Maintenance Projects First-Time Homeowners May Not Know

Household maintenance is necessary if you want to protect your investment and keep your home in good shape. Homes require internal and external upkeep with regular cleanings and inspections to ensure everything is safe and functional. There is a lot to keep track of and first-time homeowners can mistakenly skip over something important that needs to be done simply because the list can seem so overwhelming. Keeping a regular home maintenance checklist and schedule will ensure that your house is in order year-round. Here are a few tasks that new homeowners may not even know about.

Window Weep Holes: Many sliding windows and vinyl replacement windows have weep holes on the exterior bottom of the frame. These holes are designed to drain away rainwater that can collect in the frame’s bottom channel. These tiny holes can easily get plugged up with bugs and debris, and if that happens, water could fill up the channel and spill over into your house. It’s best to clean them every six months by using a pin or paper clip to pick the debris out. To make sure they’re clear, spray water onto your window and check to make sure it leaks out. If it doesn’t, it means one of two things: the weep holes are still clogged, or they’re currently redundant due to a watertight seal around your windows.

Refrigerator Condenser coils: These are located on the back of the fridge or across the bottom. When coils are clogged with dust, pet hair, and cobwebs, they can’t efficiently release heat. The result is your compressor works harder and longer than it was designed to, using more energy and shortening the life of your fridge. Pull it away from the wall and vacuum the condenser coils or wipe them off with a clean dust cloth every few months. Your refrigerator is one of the most expensive and necessary appliances; you want to extend it’s life.

Chimney Cleaning: This needs to be cleaned yearly to remove creosote, a flammable byproduct of wood burning, that can cause fires and elevate the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. A quick way to tell if your chimney needs cleaning is to run the point of your fireplace poker along the inside of your chimney liner. If you find a 1/8-in. or more layers of buildup. call a chimney sweep.  Finally, make sure there is not any damage to the chimney on the outside – missing bricks and flashing that should be tight against it to guide water away.

Flush Hot Water Heater: The water in your water heater tank contains minerals that can settle out of the water and build up in the bottom of the tank. Just a few minutes of water heater maintenance once a year pays off by extending the tank’s life span and maintaining your water heater’s efficiency and safety. Draining two to three gallons of water is usually enough to flush out sediments, but always let the water flow until you no longer see particles in the bucket.

The Bottom Line: Making a maintenance checklist to use year after year will help ensure your home is safe and secure. Some of your monthly checklist is likely to change with the seasons. A simple Google search will help you find websites dedicated to yearly home upkeep. Be sure that you set aside money for home repairs and maintenance. Neglecting small tasks will cause you grief, time, and money in the long run.

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