Ahhh, technology. It’s a great thing that has made so much of our daily lives easier, freeing us up to do the things we enjoy. This goes for home maintenance, too.
Owning a home and handling the upkeep in 2019 is a far cry from the way it was just a decade ago. Why sweep when you can buy a robot to clean your floors for you? Why keep a grocery list on the fridge when you can tell your artificial intelligent assistant to add your items to your electronic list?
Things like these and more make homeowner’s maintenance a walk in the park today for some things, but for others, you simply have to deal with the work necessary to avoid problems. But if you are a new homeowner or ready to tackle maintenance with a focus, what exactly do you need to be aware of?
Here is the complete homeowner’s guide to home maintenance in 2019 to help you take care of the “musts” so you can enjoy your “wants.”
Home Maintenance Starts from the Outside
Although the majority of us spend our time in our houses rather than enjoying the outside, the fact is that if you neglect your exterior, the interior quickly becomes a problem, too. Your structural stability can be at risk if you forget to take care of some basic maintenance regularly.
As you prepare your list of things to do to improve your home, take note of the following exterior requirements:
1. Your roof requires biannual (or more) inspections.
Depending on where you live, it is recommended that you have your roof inspected by a professional before the winter season hits and then again after it is over.
This prevents damage from cold weather, snow, and rain from getting into cracks and other minor problems and turning them into major damage. It also prevents issues that may have started during freezing temperatures from becoming huge nightmares once everything has melted and you start to relax.
2. Cleaning your outside isn’t just for the looks.
Keeping your gutters cleaned and clear prevents clogs from forming and then causing water runoff to back up into your roof. This creates damage under your shingles or other roofing materials and can cause leaks that you don’t even notice until they have made it to your ceiling.
Cleaning your windows, decks, and siding is also important to avoid buildup of mildew and other things that can damage your home. Through pressure washing and soft touch washing, you can eliminate pesky problems before they cost you money in repairs. This page goes into more detail about how you can keep your home’s outside maintained without breaking your back – or your bank.
3. Yard upkeep doesn’t require a green thumb.
You don’t have to plant a garden, invest in flowers, or build a compost heap to have a nice yard. Through simple maintenance in the form of regular lawn mowing and weeding, you will prevent damage to your home.
When your lawn is allowed to run rampant, it attracts pests like squirrels, mice, rats, and snakes. These animals can get into your roof, under your foundation, and in your home and take up shelter, causing innumerable problems.
If you have an outside air conditioning unit, overgrown grass grows into the fans. This silent growth has been known to cause thousands of dollars in equipment failure and service fees. And when the grass doesn’t shut down your unit, the snakes and lizards that are attracted the fuse boxes’ warmth will.
4. Inspect your exterior doors
Your exterior doors act as the first line of defense against intruders and the weather elements. They also add beauty to your home, your front door being essential to the curb appeal.
For starters, check your doors’ hardware. Ensure that your locks are working perfectly by testing them out with bump keys. Owning a set is handy during lockout situations in your property.
Then, clean the doors. Keep an eye for cracks, chips, scratches, and the like on the panels. Before you repaint or refinish any door, especially wood, get expert opinion first to avoid damaging it.
Interior Maintenance Requirements
Now that you have successfully kept your home’s exterior from infringing into the safety of the interior, it’s time to think about how to maintain all of the inner workings of the house.
This includes everything from plumbing to efficient electricity use, so be sure to keep this list handy!
1. Complete a biannual check of your plumbing, too.
When you schedule your roof inspection, take this same time to do a thorough plumbing workup. You can hire someone to do this, or use this handy plumbing maintenance checklist.
Be sure you check for leaky faucets, toilets, or shower-heads throughout the year, since these are usually a signal that something worse is going on behind the scenes. If your toilet runs long after it is flushed, that’s a problem sign, too.
Don’t neglect your water heater. Leaks around the base or noises from inside the heater should be addressed immediately.
2. Is your electricity efficient?
Checking for energy efficiency helps your pocket in lower utility costs, but it also reduces environmental damage, too. Utility companies use fossil fuels to power your home, and when your house is not energy efficient, unnecessary waste of these limited resources occurs.
Many power companies will send someone out for free to complete an energy efficiency check. They can give you suggestions to make your home better insulated, seal your windows, and reduce energy consumption in general. For instance, did you know that even when your electrical device charges are not in use, if they are plugged in, they are using energy? This same energy is increasing your utility bill every month and also becomes a potential fire hazard.
In 2019, you have a variety of options regarding how to power your home. Solar energy is worldwide now, if that is something you are interested in. Installing solar windows – different than solar panels – is another way that you can let in natural light while still reducing energy use and keeping a comfortable temperature. Serious homeowners who want to reduce their carbon footprint and/or save money should research energy-efficient measures to power their homes with renewable energy.
By improving the way your home uses its electricity and making it more efficient, you can save money, reduce the waste of fossil fuels, and prevent damage from fires just with your regular routine homeowner’s maintenance.
3. Just like your parents told you, test your smoke detectors quarterly!
This is an extremely dangerous step to skip in Homeowners 101, and in 2019, there’s no excuse for skimping on this easy task. In some states, neglecting to have a working smoke detector and carbon dioxide detector can even mean that you are breaking the law!
Sure, climbing up on the counters or a chair to reach the detector can be a pain, but you’ll never know if you need a working smoke detector until you need it. And if it isn’t working, it’s a life or death problem that may be too late by the time you have figured it out.
Just stay safe and listen to your parents. Check your smoke alarm and carbon dioxide detectors four times a year at a minimum and replace the batteries with every other checkpoint.
4. Your refrigerator needs help, too.
Almost 15% of your power bill stems from your refrigerator. Keeping it running efficiently is crucial to reducing your utility bills (and your carbon footprint, as stated above).
At least four times a year, check your temperature settings. If you have kids or have been known to adjust the temps yourself, your fridge may be operating on higher than necessary settings and causing you to use more power.
When you start to notice your water or other cold items icing over, it’s a good sign that you should reduce your refrigerator settings a bit. And when things in your freezer are solidifying rather than staying frozen, you probably should move from Arctic settings to a more acceptable polar temperature.
It’s also a good idea to vacuum your refrigerator coils once or twice a year. It’s a simple trick that cleans the coils and helps the fridge to run efficiently, needing less energy to run the same amount.
5. Spring cleaning is a must
Yes, it can be done any season, but “spring” cleaning is necessary for home maintenance at least once a year. It’s recommended that you go through your home one room at a time, looking for clutter, unnecessary hoarding, or items that can be donated that are no longer used.
Don’t forget to do a thorough cleaning of your garage and attic, too. These spaces are breeding grounds for everything that you don’t know if you want to keep or toss, so you just store away until you are ready to deal with them.
The general rule of thumb for your clothing is that if you haven’t worn it in six months, donate it. Of course, for homeowners who live in seasonal climates, you can adjust that rule to: “If you didn’t wear it last season or this season, donate it.”
The Basics of Homeowning in One Handy Guide
Owning a home should be exciting and even peaceful once you are settled. Especially in 2019, when you have options that make cleaning and maintenance much simpler than it was even a decade ago, your responsibilities can be taken care of quickly and easily.
Don’t let the nuances and requirements of homeowner upkeep get you down or cause headaches and stress. Simply follow this complete maintenance guide and homeowning will be a breeze!