First home? Here’s everything to know about yearly home maintenance!
There aren’t a lot of things as exciting as closing on your first home. I remember walking through the spacious rooms of our house. Picking the loft for my office, relegating my husband to the basement. Hammering nails into the walls without worrying about the landlord’s rules. Deciding where to store the tools (garage) and luggage (basement closet) and what implements and knickknacks different drawers and cupboards would house.
We would lay out in the grass of the backyard, staring up at the trees and dreaming of renovations and landscaping and play sets and fire pits…I surely wasn’t thinking about tree-pruning and gutter-cleaning and checking the filter on the furnace. In fact, I hadn’t even yet realized that those were responsibilities of my future.
Well, they are. And there’s a heckuva lot more than just that! There is a laundry list (or five) of new maintenance tasks that you’ll want to be aware of. Things that will make life easier, improve the value of your home, save you money, and perhaps even save your life.
It’s a lot to take in and can be a bit overwhelming, but that’s why I’m here. I’ve created a categorized list of home maintenance chores and checks to help you adjust to the responsibilities of owning a new home. I wish I’d had one of these when we moved into ours!
There are always going to be some items that don’t apply to you and your home, just as there will always be a few that get missed (though I really tried to be thorough). I suggest creating your own spreadsheet catered to your home. And, of course, add in all those renovations and landscaping projects that you dreamt of while lounging in your very own backyard!
These general maintenance items will need to be done regularly but aren’t connected to anything seasonal.
- Replace/clean your air filters every 30–60 days (monthly if you have central air)
- Clean your garbage disposal
- Clean vents and heat registers once a month, removing dirt and debris, to help your appliances function better and minimize the dust and dander in the air
- Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace batteries as needed
- Test your home's safety alarms and security systems, and replace batteries as needed
- Check your water heater for crack and leaks, check the temperatures and pressure relief valve as well
- Check and clean clogs/debris from bathtub and sink drains
- “Flush out hot water from the water heater to remove accumulated sediment,” recommends Better Homes & Gardens
- Have your dryer vents professionally cleaned
- Have your carpets professionally cleaned to minimize dust/dander in the air and extend the lif of your flooring
- Get an inspection and cleaning of your fireplace
- Clean/have your gutters cleaned in the fall and spring; this task is important for the health of your home as a whole
- Your HVAC system should be inspected and serviced in the fall and spring
- Get a sewer pipe inspection every 1–2 years
- Refinish your deck/patio every 2–3 years
- Reseal your driveway every 3 years
Are you still with me? Okay! Here, we’re going to start working through a variety of tasks related to the season. If you start to feel light-headed, take a break and come back.
- Rake leaves to avoid mold and damage to the yard (can use them as mulch for other plants)
- Mow lawn weekly to chop up left over leaves and minimize need for raking
- Plant perennials, trees, and shrubs, and reseed your lawn
- Shut off the main water supply to your sprinklers, “drain the remaining water from the system,” and remove hoses from spigots before the first freeze
- Store any furniture, toys, accessories in your yard that will get damaged in the colder weather
- Cover your A/C unit
- Clean your gutters after the trees have dropped their leaves (and again in the spring)
- Close down your pool, clean and cover it
- Check your windows and doors for gaps; winterize them with weatherstripping, caulking, or insulation
- Insulate pipes on the outside of the house, in unheated areas, or near the exterior of your home
- “Inspect your home’s heating. Your home’s HVAC system, furnace, or boiler and air ducts should be serviced…and calling a professional in the fall means you won’t be caught in the cold if it needs repairs.”- Homebuyer.com
- Have the dryer vents cleaned
- Get your annual fireplace inspection/cleaning
- If you use wood in your fireplace, it’s time to stock-up; store your wood on a pallet, don’t stack it too tight and cover it loosely with plastic or a tarp; do not store indoors as it will attract bugs
- Have your trees pruned
- Regularly check for icicles and ice dams on your roof and gutters; you can help to prevent them by raking the snow off your roof, but if there is frequent pooling, have a professional inspect it
- Reverse the spin on your ceiling fans, they should turn clockwise in the winter to push the hot air back down
- Vacuum your bathroom exhaust fan grill
- Protect your pipes with these tips from the New York Times:
- If you live in an area where winter storms are prevalent, prepare for them!
- Clear yard of debris
- Turn on your sprinkler system; check for leaks and adjust sprinkler heads
- Plant flowers
- Mulch your flower beds
- Seed the lawn; fertilize the lawn in late spring
- Get your lawnmower a tune-up and blade sharpening
- Repair your sidewalk and driveway, resealing every 3 years
- Refinish your deck/patio (every 2–3 years)
- Inspect your roof for damage, and check for any cracks or pooling water around exterior of your home
- Clean your gutters
- Wash your windows, inside and out, and clean screens
- Check window weatherstripping and caulking
- Check the caulking in your bathrooms
- Have the HVAC inspected and serviced, along with vents and ducts
- Clean your A/C filter
- Drain your boiler
- Get your chimney cleaned and inspected
- Check your home for leaks or water marks; you may need a professional to help with any plumbing issues
- Replace flappers on any running toilets (after you’ve caught them, of course)
- Test to make sure your sump pump is working properly
- Regularly water the flowers and mow the lawn
- Clean and refill the pool
- Get a bug treatment, and check for any obvious pest entrances and repair them
- Clean your garage, and use a garage door lubricant on the overhead torsion springs, rollers, hinges, and track
- Reverse the ceiling fan to run counterclockwise
- Inspect the basement for cracks and leaks
- Remove your kitchen exhaust or range filter and de-grease it with boiling water and dish soap; you may want to clean it more frequently depending on how regularly you cook
- Clean the refrigerator and freezer coils, and empty and clean the drip trays
You Made It!
You’re still here! Congratulations! For your new house and for making it through this list of maintenance that you're advised to complete every year. It may seem like a lot now, but the better you take care of your home, the less you’ll have to repair and replace over its lifetime. I am so proud of you, and Code of the West Real Estate is ready to help if you have any questions or need some advice. But before I sign-off, here are just a couple of helpful hints:
- Know where your water and electricity shut-offs are—you’ll certainly need that knowledge in a pinch!
- Get ready for winter! Get some rock salt, a good shovel, and have a brush and ice scraper in your car.
- Talk to your neighbors about common issues they see in your neighborhood.
- Always be willing to help out a neighbor. They will be there for you in return!
How Can Code of the West Real Estate Help?
Whether you’ve already found a Colorado mountain home for sale or you’re looking to sell, Code of the West has the perfect broker for your needs! Take advantage of our extensive knowledge of Southern Colorado realty, and let us help you find the right home or the right buyer! Contact us today!
Find plenty of additional information about the region and Colorado mountain property in our blog.