Home ownership comes with responsibilities, namely keeping up with your home’s maintenance checklist. Although there are many things you can do to keep your home in top condition, these six items are the most vital maintenance items when it comes to avoiding costly repairs.
1: Maintain Your Furnace and A/C
Your home heating and cooling system runs better and more efficiently if you take the time to keep it in top condition. Check and replace the filters monthly – furnace in the winter and the A/C throughout summer. Schedule annual inspections of the system to ensure they are clean and running at optimum performance. Catching problems early is the key to avoid expensive repairs and replacement.
2: Flush Your Water Heater
East Side Ventilation Ltd. explains that sediment can build up in your hot water heater, causing it to break down prematurely. Fall is the time to flush out the water heater, which removes the sediment and keeps it working well. Simply cut off the electricity or gas to the heater, along with the cold water inlet valve. Attach a hose to the drain valve, routing it outdoors, and then open the pressure relief valve. Turn the water back on, followed by the power.
3: Clean Those Gutters
Dirty, clogged gutters are more than an eyesore, they can ruin your roof and eaves. Remove debris in spring and fall so rain water and snow melt can easily flow off your roof and away from your foundation. Make sure downspouts are clear, and repair any leaks in the gutters. This is also a good time to give your roof a quick visual inspection. If you notice any damaged shingles, get them repaired immediately.
4: Check Your Appliances
Dirty refrigerator coils or a clogged dryer vent waste energy, shorten the life of the appliance, and can pose a fire hazard. Vacuum the refrigerator coils on the back of the fridge every six months, or more often if you have pets. Clean out the dryer vent every other month, making sure there is no lint buildup. Dryer lint can ignite, resulting in a house fire.
5: Inspect Your Plumbing
Catching a plumbing leak early is key to avoiding extensive damage. Look underneath sinks monthly. If you notice damp wall board, mildew, or other signs of water damage, get the pipes repaired promptly. Don’t overlook outdoor plumbing. Replace washers in leaky faucets and shut off the water outdoors each fall to prevent a burst pipe.
6: Repair Exterior Hardscaping
Sidewalks, patios and driveways are easy to overlook, but ignoring minor damage now can result in a major issue later. Repair cracks and repave crumbling hardscaping at the first signs of damage. Moisture can seep into these cracks and freeze, resulting in expansion damage. Also, check for cracks in the exposed foundation of your home. Minor hairline cracks aren’t an issue, but gaping cracks that are growing larger require a prompt foundation repair.
Keep up with your home’s checklist by recording a date for each task on your calendar at the beginning of the year. Not only will this remind you to do the job, it also gives you a record for when each task was completed.