Purchasing a home is a milestone that many people look forward to. It represents years of hard work, planning, and a commitment to your location. Like buying your first car, owning a home comes with many privileges and responsibilities.
Unlike many other purchases, houses are a constant maintenance project. Modern homes operate on several internal systems, including water, electricity, heating, and smart technology. To keep your home running smoothly, you need to understand how these systems work and what to do to maintain them.
Caring for your home shouldn’t be overwhelming. Here are seven things every homeowner should know.
Locate Key Systems
If you don’t know how your home’s systems are supposed to function, you won’t know when something is wrong. The first step toward understanding your home is to locate key systems like your water shut-off valve and circuit breaker panel.
These system controls are usually found in the basement, garage, or inside a closet. In some cases, your water shut-off valve may be located outside on your lawn or even by the street. Take some time to learn how to operate these systems before any future issues require you to know.
Keep It Sealed
Keeping your home tightly sealed is one of the best things you can do to protect the interior from damage. A tight seal will also reduce your heating and cooling bill since less air will be able to escape from inside your home.
You can improve the seal of your home by adding insulation to your windows, basement, and attic. Many homeowners also use caulk or weatherstripping to seal cracks around windows and doors and reduce drafts.
Make a point of checking all of the entries to your home, like the back and front doors, and all windows. If you have a chimney it can be important to consider just how much draft that might be letting in. Many old garage doors let a lot of heat out and a lot of cold in – not to mention they’re not as safe as they once were.
When checking the garage, it is always worth considering a more space saving door solution, like to get a modern up-and-over garage door. Every time you feel a drought, make a note and get it fixed as soon as possible. It’s not just about the cold leaking in, or high utility prices with heat escaping – these small holes can be a welcome sight for pests. So, be sure to keep the house sealed, and make upgrades, replacements and repairs where necessary.
Improve Air Quality
Proper ventilation is essential for improving the air quality inside your home. People emit water vapor just by breathing, and ventilation protects your home from mold. The better sealed your home is, the more important ventilation will be for your health and that of the house.
Many modern paints and furniture veneers contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are released into the air over time. It’s also important to keep your home well-ventilated because these compounds can be toxic if breathed in concentrated amounts.
The best way to care for your home is to create a maintenance schedule so that you can check and update your home’s systems before they have any issues.
Maintenance protects your home from damage and helps utility parts last longer before they need to be replaced.
Many maintenance tasks take very little time or financial investment but can bring a big return in improved function and longevity.
Changing HVAC filters and maintaining your garage doors can help you save money spent on expensive repairs and keep your home safe.
Clean With Care
Harsh cleaning products can damage some of the surfaces and appliances in your home. To keep everything in its best condition, you should know what cleaning products are safe and effective for each part of your home.
For example, bleach is not a good product to use on tiles because it can stain grout. While some cleaning products disinfect areas of all germs, others only sanitize or remove dirt and grease from surfaces.
In general, it’s best to use nature-based, gentle products to protect your home and the environment.
Check the Exterior
The exterior of your home can sustain damage from adverse weather conditions or because materials and parts simply wear out.
Although the outside of your home doesn’t need as much maintenance as the inside, it’s a good idea to check for potential issues a few times a year.
Any missing or damaged siding should be replaced. If your yard slopes toward your house, you should ensure there’s drainage so that water doesn’t pool and enter your basement.
During your exterior review, always check to ensure the roof isn’t damaged. Even one missing tile can lead to leaks and interior damage.
Prep for Winter
Homes that are built in cold climates need extra care to make it through the winter. You can prepare your home for the cold season by sealing cracks and insulating your attic and roof.
Rising heat during the winter can melt snow off your roof and create ice dams, which often lead to leaks.
It’s also essential to keep your plumbing warm during the winter. If water freezes in the pipes, they can burst and create an internal leak after the water warms up again.
Although it’s alright to turn your thermostat down at night, don’t turn it down too far. Remember, water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Learning the Ropes
A house is one of the largest purchases you’ll make during your lifetime. It makes sense that learning to care for your home will take time and have a steep learning curve.
Give yourself grace as you adjust to being a homeowner – you’ve got this!
Although maintenance takes time and financial investment, preventative care is an investment in your family’s future and protects your home’s property value.
Follow these seven tips to defend your home from damage and disrepair so that it’s a place where you can thrive for years to come.
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