If you're getting ready to move into a home, it may be an exciting and daunting time. Owning a home comes with a lot of responsibility - both financial and otherwise. Unlike when you're renting, home maintenance becomes your sole responsibility as a homeowner. Experts recommend budgeting at least 1 percent of your home price for maintenance each year. However, as your home gets older, you may find the need to adjust this according to the age and maintenance needs of your property. The latest State of Home Spending report estimates that homeowners spend around $3,192 on maintenance, and in some cases, much more. Neglecting to carry out standard regular home maintenance tasks year-round can leave you and your home in a precarious financial situation. And while it may seem overwhelming at first, learning how to separate the important home maintenance tasks from the optional ones can help you enjoy your home for much longer and much cheaper.
Schedule Your Gutters For A Cleaning At Least Twice A Year
Over the months of the year, leaves and debris can build up in your home’s gutters. If left unattended, they can end up clogging the gutters and causing a backlog of water and dirt. More importantly, blocked gutters can damage your home’s foundation, and cause additional issues like pest infestations, mold or mildew. Ideally, homeowners should clean their gutters at least twice a year - more if your home is close to foliage like pine trees, or you live in an area with regular heavy rainfall.
Most homeowners can do their bi-annual gutter cleaning themselves with the help of a ladder, gutter scoop, and power washer. If you do not have a power washer, you can also use your garden hose. A great tip is to start with removing the larger debris or junk before using the pressure washer to blast away the remaining dirt. Be careful on the ladder though. Each year, there are over 164,000 ladder-related ER injuries in the U.S.
Check And Clean Indoor Vents And Furnace Filters Regularly
No homeowner likes a dust-filled home. Not only can it be visually unappealing, but it can also cause allergy symptoms like sneezing, watery eyes, itching, and shortness of breath. According to a recent report by NBC Today, the average home collects 40 pounds of dust every year. The build-up of dust can also cause long-term respiratory conditions. A dusty home can not only make you sick, but can also end up damaging appliances such as televisions and refrigerators.
However, by keeping your indoor vents clean, you can reduce this risk drastically. Cleaning your air ducts/vents can easily be done yourself with the use of a microfiber cloth, vacuum, and a new furnace filter. The timeline for changing your furnace filter will fluctuate according to design and season. For instance, in winter it is recommended that you change it every three months.
Finally, in between vent cleanings, you can also keep dust at bay by investing in an air purifier, changing your linen regularly, and vacuuming wall to wall once a week. Many of the best air purifiers for dust have programmable timers, so you can set them to come on regularly if you're liable to forget. You should also get your HVAC system checked and serviced biannually by an HVAC technician. As a bonus, this can also help to improve your home’s heating system and reduce your energy bills in the long run.
Remember To Clean Out Your Garbage Disposal
If your home comes with a garbage disposal, you should clean it every week. However, some people can get away with cleaning their garbage disposal every two or three weeks if they are careful with what goes into it. A simple trick for cleaning your garbage disposal is to use ice, coarse salt, and lemon to clean the blades and neutralize any odors. Don’t forget to avoid pouring oil or grease down your garbage disposal, as this can easily solidify and block your plumbing. Instead, get rid of cooking oil or grease by letting it cool, before pouring it into a container or plastic bag, and putting it in the trash.
Inspect Your Home For Leaky Faucets Or Signs Of Water Damage
There are quite a few ways you can spot leaks in your home. While they can be one of the simplest issues to repair, they can also cause the most damage if left unaddressed. If your water bill or meter reading is unusual, it is time to do some investigating. A great tip is to add some food coloring to your toilet tank, before tracing it back to the bowl. Water stains on your walls or the growth of mildew can also indicate a leak in your home. The growth of mold and mildew can cause severe mold and skin allergies. It can also be costly to remove if left to grow. According to estimates by HouseLogic, the cost of mold remediation can range between $500 and $10,000 depending on the location and extent of mold. If you have structural damage, the cost of repairs can be up to $30,000. Also, don’t forget to look for leaks on the outside of your home.
Refresh Your Home’s Exterior Aesthetics
Curb appeal is not only for homeowners looking to get top prices for their homes. It helps to maintain your home’s exterior in the best condition and can give you great pride in your new home. The colder months and hurricane season can cause dirt and grime to build up on your home and hide its distinguishing features or paint job. Grab a power washer or garden hose when spring comes around, and spray wash your home’s exterior. If some areas of your home’s exterior paint job are looking worn, don’t be afraid to reach for paint and brush for some touch-up painting.
Keeping your home in the best condition is a year-round job - but a feasible one. With some planning, and by doing these home maintenance tasks consistently, you can ensure that your home is there to grow with you and your family.
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