Regardless of whether you plan to stay in your house for many years or want to sell it, the critical factor is that you should take up maintenance activities on a regular basis. Minor repairs if neglected can blow up into major and expensive repairs. This is especially true for plumbing and heating as apart from making your life comfortable, they are costly to replace.
Another problem faced by homeowners is whether to replace a troublesome appliance or fittings and fixtures or have it repaired. In such cases, you should always take expert advice. Old and inefficient appliances working below maximum output levels will get your work done but will add substantially to your energy bills. These should be replaced with energy-efficient products. Even if you have to invest initially, it will pay back in the long run.
It is not only the internal features that you should focus on, but external home maintenance is equally important. Having a well-painted facade and an immaculately maintained lawn and garden not only adds to the aesthetics of the structure and surroundings, but it also enhances the curb value of your property. Just like the interiors, regular upkeep will help you avoid significant expenses on repairs.
For instance, clogged roof gutters and downpipes is a widespread problem faced by homeowners. If roof gutter cleaning is not carried out periodically, overflowing water from the gutters will seep down the walls and damage the foundation. Repairs will easily dent your bank balance.
Here is a complete guide to home maintenance taken up in two sections – outside and inside your home.
Exterior home maintenance
First impressions count in every sphere of life, and so does the exteriors of your home. With a little care and maintenance, you can make your house the envy of your neighborhood.
- Lawn mowing – Lawn mowing should not be too tricky or exhausting activity for you if you are a DIY person and love to tend your garden personally. However, there are many intricacies to this seemingly easy task. Using a lawn mower with dull blades can do more harm than good as is cutting the grass too short. For people living in a bushfire-prone locality, frequently mowing the lawn can stop fires from spreading quickly. By hiring the services of a professional agency, you can ensure that your lawn will be tended by experts using specialized equipment for best results.
- Tree Pruning and trimming – For gardens with trees irrespective of their number, tree pruning and trimming should be a frequent task. Trees that grow beyond your fence and onto neighbor’s property should be pruned. Branches that spread over the roof of your house should be regularly pruned so that falling leaves do not block roof gutters and downpipes. Finally, inside branches and limbs of trees that have dense canopies should be routinely pruned so that sufficient sunlight can reach all the internal areas. This results in healthy and quick growth.
Here too, the work should be entrusted to arborists and tree care agencies. Climbing up a ladder to reach top sections of a tree can be dangerous if you are not careful. Further, falling branches can damage property below – something that can be avoided if experts are hired for the job.
- Gutter cleaning – This part of home maintenance is often neglected because roof gutters are tucked out of sight and hence goes out of mind. But it can cost you dear in the long run. Water overflowing from the gutters damages the walls, affecting the paint and the wood windows. In worst case scenarios, accumulated water can even weaken the foundation of the structure. Further, a moist electrical wiring is a health hazard for the family too.
Given the seriousness and need for roof gutter cleaning, it is always advisable to hire the services of specialized agencies for this purpose. They use technologically advanced equipment to vacuum out even the most stubborn blockages and clean the gutters without messing up the surroundings. Moreover, climbing up ladders to the roof can be life-threatening if you slip up. You can even have the agencies install gutter guards in your house which will prevent leaves and falling debris from piling up inside the gutters and pipes.
- Rubbish removal – Removing rubbish from your premises is a routine home maintenance activity. Do not let garden refuse, household rubbish and other waste clog up your life. Household disposables can take various forms. It can be hard and green refuse, a pile of dead branches or limbs, and even the scrapped body of your old car.
The backyard is especially prone to pile up refuse and rubbish as this is where people tend to dump what they do not need. Little do they understand that this can become a breeding ground for insects and termites, making the place a health risk for the family. Additionally, in bushfire prone areas, any inflammable waste left lying around is hazardous.
Engage the services of experienced agencies to take away your accumulated rubbish and keep your home clean and healthy.
- Roof maintenance – Your roof is probably the most vital part of your house, keeping you protected from the vagaries of nature all the year around. You are safely cocooned in a dry temperature-controlled environment. By inspecting your roof at frequent intervals, you can make spot repairs whenever necessary and avoid large expenses for setting right roof damages. Check for missing shingles or cracks and have them repaired as soon as possible. Generally, roofs last a lifetime if you maintain it properly. Have it cleaned every year of dirt and grime and moss that can eventually damage the roof?
- Patio and pathway maintenance – Fluctuating weather conditions can play havoc with your patio, and driveways and these will deteriorate in quality over time. The first signs that they require repairs are shifting of materials. To ensure that this does not happen, pressure-wash the area at least once a year for added longevity. Repairs to patios and pathways can set you back by $1,000 to $1,300.
- Deck maintenance – A deck is generally a very favorite possession for all homeowners and is a witness to great barbecue parties outdoors on balmy summer evenings. But decks have to face all types of weather around the year and hence should be meticulously maintained. Give it a polish every alternate year and check at periodical intervals for loose planks, screws and chipped wood. All these can be hazardous if anyone trips over them. If you have some outdoor furniture on the deck, check them too as part of your maintenance drive.
- Foundation maintenance – Just like your roof, the foundation keeps your home dry and comfortable. It even goes a step further to keep your house secure and stable. You will often not realize that there is a problem until a leak develops and you are left with major repairs on your hands. Take a walk around the foundation at least twice a year, and look for cracks and fissures. Even the tiny ones should not be neglected and repairs put off for later. Call a mason and have it repaired at the earliest.
- Siding maintenance – The type of siding that you have will determine the maintenance care that should be taken. At the bare minimum, you should check the siding periodically for cracks and areas that need quick repairs. Wood siding should be treated once in four years with anti-termite solutions and given a coat of polish and vinyl sidings should be power washed once a year.
These are some of the house maintenance activities that should be carried out for the exteriors. For most of them like lawn mowing, gutter cleaning and refuse removal, contact agencies in your area that are aware of the prevailing climatic conditions and can offer suitable and tailor-made services. For instance, local Jim’s Mowing service provides all these and more, and you will do well to get in touch with them.
Interior home maintenance
This facet is as important as external home maintenance, if not more because it is directly linked to comfort levels in the house. These are some of the maintenance issues that you should surely take up.
- Air Filters, Vents & Ducts – It is critical to change the air filter of the HVAC system in your home at periodic intervals. Dirty air filters, apart from being a health hazard and aggravating breathing and allergy problems also inflate energy bills substantially. How often you change the air filter depends on many factors. You have to change the air filter every month if you have kids and pets or have allergy issues and once in three months if you are living alone. You can vacuum the ducts once every few months or call professionals to do it for you.
- Dryer hose and vent – Poor maintenance of dryer hoses is one of the most common causes of residential fires, not because dryers are dangerous but because the hoses are not cleared of trapped lint as often as they should. Inspect the dryer’s exhaust and empty the lint trap after every wash. Use a vacuum with special attachments to clean out the inside of the hose. Keep your dryer and the hose always in clean and good condition.
- Windows – When you are focussed on the interiors of your house, do not overlook the windows. Sitting inside and looking out to a murky world through grimy windows can be very disappointing, especially if you want to see the colors of spring unfolding outside. They are also a source of natural light to your room and hence should always be kept sparkling clean. Here is a recipe to clean windows, regardless of how stubborn the dirt might be. Mix half a bottle rinse acid with four tablespoons rubbing alcohol, one-fourth cup ammonia, one-fourth cup detergent and two gallons of warm water. Squirt the windows with the solution, rub the panes with a micro-fiber cloth and rinse thoroughly with plain water. Repeat the process a couple of times for best results.
- Refrigerator coils – All refrigerators have a network of coils that cool and condense the refrigerant. But these coils also turn into dust and dirt magnets and get caked in grime, especially those placed at the bottom of the refrigerator. These coils do not operate efficiently, and hence your energy bills will shoot up. Once or twice a year, use a flexible hose to vacuum the coils. The task is not difficult and enhances the life of the appliance.
- Stove/Range hood – The fan above your stove plays a crucial role in keeping your kitchen free of smoke and grime. It draws up all the greasy airborne oils into a filter when you are cooking. When the filter gets all soaked up and bogged down, its efficiency is reduced. You can either clean the filter at regular intervals or have the filter replaced. Check the state of the filter at least once a year.
- Clean underneath appliances and furniture – The most easily forgotten household maintenance task is cleaning the spaces underneath appliances and furniture. Look beneath them, and in all probability, you will find a coat of dust and dirt build-up. For most people, this might not be a problem, but for those suffering from allergies and breathing problems, any dirt or dust can be challenging. At least once a year, clean the surface beneath the appliances and furniture. If necessary, hire people to move the heavy ones if it is beyond you.
These tips for house maintenance should help you keep your premises in excellent condition around the year. If you feel that all these tasks are difficult for you, hire home maintenance agencies to deep-clean your home once a year, preferably at the onset of spring when you emerge from your closed-in existence. Whatever way you might choose, neglecting these can cost you a lot in repairs or replacement. It is better to play safe first than be sorry later.