With the new year comes a new you and new home improvements. AHS has 12 New Year's resolutions to help improve you and your home this year.
Any homeowner will tell you that maintaining a house is a full-time job. Chances are, though, that home maintenance isn’t at the top of your list of priorities for the new year. However, if you plan ahead, you can keep your house in tip-top shape without giving yourself a headache – and you may even be able to avoid costly repairs.
Keep this monthly list of resolutions handy so you can stay on top of home maintenance in the new year.
Do a safety check: Start the year off on the right foot by making sure you and your family members will be safe in the unlikely event of an emergency. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace batteries as necessary. You should also make sure you have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and that it is in proper working order.
Check for leaks: The cold winter months are the perfect time to tackle indoor home maintenance. Water leaks can often go undetected, causing extensive, costly damage. Take some time to inspect the areas around your shower, tub and toilet for leaks and recaulk them as needed. You should also check for dripping or leaking faucets, which can make your water bill add up. If needed, tighten or replace the washers to repair leaks.
Make sure windows and doors are properly sealed: Cracks around your windows and doors can cause heat and air to escape your house, leading to higher utility bills. Inspect the areas around your windows and doors for cracks and add weather stripping as needed. It’s a good idea to tackle this project before the temperature extremes of summer and winter hit. If you need to replace your windows, be sure you get energy-efficient ones.
Power-wash the exterior: Everyone loves a little spring cleaning, so after you’ve decluttered and organized your home, pay some attention to the exterior. This time of year is perfect for power-washing and deep cleaning the exterior of your home. Wash the siding and the windows, and your house will look as good as new. To get the most bang for your buck, time your cleaning after the majority of spring pollen has hit but well before the leaves and debris of fall arrive.
Service your A/C unit: Nobody wants to be sweltering hot in the summer, so before those scorching temperatures arrive, make sure your home’s A/C unit is up to the challenge. Contact a professional HVAC company to service your unit and ensure that it can cool your home adequately and efficiently. By paying a little up front, you’ll avoid repair costs and higher electric bills as the result of poor performance. Consider scheduling an additional appointment for the fall to check your heater before the winter.
Spruce up your deck: Summertime is perfect for outdoor parties. Make sure your deck is ready by pressure washing it to remove debris and re-sealing it to avoid water damage if needed. Make the safety of your guests a priority and check for protruding nails, loose boards and other potential hazards.
Check for insect activity: The summer months are when many insects are at their most active. Keep an eye out for specific pests, such as termites and carpenter ants, that may pose a threat to your home. These insects eat and burrow through wood, which can result in structural damage to your house. Consider a pest control plan and regular inspections to keep these unwelcome guests at bay.
Give your roof a once-over: Like any part of your house, your roof is subject to wear and tear. Check the areas around the eaves and gutters for leaks and water damage. Many times, a roof leak can lead to larger issues, including mold, elsewhere in your home. You should also be sure to check for any loose or missing shingles and replace these as necessary. This will help prevent further damage from storms or extreme weather.
Get your fireplace ready: When fall approaches, cool weather is right around the corner. If your home has a fireplace, late summer or early fall is the perfect time to give it a thorough inspection. You can schedule a professional fireplace inspection and chimney cleaning to ensure everything is in proper working order. Other fireplace maintenance tips include removing ashes, making sure the flue damper opens and closes easily, and removing unsightly smoke and soot stains.
Inspect siding and paint: Take advantage of the mild fall temperatures and touch up any damage on the exterior of your home. Look for chipped or peeling paint and cracks in your siding. If needed, add some new caulk to repair damage. This is also a good time to look for signs of foundation damage, such as cracks in the foundation or gaps between bricks. Not only will these checks ensure your home is structurally sound, but they’ll also boost your curb appeal.
Rake leaves and clean gutters: Those quintessential falling leaves are beautiful, but they can be a real nuisance for homeowners. Regularly rake your yard to keep your grass from dying, and take time to collect debris or trim bushes away from your house, as these can act as a pathway for insects or small animals looking for warmth. After most of the leaves have dropped from the trees, clean out your gutters. It’s important to do this before the winter, as excess debris can trap water and lead to ice dams around your roof during colder weather.
Get cold weather ready: Speaking of cold weather, it’s a smart idea to get ready before the bitter winter temperatures of January and February roll in. If you have screens on your windows, remove them so snow doesn’t get trapped and damage your window frames. You should also prep your pipes, as well. Consider adding insulation to keep them from freezing. Not only will frozen pipes disrupt water flow in your home, but they may also burst and cause extensive water damage. If you can’t add insulation, keep an eye on the weather and let your faucets drip slowly when temperatures drop particularly low.
Being a homeowner comes with a degree of uncertainty. Performing regular home maintenance throughout the year will help you avoid expensive repairs and sleepless nights. If you’d like to rest easier, though, consider a home warranty from American Home Shield. A home warranty is an annual service contract that covers the repair or replacement of important appliance and system components that break down over time.