6 Maintenance Tips for First-Time Homeowners

Jun 2, 2015 | Appliances

One of the easiest factors to leave out of the budget after a first-time home purchase is maintenance costs. New homeowners are frequently caught off-guard by the amount of money required to keep the house in working order. It is a lot like a car; where a vehicle needs oil checks and brakes replaced, and periodically something major goes wrong, homeowners will face leaky pipes, flickering lights, and the occasional major appliance failure.

Those who did not tinker as young’uns with dad in the garage will find themselves less prepared for basic maintenance. Making repairs usually comes down to confidence and the willingness to do some research. All it takes is a quick YouTube video to install a banister according to code and bam! You save $100 on a contractor.

Many repairs do require research and a couple of trips to a home improvement store. However, there are many other small inspections and cleaning tasks that save money in the long run. Think of these as necessary preventative measures:

1. Change HVAC filters.

You should inspect your HVAC filters 3-4 times a year, especially if you have both a furnace and central air. If you live in an old house prone to dust or own many indoor pets, it behooves you to check the filters as often as once a month. If the filter is dirty and coated in a layer of dander, simply change it. More expensive filters do not last much longer than cheap ones, so buy budget.

2. Check the garbage disposal.

Kitchen disposal blades dull over time, and sometimes the sink gets clogged. On top of that, chopped produce debris grows bacteria over time. The easiest way to clean your disposal is to freeze vinegar into cubes. The melting vinegar will sharpen the blades, making them more efficient. It also kills the bacteria.

3. Run water in unused rooms.

If you have a guest bathroom or second shower, it is wise to periodically flush out the pipes. This keeps germs and muck from building up in the pipes and coating guests in sludge when they try to wash their hands.

4. Check the water softener.

If your home has a softener, you should check the unit monthly until you get a feel for how fast the unit uses salt. Refill as necessary.

5. Clean thoroughly.

Baseboards, spots behind toilets, and window grime builds up hair and dust. Not only does this look ugly for visitors, but it increases your allergies, serves as a breeding ground for dust mites and increases risk of getting a cold. Cleaning out dust buildup keeps your home in top shape and forewarns you if you have a pest invasion. Mice are quiet, and if the homeowner is not inspecting the corners, he or she may live for months undetected.

6. Vacuum the fridge.

The refrigerator coils build up dust, too. Since fridges takes up nearly 15% of your energy bill, it behooves you to keep the fridge running efficiently. A fridge with dirty coils must work harder to keep its contents at a stable temperature.

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