One of the big concerns many home buyers have is the amount of work a home will be in the long run – and rightfully so. In fact, many people cite this kind of maintenance as one of the reasons they want to choose a new home over an existing one when they are buying.
The truth is, all homes need regular maintenance. Hartford Homes believes that by completing tasks regularly, whether monthly, seasonally, or annually, homeowners can prevent a lot of major and costly issues. Although buying a new home means you can start off with a clean slate, the Hartford team makes a point to educate their new home owners that just because a house is new does not mean it is exempt from regular maintenance tasks. Doing regular checks equals less stress and money spent in the future, because the easiest fixes are always the ones that never become problems in the first place.
Inspect and clean fireplace and chimney annually. While the potential fire hazard is a no-brainer, remembering to do this every year is sometimes difficult.
Replace air filters seasonally. This will reduce allergens in the air, and will also cut down on the wear and tear of the internal parts of your furnace by increasing air flow.
3. Laundry Room
Vacuum the clothes dryer exhaust pipe once a year to prevent fire hazards, and if the pipe is made of plastic, replace it with metal. The dry heat combined with lint and plastic is a recipe for disaster if left unchecked.
Test your automatic garage door opener sensors monthly to ensure they still reverse when the sensor beam is blocked. Garage doors are not very expensive to service, but they are very expensive to replace. Plus, the possibility of an accident with an improperly functioning door can be scary.
5. Air Conditioning
Clean leaves and debris away from central A/C condenser. These obstructions not only reduce air flow, but can cause standing water around the unit which in turn can grow mold and algae. Blowing the spores from these growths through your house is a major health hazard.
6. Windows & Doors
Inspect window and door caulking and weather stripping annually. High utility bills in the summer and winter happen when your home isn’t airtight. Before winter rolls in, make sure all doors and windows have caulk lines that are not dry, cracked, or weathered. Cutting damaged caulk lines with a box cutter and replacing them using a caulk gun is a relatively simple project that will pay dividends on utility bills.
7. Water Pipes
Check toilets, sinks, and washing machines for leaks. One of the top reasons for home insurance claims is water damage caused by leaky pipes leading to washing machines and toilets. Damage to floors, ceilings, and other appliances and furniture can be prevented by conducting regular checks on the connections, seals, and pipes leading to the washing machine and toilet.
Gutters are notorious for being the most distasteful of annual maintenance tasks for homeowners. Making sure gutters are properly functioning and free of debris is essential in preventing damage to basements and foundations by water seepage.
Checking for roof damage is another maintenance task that is seen as a chore, but is essential to prevent major damage to a structure. Any missing, damaged, discolored, or gravel-less shingles should be replaced immediately to prevent major water seepage, which could affect the entire structure before it becomes obvious from within the home.
While owning a home is a major commitment, both in terms of finances and lifestyle, basic maintenance and upkeep ensures longevity of your home, and reduces the chances that an unforeseen problem will arise. Keeping a new home beautiful and running efficiently can be easier than you think, and is a worthwhile commitment that will pay dividends throughout the time you spend there.
This article was originally written for Hartford Homes and appeared on page 6 of Real Estate Weekly on Saturday October 24, 2015.