As a first-time home owner, you now have a place to call your own. Routine home maintenance will help you enjoy your new home for years to come. Maintaining your home not only helps ensure your home is working at an optimal level, but helps to identify or fix problems before they become a larger issue. To keep your home comfortable and enjoyable, consider adding these maintenance items to your annual list of home activities.
Schedule an HVAC Tune-up. Annual HVAC checkups can extend the life of your unit, regardless of its age. Typically, a qualified professional will thoroughly clean your unit and identify if any leaks are present. Although an HVAC tune-up usually occurs annually, experts recommend changing your air filter every 60 or 90 days. Other factors — such as your home size, pets or allergies — can alter how often your filters should be replaced. Changing out your air filter will reduce the wear and tear on your unit, and improve the airflow in your home.
Check Your Smoke Detectors. Smoke detectors save lives. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), three out of five home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms. NFPA recommends testing all smoke alarms in your home at least once a month. Simply press the test button to be sure the alarm is working. Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions if available. NFPA also recommends a visual inspection of the detector for damage. The detector should not be dirty or obstructed.
Recaulk Your Windows. If you have a drafty window or if you can see daylight around a window frame, then you may have an air leak. Caulk — a flexible material used to seal air leaks — can be found at any hardware store. There is caulk for exterior windows, which can withstand different types of weather, and interior caulk, which shouldn’t emit any toxic fumes. According to energy.gov, the best time to apply caulk is during dry weather when the outdoor temperature is above 45 degrees and low humidity will prevent cracks from swelling with moisture.
Clean Your Gutters. Making sure water flows away from your home during a storm is critical. Your gutters protect your home’s foundation, roof and walls by controlling the flow of rainwater from your roofline. Neglecting your gutters can lead to mold or water damage to the exterior or interior of your home. Although it may seem like a hassle, it is important to keep your gutters clutter-free. Also, make sure to read all warning labels and follow manufacturer instructions if you are using a ladder to clean your gutters.
Touch Up Exterior Paint. Eventually, the exterior of your home will endure wear and tear because of the elements. Adding a fresh coat of paint where needed not only enhances your home’s curb appeal, it functions as an extra layer of protection to your home. A simple visual inspection around the exterior of your home once a year will help you identify problem areas. It is important to address any issues, such as cracking or peeling paint, before it gets worse.