A Home Maintenance Guide For Homeowners

About to purchase your first home and not sure what kind of maintenance will come with it? Like many things in adulthood, owning a home comes with a lot of responsibilities. Aside from paying the light bill and Wi-Fi, the up-keep is just as essential as cleaning out your garbage disposal. Here’s a rundown of some of the most common maintenance needs as a homeowner.

Frequent Maintenance

When you first move in, change the locks! While it is uncommon for previous owners to break into your home, you always want to lower the possibility of anyone other than yourself having access. Every month or so, be sure to change the batteries to all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. If you hear any beeping sounds, don’t ignore them. That’s its way of alerting you to change the battery pack. 

Ever wondered why you always get a stuffy nose at night? Or why do you constantly have an urge to sneeze from time to time? Try changing your HVAC filters. When left untouched, all that dust and debris can build up and will likely be the cause of your restless nights. Try it out. You’ll see a change in your sleep pattern and HVAC appliances.

Check for leaks around the house, and if you need to recaulk the bathroom or windows, replace them. You don’t have to worry about it so soon if done professionally, but it can wear down after a while. 

Inspect your fire extinguisher. While it’s true fire extinguishers don’t come with an expiration date, forever isn’t promised. You’d be surprised how little previous owners checked theirs.  It’s always better to be safe than sorry in case of emergencies.

Finally, locate essential items like the water shut-off valve and circuit breaker. This is second-hand knowledge that could be helpful if inspectors plan a visit or any kind of renovation that needs to be done regarding sinks, showers, toilets, lighting, etc. 

Long-term Maintenance

Moving forward are some examples that need to be handled less often but should always be kept in mind for the future. The following repairs or replacements can get expensive, so it is crucial that you do your research. Think ahead of the uncertainties and set aside money to properly maintain your at-home paradise. 

Inspect your chimney, mainly if it’s not being used often or adequately. Cover your AC unit, empty your lawn mower fuel tank, and winterize any exposed pipes before the seasons change. Check for any winter damage like the roof and siding, and clean out those gutters every spring. During the summer, reseal your deck, open up your pool (if you have one), tend to your landscape paradise, and inspect for pests. 

After every six months, clean your refrigerator coil, vacuum your air vents, and clean your showerheads. After a year, drain your water heater, clean out the dryer vent, and get your septic cleaned out too. We know this may sound like a list of chores, but imagine all the money you’d be saving if you didn’t have to pay for heavy-duty replacements all at once. 

From 5 to 10 years, replace the dishwasher, microwave, and kitchen sink. In the meantime, set applicable appliances, like the dishwasher to self-clean. Get rid of that old water smell and mold that could be growing. After about 15 years, and if you still live in the same home, replace your water heater and refrigerator. Also, and this is something that usually gets overlooked, replace your garage door opener or motor. 

Conclusion

Many people think in an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix” scenario which isn’t always the safest idea. Your home is your greatest investment, and it’s important that you maintain its beauty. Do your research and follow up on the signs like random puddles of water by the fridge, or clanking pipes by the boiler. Beeping usually means changing the battery, and a stuffy nose can lead to clogged AC filters. While we hope this list helps you prepare for your homeownership journey, contact us if you have any questions.

Top Locations for a Laundry Room

The laundry room may not be the most glamorous space in a home, but it’s a room that most homeowners want. 

A laundry room appears at the top of the list of NAHB’s 2021 most essential home features. While most people are happy to have dedicated space to do laundry at home, being able to pick the perfect location for a laundry room is even better. 

If you are building or remodeling your home and have the option of where to place your laundry room, we recommend considering the following:

Basement

Often, laundry rooms are found in the basement. This can be a great option for those who prefer a laundry room that is out of the way. You may also find you have more space to dedicate to a laundry room on the lower level of your home, which may be preferred if you have children or pets, or want to create space for sorting, ironing, and folding within the laundry room.

However, some people dislike going up and down the basement stairs for every load of laundry. This is especially true if the basement is unfinished, and the only reason you go downstairs is for laundry. 

Main Level

A laundry room on the main level of the home is another great option. This location is more convenient for those who do not want to go up and downstairs. It also often offers easier access if you are coming inside from the backyard, and want to drop off dirtied clothing without dragging them through the rest of the home. 

There are some downsides to this type of placement as well. If located on the first level, the laundry room is located in close proximity to your main living areas: the kitchen, living room, and dining room. If not tucked away, the laundry room can be noisy or become an eyesore. 

Some people have a dedicated mudroom on the main level where they place their washer and dryer. This is an ideal location, as it is convenient to where you spend your time on the main level, yet far enough away that it is not a distraction. 

Top Level

If you have more than one floor, you can also opt to place a laundry room on the top level of the home, which is generally where the majority of the bedrooms are.  This location is extremely convenient for dropping off dirty items and putting away clean clothes, as you only have to walk a short distance to each room.

On the downside, a laundry room on the top level means you have to go upstairs every time you need to sort or switch out clothing. As most people spend the majority of their time on the main level, this can become cumbersome. In addition, you likely won’t want to start a load at night or early morning, as the noise may interfere with someone’s sleep. 

Any space can become functional for laundry with some planning and organization. Finding a location that is out of the way yet convenient to get to is ideal for a laundry room.

Tools Every Homeowner Should Own

Even if you don’t consider yourself a handyman, having tools at your disposal will help you in a pinch. Whether you need to hang new photos, make minor repairs, or are tackling a DIY project, proper tools will help get the job done. 

Keep reading for a list of essential tools every homeowner needs. 

Measuring Tape

When you are buying new furniture, remodeling a room, or taking on a DIY task, a measuring tape is necessary. Select an easy-locking ¾-inch model at least 25 feet in length for use at home. 

Hammer

A claw hammer is one of the most basic tools because almost every project you take on will require one, from nailing things in place to minor demolition. Choose a hammer that is well-balanced with a comfortable grip. 

Level

Anything you install – from cabinets to shelving to wall art – requires a level. Laser levels make it very easy to be precise, but low-tech levels with floating bubbles are also accurate.

Screwdrivers and Screws

Make sure you have a screwdriver set with a variety of flathead and Phillips head sizes for any project you may need to complete. Of course, you’ll need various sized screws as well. 

Pliers

Vise-grip pliers lock in place, making them a versatile tool for many different uses. Needle nose pliers are essential for electrical work or when you need to reach a tight spot. 

Wrenches

Wrenches are often needed for putting together furniture. An adjustable crescent wrench has jaws that can tighten and loosen, making it great for a basic toolset. You can also invest in a wrench set, with wrenches in a variety of sizes. 

Utility Knife and Wire Cutter

A utility knife, or box cutter, can make precision cuts quickly and easily. Wire cutters are needed for electrical repairs and many craft projects. Both should be in your toolbox. 

Stud Finder

A handheld stud finder finds nails and screws in the wall, making it easy to find a stud when hanging photos or mounting a TV. 

Carpenter’s Square

A carpenter’s square, also called a combination square, is used in various woodworking, metalworking, and masonry projects. This tool helps you find 45 and 90-degree angles. 

Sander

A sander helps to create smooth surfaces for sealing or painting. Handheld sanders are great for many DIY projects and smaller jobs around the house. 

Cordless Drill and Drill Bits

A cordless drill can drill holes in sheetrock, which can aid in hanging curtains, artwork, and mounting items on the wall. Invest in a good set of drill bits to get the most out of your cordless drill.

C-Clamps

C-clamps come in handy for many projects. Clamps hold two materials together in place, making it easier to glue or nail them together. 

When buying tools, think about what you will use the most. Buying tools individually, rather than a complete toolkit, can ensure you only get what you need. Keep your tools well-organized so that when the need arises, you know where to find what you are looking for. 

31 Home Maintenance Projects to Complete Now

We all have a list of home maintenance projects we would love to take on “when we have more time.” Now that many of us are spending more time at home, we can begin to tackle those projects. Some of you may have already started your spring cleaning and organizing, while others may be overwhelmed with the thought of doing all the tasks you usually put off.

Either way, you can use this checklist to help you get started. No need to do everything at once – pick one or two small projects to get started, and determine where you want to go from there.

Deep Clean

Spring is synonymous with cleaning and airing out. After you complete your basic cleaning routine, dive into these projects to make your home feel brand new. 

  • Clean vents and baseboards.
  • Wipe down blinds
  • Wash windows, window tracks, and screens.
  • Wash curtains.
  • Scrub tile grout. 
  • Wipe down light fixtures and fans.
  • Sanitize garbage cans. 
  • Clean under your furniture.
  • Clean cabinets and drawers (inside and out). 
  • Clean the inside of your dishwasher and oven. 
  • Descale faucets and shower heads. 
  • Wipe down doors and walls.
  • Wipe down the inside of your refrigerator and freezer.

Organize

If you tend to hold on to everything you’ve ever gotten, now is an excellent time to sort through your belongings and get rid of what you do not need or want. Here is where you can start:

  • Closets
  • Drawers and cabinets
  • Entryway
  • Garage
  • Basement
  • Attic
  • Shed
  • Pantry

Rearrange

All of the cleaning and organizing may get you in the mood for a whole new look. That doesn’t mean you have to go out and spend money on new furniture and decor. Try rearranging what you have to change things up.

  • Furniture layout (in any room!)
  • Books on bookshelves
  • Kitchen cabinets
  • Wall art

Landscape and Property

You can also give some attention to your property and outside living space. Here are some outside projects to work on:

  • Clean up the lawn from leaves and winter debris.
  • Sweep or power wash patio and deck. 
  • Prune shrubs.
  • Clean patio furniture.
  • Wash siding of the house. 
  • Prep for planting.

Are you doing any home maintenance projects right now? Let us know what they are in the comments!

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