If you’re like most Americans, your home is your biggest investment. And in order to keep that investment working for you, you’ve got to put in some work for it.
It’s recommended to set aside 1-3% of your home’s value for maintenance each year, depending on the age of your home — if you own a $300,000 home, that would be up to $9,000. While that may seem like a lot, keep in mind that more than half of costly home repairs could likely have been avoided through regular maintenance, like the chores we outline below.
To make sure you’re staying on top of your to-dos, set aside some time to create a home-maintenance calendar or print out our handy seasonal checklist to ensure you’re keeping these tasks top of mind throughout the year.
The sun’s coming out and you’re anxious to fling open the windows and doors and get back to outdoor living. Use this time to focus on the exterior of your home — your lawn, gutters, siding/brick, trees and the like — while also making sure winter didn’t take its toll on your home’s key systems.
- “Spring clean” the yard. Rake up any leaves, clean out your landscaped beds, trim errant limbs and shrubs. Now is also the time to reseed the lawn, as needed.
- Clear out the gutters. Imagine all the debris that’s accumulated over the winter. You want to ensure that everything’s working well in time for spring rains in order to avoid drainage issues.
- Give the exterior a good once over. Do you have chipped paint? Damaged siding? Are any screens loose or damaged? Schedule any needed repairs. It’s also a good idea to give the house a good wash, cleaning the windows, the siding and doors.
- Inspect and clean your patio and deck. Look for cracks, loose nails or broken boards. Clean thoroughly, and then consider treating with borate (wood rot, be gone!), or even re-staining and re-sealing the wood.
- Check your foundation for cracks and your roof for damage. Winter’s extreme temperatures are hard on us and on our homes — make sure that everything is in good condition.
- Make sure your HVAC is in good shape. You don’t want to wait until that first heat wave to realize that something’s off. Schedule a checkup now.
You’re enjoying the fruits of your spring-maintenance labor — but there’s still work to be done! You’ll likely want to stay out of the sun, so use this time to get some maintenance done indoors.
- Check plumbing for leaks. Look around toilets, faucets, dishwasher, washer and refrigerator.
- Repair weather-stripping around windows and doors. You don’t want hot air seeping in when A/C bills are at their highest.
- Vacuum washer hose, dryer vent and refrigerator coils. A little bit of upkeep goes a long way in protecting your most expensive appliances.
- Replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Or consider upgrading to new “smart” alarms that will alert your smartphone in case of emergency.
- Clean and seal tile grout. This will increase the longevity of your tile.
- Inspect your sprinkler system. Look for and correct any clogs or leaks and make sure nothing is blocking the sprinkler heads.
- Manage insects. Seal holes where rodents or roaches might get in and consider an annual contract with a pest-control service.
It’s time to turn your sights back to your yard and exterior to make sure that everything’s ready for winter — and to make sure that your HVAC system is primed for peak season.
- Inspect chimney. Your chimney should be inspected and cleaned once a year — do it now to ensure your fireplace is ready to use come colder weather.
- Check driveway for cracks. These will need to be sealed before cold weather sets in.
- Winterize your sprinkler system and exterior faucets. Flush outdoor faucets, store your hoses and shut off the water supply to your sprinklers.
- Clear gutters — again. You want to be sure that all leaves and debris are clear before freezes.
- Make sure your heating system will work efficiently. Make an appointment to have your furnace and ducts serviced, and be sure that there’s nothing blocking air vents. These tips will help you keep your home cozy all season.
The cold weather has arrived and has brought with it extremes that can take a toll on your home and yard. Make sure you’re ready!
- Keep an eye out for ice dams and icicles. Icicles are lovely but can cause damage to your gutters, exterior and foundation both from their weight and their melt.
- Protect your pipes. Water expands as it freezes, which can be a huge mess for your pipes. Insulate pipes where possible, and leave cabinets open and water dripping on super cold nights.
- Inspect your basement. After a thaw is a great time to check for leaks.
Protection When You Need It
Properly maintaining your home is one of the best ways to keep it protected. But accidents can happen. Make sure your home is protected with the right homeowners insurance. Contact your Farm Bureau agent to make sure you have the coverage you need.