When you buy your first residence and become a proud homeowner, you no doubt have a lot of ideas whirling through your head about how you can fix the place up. But beyond the repairs needed to make your home livable and the upgrades that will ensure the height of functionality while allowing you to put your personal stamp on the space, you’ll find that there are myriad home maintenance tasks that you’ll have to perform annually or semi-annually in order to keep your home in ship shape. And some go well beyond the demands of simple spring cleaning. Although you can always hire service providers to take care of these tasks for you (and some of them may require professional attention), there are also many home maintenance activities you can learn to do on your own in order to save some money. Here are a few you’ll definitely want to put on your list.
Watch where water is going. You might think that inspecting the roof and cleaning the gutters is all you need to do in order to make sure that water doesn’t damage your home. And while this is a good start, the truth of the matter is that you also need to pay attention to water levels around your home if you want to make sure it won’t seep in. In some cases, the downspouts on your gutters could be improperly aligned, causing water to pool rather than flow away from your foundations. Or your property could be improperly graded, bringing water towards the house instead of away from it (you might be surprised how often this occurs). Drains could get blocked during heavy rain. But by keeping an eye on the conditions around the outside of your home you can quickly spot problems and address them in order to avoid water damage.
Replace batteries in smoke alarms. There’s no reason to outsource this task. All you have to do is remember to change out batteries and check the levels of your fire extinguishers every six months when you roll your clocks forward or backward for daylight savings time. This will help to protect your home and its inhabitants in the event of a fire.
Check the breakers. Tripping the breakers is a basic safety task that you should perform every six months or so. This will help you to determine whether or not the safety features in your home’s electrical system are working property to protect you in the event of some kind of electrical failure.
Flush the water heater and snake the drains. When you fail to properly maintain your plumbing, you could end up with major problems at major expense. So you’ll probably want to flush your water heater and snake your drains once a year. These tasks are not fun, but they’re really not all that difficult, so if you don’t want to pay for a plumber, look for tutorials online that will get you on the right track. And if you have a dedicated septic tank, it will need to be cleaned every 1-3 years on average, although this is a task that most homeowners should not attempt since poisoning and asphyxiation are distinct possibilities.
Service your HVAC system. You can probably change filters on your own, but other maintenance tasks may require the professional touch. For example, replacing Freon is probably a little outside your wheelhouse. However, if you want to make sure you have heat and AC when you need them, it’s imperative that you have your system serviced annually; it’s money well spent.