ready for those all-important winter months when much of life moves indoors.
- Contract an HVAC professional to inspect your heating system.
- Turn off the outside hose faucets. Shut off their water supply and drain the lines.
- Hire a professional to inspect the fireplace (or wood stove) chimney before lighting the season’s first fire.
- Clean the gutters and check your roof.
- Check exterior grade, and fill in any depressions near the foundation that could accumulate water or snow. This relatively quick job could prevent a wet basement or damage to the foundation.
For many homeowners, winter is a time to hibernate. But before you do that, here are a few maintenance tasks to perform:
- Check for ice dams on your roof. Ice dams form when snow on the roof melts during the day and freezes at night. Keep heavy snow off your roof to help prevent this problem.
- Cold air can sneak in around doors and windows, causing heating bills to skyrocket. Experts recommend lighting a stick of incense and slowly moving it around the seams of windows and doors. If the smoke moves around instead of rising in a straight line, you have leaks.
- Cover outdoor air-conditioning units to prevent damage from snow and ice.
- Test your sump pump now to make sure it works during the spring thaw.
Now is the time to check for winter damage and prepare for warmer weather:
- Give your HVAC system a professional tune-up to make sure it is ready to handle hot weather.
- Inspect your roof for evident snow and ice damage. If you spot anything suspicious, bring in a qualified contractor to confirm and repair it.
- Check the gutters for damage from ice buildup. If they sag, they might not drain properly.
- Look at the sidewalks and driveway. You should repair cracks and buckling caused by freezing temperatures.
- Check for leaks around doors and windows again. Re-seal with caulking to prevent the loss of cooled air during summer.
Although you might have an activity-filled summer planned, set aside some time to maintain your home so you can enjoy these activities with peace of mind:
- Look for cracks in the foundation and check the crawlspace for moisture after heavy rain.
- Remove grass and weeds that are growing around the outdoor HVAC units.
- Inspect the deck and add a coating of sealant or stain if it looks faded and worn.
- Check the siding for cracks and other signs of potential problems.
Annual maintenance and check-up
Here are a few maintenance tasks to perform at least once a year:
- Clean the clothes dryer exhaust vents. Lint buildup can cause inefficiencies and might create a fire hazard.
- Lubricate garage door springs. Whether you have an opener or not, greasing your garage door springs can make it much easier to operate.
- Hire a professional exterminator to check for termites.
- If your sewage collects in a tank, have your septic system inspected once a year and emptied when needed.
Add a homeowners insurance review to your annual check-up list
Another essential task is to create a home inventory. It will help you determine how much personal property coverage you need, and it also serves as documentation if you have a loss.
If you need assistance establishing how much coverage is right for you, talk to one of the advisors at NSI Insurance Group. Our number one priority is our customers’ satisfaction!