If you want your home to stay in good condition, you’ll need to conduct routine maintenance. Good maintenance habits will keep your home cleaner and more hygienic, since you’ll clear out unwanted dust and debris from uncommonly seen areas. It will also keep your home safer, since you’ll notice any flaws or security risks proactively and get the chance to address them. You can also improve the functionality of your appliances and home systems by keeping them in good working order, saving money on your utility bills in the process.
Even better, you can do most of these home maintenance items on your own, with little to no personal expertise.
Important Home Maintenance Items
These are some of the most important maintenance actions to perform on your home:
1. Clean your chimney and fireplace. First, if your home has a chimney and/or fireplace, make sure you’re cleaning them out on a regular basis. Every year, you should be inspecting your chimney for any cracks in the brickwork or masonry. If water gets into these cracks and freezes, they could easily expand and grow worse. Chimneys tend to accumulate creosote and debris over time, which can pose a major fire hazard, so you’ll want to clear out this debris often. Even if you have an electrical or gas fireplace, it’s important to inspect your unit and keep it clean to reduce your risk of a fire.
2. Swap out your HVAC filter. Your HVAC unit relies on an air filter to run smoothly; this filter catches bits of dust and debris that would otherwise make it to the inside of the unit, causing damage that could reduce the lifespan of the unit. Over time, these air filters become clogged with dust and debris, reducing the air flow to the unit and decreasing its efficiency, making it work harder than it needs to (and also reducing its lifespan). Be sure to replace this filter every 3 months, or more often if you use your heating and cooling system frequently.
3. Clean the gutters. Your home’s gutters are responsible for ensuring that rainwater is carried away from the roof successfully. However, over time, they can accumulate leaves, seeds, and other foreign materials—especially if you have trees overshadowing your roof. Every year, or more frequently, be sure to clear your gutters of these materials so your gutters can remain operational.
4. Inspect and clean your appliances. Take the time to both inspect and clean your household’s major appliances. These typically rely on a complex series of moving parts, and have at least one area that’s vulnerable to the accumulation of dirt, dust, or other foreign materials. For example, you’ll want to clean out your refrigerator’s coils so it can continue to work efficiently. You’ll want to inspect your dryer vent for accumulated lint and vacuum it, so it no longer poses a fire hazard. It’s also important to check wires and hoses for wear and tear. Ultimately, your goals are maximizing the lifespan of the appliance, improving its efficiency, and keeping it safe to use.
5. Inspect and seal your windows and doors. Before winter hits, go around the house and check your windows and doors for air leaks. If you notice one, seal it with a bit of caulk. This is an easy process, but if you neglect it, any holes or cracks responsible for leaking air could become wider over time, eventually interfering with your ability to heat or cool your home efficiently. This is also a good time to inspect for other forms of damage.
6. Inspect your roof for damage. Your roof is a highly important yet vulnerable part of your home. Even a small point of damage could lead to much more extensive damage, and any flaw in your structure could lead to a leak. Water damage is highly destructive to a home, especially when not caught early, so it’s good to inspect and repair your roof as needed.
7. Commit seasonal changes. You’ll also need to conduct maintenance to prepare for changing seasons. For example, as you approach winter, it’s important to drain any external pipes and hoses you have, and shut off water to them. You may also need to cover or remove your air conditioning unit(s).
Taking Action Early
One of the best steps you can take as a homeowner is simply taking action early. If you notice something wrong with any part of your house, even if it’s something little, taking care of it while it’s no big deal can prevent it from becoming burdensome and expensive.
While you’re conducting these routine maintenance items, keep an eye out for anything that might be awry, and keep track of any aberrations you notice in your day-to-day life.