When buying a home, most people probably first think of financial responsibility. Don’t let yourself forget, however, about the time and labour that homeownership also requires. Just like regular oil changes for your car, keep your engine happy and healthy, keeping up with regular home maintenance tasks will keep you from future headaches and wasted money.
It can be intimidating to think about these various tasks, especially if you’re a new homeowner. It’s a long list — there’s no denying that. The good news is that you can do the majority of it on your own without much experience. Google is your best friend, and if you get stuck, call up your local handyman to help you out.
In order to maximize your efficiency and get all of these tasks done, you might want to create a home maintenance calendar for yourself. Whether online or on paper, you can jot down small, regular tasks for each weekend and not be too overwhelmed. We’ve listed tasks that need to be done monthly, quarterly, and biannually. We’ve also given you a list of tasks to be completed seasonally. Not every expert agrees as to which task needs to be done in which season, so this isn’t a black and white list, necessarily. Do what works for you and your schedule, and as long as all these things get accomplished, your home will be happy for years and years to come.
However, keeping your home in the same beautiful condition as it was on day one can sometimes be a challenge. But by following our tips below, your new home can remain in tip-top shape for many years to come!
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Home Maintenance Tips Worth Doing
Maintain Your Filters
One of the more important maintenance tips for homeowners is making sure you keep up with changing your heating and cooling filters. Your central heating and air conditioning unit work hard to push air throughout your house. By changing your filters on a regular basis, you help the unit operate efficiently and effectively.
It already requires a significant amount of energy to run air through the various vents – failing to install a clean filter makes this process much more challenging, and can put unnecessary strain on your central air unit. Make sure you pay particular attention to the rating of the filter you are using.
Some filters need to be changed monthly while others are “rated” to last much longer. A quality filter can usually be bought for your system that is designed to be modified far less frequently.
Change Batteries For Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detectors
How to Maintain A HouseWhile changing the batteries is a small maintenance item. Making sure that you smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working is not. Your families safety depends on it!
The last thing you ever want to go through is having your home destroyed by fire when it could have easily been avoided. Having working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is critical.
In some states, including mine (Massachusetts), they are a requirement for sale. This is a great law that is designed to reduce casualties from two potentially hazardous situations.
You don’t need to be selling your home to realize that keeping up with your local smoke and carbon monoxide detector regulations can be the difference in saving lives!
Inspect and Clean Your Furnace or Boiler
Heating and cooling systems push a lot of dust along with temperature-controlled air, and this dust and possibly condensation can lead to degradation of your unit and the ducts it uses. An annual inspection by a certified service professional is always a good idea.
The service person can clean up any accumulated debris and can verify that your system is functioning as it should. When you have a forced hot water heating system that is serviced by oil, the maintenance requirements are little more stringent.
Oil, unfortunately, does not burn as clean as gas and therefore can cause a system to be cleaned on a more regular basis. Most heating companies recommend an oil fired heating system be tuned up once a year where gas can typically be done every two years.
Keep in mind that staying up with maintenance on your heating system can extend the lifespan by years. Also, consider that if a buyer sees you have not been maintaining the system, they may take into account offering less for your home thinking they may need to replace it sooner than expected.
Keeping up with your heating system is a maintenance tip, you should never neglect as it is one of the most costly items in your home to replace.
Check Your Water Heater
Water Heater MaintenanceYour water heater may heat thousands of gallons of water a year, and like every appliance, it can only perform well for so long.
A yearly maintenance check is recommended for any water heater, even one you just purchased.
Seals have a way of failing, and drains can clog – especially if you have hard water. If you notice even minor leaks or severe scale build-up, consider contacting a plumber or water heater installation company to take a look.
It is far better to catch a failing water heater before it goes out completely than to come home to a flooded room or basement. Water heaters are an area that home inspectors will pay particular attention to. Making sure that you do not have any pipe fittings that are leaking or corroded is important.
At home inspections leaking fittings are quite common because most homeowners do not pay attention to a maintenance item like this until it becomes a bigger problem.
Check Your Toilets and Faucets
Home inspectors and appraisers notice everything, and they are sure to see if you have any problems with your toilets or your sinks. Take a moment every six months or so to inspect your basic plumbing fixtures. Water will find any available avenue to escape, especially when under pressure, and you can guarantee that sooner or later one of these fixtures will begin leaking.
If you are handy, replace the faulty seal. If not, bring in a plumber to tackle the problem before it becomes much bigger.
Spruce Up Your Front Door
Important Home Maintenance tasks may seem trivial, but your front door is usually the first close look anyone gets at your home and is worth sprucing up on a yearly basis because of this. If you have a hardwood door with a natural look, take the time to clean and polish it. If it is painted, consider touching it up or repainting it as necessary.
Buyers like a welcoming, well-maintained front door. Have an old door handle that is very weathered? Consider upgrading to something that will be visually appealing while also offering good home security.
Keep in mind that maintaining the curb appeal of your home will pay you back when it comes time to sell.
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Vacuum Refrigerator Condenser Coils
Most people do not think of inspecting their refrigerators. They seem like self-contained units, and there is not a lot the average person can do to maintain them. However, the condenser coils on the back of your fridge will collect dust, and this dust can inhibit its operation.
Pulling the fridge out and cleaning off the dust can help your fridge work more efficiently, and will give you the opportunity to clean behind and underneath it as well.
More than likely if you clean your coils, the refrigerator will work noticeably better. Refrigerators are expensive to replace, so this is an important maintenance tip for homeowners not to forget.
Clean Your Exhaust Hood
Cooks working in professional kitchens are required to clean vent hoods regularly. It is a dirty job, typically involving caked-on grease and dust. Your kitchen vent may not be as dirty as one used in a professional setting, but it still poses a fire hazard and is unsightly when not cleaned regularly.
Take a few minutes to wash off any accumulated grime and to replace the filter if there is one. Exhaust hoods are a simple maintenance item that will stick out like a sore thumb if you do not deal with it.
Maintain Your Garage Door
Keep Garage Doors MaintainedYour garage door and opener also require regular maintenance to operate as intended. The chain on your opener must be lubricated, along with any exposed metal joints, and you should check to make certain the door runs smoothly in its tracks.
Most inspectors will pay close attention to a garage door because of the potential for significant injury to a child or pet. Most newer garage door systems have electronic eyes at the bottom that sense movement. These need to be checked regularly to make sure they are functioning as intended.
An Ounce Of Prevention
Taking the time to do these things now, before you ever put your home up for sale, will make the whole selling process easier when you finally begin it in earnest. You and your family will also enjoy the benefits of a cleaner, more livable home right now.
While the above-mentioned home maintenance items are mostly considered small potatoes, there are always other common home selling issues that could derail your sale far more quickly. Things like a failed septic system, not taking out required permits for work, and appraisal issues are potential roadblocks.
When selling a home, it is important to stay out ahead of the curve and pay particular attention to all the potential issues that could get in the way. A prepared home seller enjoys the benefit of not having to face those unfortunate things that can surface in a Real Estate transaction!
How to Maintain a Clean Home
Keeping a Kitchen Clean
- Never go to bed with a dirty kitchen. Even if you can’t get to the dishes right after a meal, make sure the kitchen is clean before bedtime to prevent an unmanageable mess.
- Clean out your sink. After dinner each night, wash the dirty dishes that have accumulated through the day. If you have a dishwasher, load the dishes in for cleaning. If you don’t, set them in a rack to dry once hand cleaned. When the sink is clear, wipe it down with soap and a dish towel to sanitize and clean it. Rinse with water. This step should take only a few minutes to complete.
- Spray a kitchen cleaner on the stovetop, tabletops, and counters. Then wipe down with a clean paper or cloth towel. Be sure to clean any spots or stuck-on food as you go. It should only take a minute’s worth of work.
- Inspect the kitchen floor for any spots or spills and use the same cloth you used on the counter to wipe them up. You don’t need to use a spray cleaner to clean the floor tiles unless the spots are stuck on. Aim to spend 30 seconds to 1 minute on this task.
- Sweep the floor with a broom quickly if necessary. If there are food particles or visible dirt, you need to get rid of it before it builds up later. Spend 1 to 2 minutes on this job.
- Do a wider clean every month or two that involves cleaning harder-to-reach and higher areas of the kitchen. For example, be sure to clean the kitchen exhaust fan, cabinet doors and tops, and light fittings regularly, to keep them from becoming dust and pest attractants.
- Set rules in your house to require everyone to pitch in. If someone goes in to get a snack, make it clear that it’s their responsibility to clean up immediately after they make the mess.
Keeping a Bathroom Clean
- Spray a glass cleaner on the mirror if has spots on it. Use a paper or cloth towel to wipe it down quickly. It should take only a few seconds, and if there’s no visible debris on the mirror, skip the step. You’ll get to it when you do your heavier cleaning.
- Wipe down the sink with the same cloth you used on the mirror. If you didn’t clean the mirror, spray the cleaner in the sink and on the faucet and wipe up. Spend no more than 30 seconds on this step unless you have trouble spots that need attention.
- Use the same cloth from the sink and mirror to wipe down the edges of your tub, if you have one, and then the toilet seat, and rim. Make sure to do the toilet last. These tasks take only 1 minute to do.
- Scrub the toilet bowl with a toilet brush if there’s a visible ring. It should take only 30 seconds. Leaving a ring to sit will make heavier cleaning take longer. If there’s no ring, skip it for later.
- Spray an all-purpose daily cleaner on the shower doors or curtains and wipe down with a clean, dry cloth. Once you get this into your routine, it should take 1 minute and will help drastically cut down on the build-up of soap scrum.
Keeping a Bedroom Clean
- Take 2 minutes to make the bed. If you’re in a hurry, pull the comforter over unkempt sheets, and smooth it down. You’ll be getting in it soon anyway.
- Hang your worn clothes from the day on hangers or toss them into the dirty clothes hamper. Take a minute to put away any jewellery or accessories, which will help keep the room clutter-free.
- Clear off the nightstands from last night. Remove any old water glasses, magazines, or items you don’t need right by the bed, and put them in the proper place. This should take 30 seconds.
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Keeping a Living Room Clean
- Straighten up the sofa. Remove any toys, books, or junk, and fluff the pillows. Fold any throw blankets, and put them back in place. This step takes 1 to 2 minutes and is essential in keeping the room clean.
- Wipe down table surfaces with a clean cloth to remove crumbs, prints, or water rings. Spending 1 minute on this step will ensure you’re lightening your load when it’s time to do a more substantial cleaning job.
- Use a hand-held vacuum to pick up any dirt, food, or miscellaneous grime on the floor or rugs. Take 1 to 2 minutes here, and don’t forget to zip over the surfaces of sofas or chairs if needed.
- Clear the floors of any clutter. Take up to 4 or 5 minutes to put away any toys, books, games, or other items that aren’t where they belong. With this last step, your home should be in top shape for the day.
These are tips that the entire family can and should use. All family members living in the home should help take care of the home they live in. Almost everyone can do something, even small children. There is no reason why Mom should clean up behind herself and everyone else too! After all, if everyone is partaking of the blessings of the home they live in, everyone should help take care of it. While no one will change overnight, incorporating these tips into your daily life will soon make new and neater habits for even the messiest of the messes. A whole house filtration system installed on the air intake for the furnace will reduce the need to clean the furnace and the house. Dust will not appear.
Use these additional home maintenance resources to keep your home in tip-top shape! You’ll also increase the odds of selling your home for top dollar when the time comes.