Home Maintenance Tips For First Time Home Buyers
So, you bought your first home. What an exciting time! The process seems endless. Mortgage companies and realtors discuss mortgage payments, property taxes, home warranties but have they mentioned home maintenance?
Maintenance is essential to a healthy home. Whether it's a roof leak or energy loss, there are ways to remain vigilant. Here are some easy, yet vital, things you should do once you've purchased your new home.
1. HVAC- Check your HVAC unit. Don't assume proper upkeep was done by the previous homeowners. Make sure you check filters to ensure they're not clogged or dirty. A dirty filter can cause your HVAC unit to run less efficiently and reduce the life of your unit.
2. Windows- Feel for air leaks in your windows. If you feel air drifting through your closed window, it may be time to re-caulk the window to reduce the amount of air escaping.
3. Weather Stripping- As with windows, you can lose air through door jams as well. Weather stripping windows and doors is a great way to keep air from entering or escaping your home.
4. Gutters- Clogged gutters can wreak havoc on your home. Water with nowhere to go will almost always go inside your home. It may be in the form of a leak, when water goes in through your roof because it cannot drain from your clogged gutters, or a downspout routed the wrong way directing water towards your basement or crawl space. Upkeep on gutters is more important than you may think.
5. Roof- You can look for missing or dislocated shingles safely from the ground. For a more extensive inspection, use a ladder to assess cracked or deteriorating flashing on chimneys or walls and around pipes, skylights or vents. These can all cause leaking and damage the interior of your home.
A roof rake is also a great tool to have handy during the fall or winter months. With a roof rake, you can easily remove snow or debris from the eave (bottom) of your roof. In the fall, it clears the roof of debris which may clog your gutters. Removing that bottom layer of snow in the winter will allow drainage when temperatures are below freezing. It's a great way to reduce your risk of ice dams. It's also a good idea to have RoofMelt tablets available. Toss several along the eaves around the perimeter of the home. These salt tablets will assist in melting ice dams.
6. Ventilation/Insulation- Insulation and ventilation are vital to your home. They allow your home to breathe and maintain a constant temperature. Be sure you have the necessary amount of insulation in your attic per state code. Ventilation must also be sufficient, they work as a team. Make sure soffit vents aren't clogged and never paint soffit vents. This clogs them reducing air flow.
7. Crawl Space- This is a simple task. Choose two days one dry and the other after a good rain. On each day, get into your crawl space and check for water in the edges or corners of the space. Also, look for discoloration on the foundation. If you have standing water or discoloration, it may be time to call out a service company to assess any issues.
Home maintenance can be quite a chore but remaining vigilant will almost always save you money in the long run. As always, if you need to hire a contractor, make sure they're licensed. bonded and insured. Always check references so you can rest easy knowing that you're hiring a trusted company.
All finished! Now it's time to go enjoy your new home!