Now that you are a proud new homeowner, you have responsibilities that are very different from those of a renter. You have made an investment in your family’s future, and it’s important to take good care of your new home. A regular schedule for upkeep and maintenance will protect your investment, keep repair expenses low, and increase the resale value. Many maintenance projects are seasonal, and making a schedule will help you stay on top of things. Use the following information to create a maintenance plan for your new home.
Spring Outside Maintenance
If you live in an area where you have cold winters, there are specific locations to check for possible ice and snow damage. Check your roof for shingles that might have lifted and need to be repaired or replaced. Check gutters for dirt and debris accumulation, and be sure your downspouts have not been moved out of place from ice pressure. Ice heaves can cause bricks and paving stones to rise and move, and driveways can crack and need a fresh coat of asphalt filler and sealer. None of these maintenance projects are expensive and can be done in a weekend. Neglecting this important maintenance can result in costly repairs that may require hiring a professional. Rake up yard debris and trim trees and shrubs where necessary. Check all your yard tools, and repair or replace any questionable ones. Check outdoor faucets and hoses for leaks. Replace washers where needed. If you have a pool, follow the manufacturers guidelines for spring maintenance. This is time for both flower and vegetable gardens to be planted.
Spring Inside Maintenance
A good spring cleaning like Grandma used to do will give the inside of your home a refreshing and detect any needed repairs. Wash all windows inside and out, and check the screens for tears. Wash window and doorsills, walls, ceilings, and wood trims. Look for areas that need a little patch or repair. If you have a wood stove, pellet stove, or fireplace, be sure to give them a good cleaning and look for any problem areas that might need repair. It’s always best to call a professional to clean your chimney every year.
Summer Outside Maintenance
Early summer is the time to look for nesting insects and other pests, such as hornets, wasps, ants, and termites. Nests should be sprayed and removed. Sometimes this is a dangerous task and can result in multiple stings. If you find a large nest or several, call an exterminator. It will cost you less than an emergency room visit. Depending on where you live, you may also need to have help eliminating skunks, armadillos, and other small animals that dig and burrow in your yard. Check porches, decks, and steps for loose or broken boards, and paint or stain if needed. Fences, sheds, and all storage buildings should be check for insect infestations.
Summer Inside Maintenance
Summer is a great time for painting and staining because you can open all the windows and air out the odors from your projects. Walls, doors, trims, cabinets, and other painting projects as well as any remodeling of rooms can be easily done in the summer. Replacing wallpaper, installing carpet, laying tiles, and other remodeling plans make great weekend projects. Replace all the batteries in your smoke detectors and the carbon monoxide alarm.
Fall Outside Maintenance
Clean your gutters of all leaves and debris to prevent ice and snow from backing up. Make sure downspouts are clear of any blockages. Do a final mowing of your lawn, and fertilize it for the winter. Rake leaves and add to your compost pile. Trim shrubs and bushes. If you are in a cold climate, cover shrubs and flowering bushes with tent-like plywood covers to prevent damage. Once you are through using all of your garden tools and equipment, clean thoroughly and perform any maintenance suggested in your owner’s manual before storing. Outdoor grills need to be cleaned and put away for the winter along with patio furniture. Shut off outdoor faucets, and drain and store hoses. If you did not have your chimney cleaned in the spring, do it now.
Fall Inside Maintenance
This is the time for your yearly furnace or other heating system to be professionally serviced. Be sure all vents are cleaned, and wash or replace filters. If you have older style screens, remove them and put on your storm windows. Caulk and weather strip windows and doors. Window air conditioning units should be removed and stored for winter. If you have a secondary heating source, be sure it is cleaned and ready to go. Order enough wood or pellets to last the winter. Have your snow blower serviced and check your shovels to be sure handles are in good condition. Replace shovels that are questionable.
Winter Outside Maintenance
Snow and ice removal is a major part of winter maintenance. Never let snow accumulate on your roof. Purchase a snow rake to clear your roof if your home is a single story. If you have a large home with two floors, hire a professional to clean your roof when it starts accumulating. Roof collapses happen every year to homes with heavy snow loads. Don’t let it happen to yours. Keep walkways, porches, stairs, and driveways cleared of ice. Be sure to keep a good supply of ice melt in your garage.
Winter Inside Maintenance
Continue winterizing and adding insulation when you discover drafty spots. Wrap your water heater in an insulated blanket, and install a thermostat with a timer to keep energy bills in check.
Additional Non-Seasonal Maintenance
Always have electrical, plumbing, and heating/cooling systems professionally serviced on an annual basis. Become familiar with your main power panel. Be sure circuit breakers are clearly marked for each part of the house and for major appliances. Locate all your water cut-off valves. If you should experience frozen pipes resulting in cracks or bursts, you can turn off the incoming water before any damage occurs. Separate cut-off valves are located with individual appliances for when you only need to turn off water in an isolated area.
Owning a home is a wonderful investment. Maintaining your home properly results in an increased value when you sell it later on.