As any homeowner knows, things break all the time and need to be repaired on a near-constant basis. It can be maddening and expensive, but with proper maintenance beforehand, these problems can be minimized. In this article, we’ll take a look at six home maintenance tips that can help you enjoy your home without the worry of something going wrong.
#1 Have The Right Tools
There’s a lot of DIY work when it comes to maintaining a home. You’ll want to have the basics, such as measuring and marking tools (like tape measures, levels, and grease pencils), hand tools (screwdrivers, hammers, pliers), digging tools (shovels), cutting tools (hacksaws, utility knives, chisels, files), and so forth. The idea is to accumulate quality tools so that when a problem occurs, you can handle it immediately. There’s nothing worse than having to run out for a missing tool in an emergency, or having to wait for a professional to come on an expensive service call.
#2 Check For Pests
Pests can wreak havoc on your home and every home has some type of insect or animal that wants to take up residence. To check for pest, you’ll want to use your senses and intuition to judge for an invasion. First, your sense of smell can alert you to foul odors from insects that have left fecal matter and other detritus around your home. Second, scan each room for any type of movement or damage—chances are if you see one pest, there are many more lurking elsewhere. Look around where food is, like your kitchen or dining room, which can be a breeding ground for pests. Third, you’ll want to use a flashlight in hard to reach areas, which is typically where pests congregate. This can include baseboards, where rats and mice chew holes as entry points. Even if the spaces seem too small, you’d be surprised how flexible larger pests can be.
#3 Check For Leaks in The Plumbing
Tiny leaks can manifest into larger problems requiring hundreds of dollars in repairs. There are a number of methods to detect leaks, including using your water meter to determine if water is slowly leaking. Any change, even small ones over a period of time can be suspect. While you may not be able to see leaks, keep your eye out for wet spots, mildew and mold growth around appliances like sinks and toilets that are regularly used, and water heaters that may be old. You’ll want to check twice for the actual location of the leak, not only just the resulting damage. By using a process of elimination, you can find the source. Also, be careful of condensation around pipes, which can cause damage over time. By insulating these areas, you’ll save yourself a potential headache. Last, replace any old or cheap hardware, and replace it with such things as high quality faucets that won’t degrade over time.
#4 Have Efficient Fire Protection
Make sure to regularly test your fire protection, like your smoke detector, which can get clogged with dust/debris or drain batteries. The same goes for your fire extinguisher, which should be up to date. Installing a fire curtain in key areas is also a good preventative maintenance, particularly if your home has small children and elderly individuals. A fire curtain can mean the difference between life and death in emergencies.
#5 Assess The Exterior Your Home
Because the exterior of your home is susceptible to the elements, you’ll want to look for discoloration, unusual wear, damage, and any other signs that something could be off. Pay particular attention to where two materials come together (i.e. gutters and roof), which is usually where problems occur. If you do discover problems, it may take a complete overhaul, such as installing insulated panels to keep out potential leaks that can infiltrate your home with disastrous results.
#6 Have a Regular Schedule
Often, you’ll want to keep a casual eye out for any mishaps or problems that are beginning to occur. If something doesn’t look right, you’ll want to address the problem or investigate it for signs of damage. Additionally, you’ll want to keep a regular maintenance schedule with a checklist, leaving no area unchecked.
As a good timeframe for this, every three months is a good schedule to accommodate the change between seasons. You’ll see how moisture in fall can become mold and ice damage in the winter, or sun-beaten vinyl in the summer can crack in the fall’s winds. Regular maintenance can ultimately offset big repairs, which will end up costing more time and money than if you hadn’t.