Guide to Home Maintenance
Your Home Maintenance Checklist
Prevention is better than cure and it’s cheaper too. But what do aphorisms have to do with home maintenance? Well, the same rules that apply to your health apply to your home’s maintenance. Because it’s more cost-effective to maintain the good bones and built of your home than to let things fall into disrepair. While this guide gives you a great starting point, the list may change depending on your type of home – like a condo or townhouse.
Regular Home Maintenance
Regular maintenance is significantly cheaper than repairs. It’s also crucial to the upkeep of your home, allowing you to enjoy residing in your home while preserving – and increasing – your home’s value:
Check Air Vents
Poor air quality can worsen respiratory illnesses, lead to mold, and exacerbate allergies or asthma. So once every month, check your air vents and, if necessary, clean them to ensure your home remains well ventilated.
Clean and Replace Furnace/Heat Pump Filters
Pet dander, dust, and other airborne particles get pulled into your heating system as air is circulated. After some time, this can affect not only the output efficiency of the unit but also your air quality. Keep an eye on these filters and clean or replace when necessary.
Remove Lint from The Dryer Filter and Clean Washing Machine Filter
Your washer and dryer need regular maintenance to continue doing their jobs effectively. A clogged filter can cause malodour, affect the efficacy of your appliance, and can present as bigger problems. To avoid this, check your washer and dryer filters monthly and, if necessary, clean and remove all lint. Having issues with a slow filling washer? Turn off the water and check the hose connection at the back of the machine for small rocks or sand that has been caught by the filter.
Check Caulking Around Sinks, Tubs, and Showers
When caulking begins to peel from around sinks, tubs, and showers, it can lead to leaks and eventually mould. Therefore, it’s a good idea to check for peeling every two or three months. Should there be any significant peeling, it might be best to remove and replace the caulking as a precaution.
Clean Your Range Hood Filter
The range hood is often overlooked but, in the kitchen, it has a significant task. The purpose of the filter is to collect grease, so when it’s doing its job properly, it will become clogged with grease. If it’s not cleaned regularly, it can become a health hazard causing smoke. If you’re using a gas stove carbon monoxide accumulates in the kitchen, especially during winter when aren’t likely to open windows while cooking.
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Seasonal Home Maintenance
There are important home maintenance tasks you should consider completing to avoid a costly mishap in the middle of the season. For best results, ensure you stick to the following maintenance schedule:
Check Your Home for Cracks
One of the most impactful, yet simple, bits of maintenance is the cleaning of your air exchanger. It is recommended that once every three months you remove the filters, wash them with a mild soap, and vacuum the inside of the unit – you will probably find dust, house flies, and more. A yearly clean should add a wash of the core. Remove the core from the unit and let it soak in the tub in soapy, lukewarm water. After several hours, rinse, shake to remove access water, and allow to dryer completely before reinstalling.
Check Your Home for Cracks
Cracks probably cost Canadians the most of all household repairs. Not the kind of crack that may lead to structural damage, but rather the kind that makes it impossible to efficiently heat your home. The door and window frames are the biggest culprits; if there has been slight shifting that created even a small gap, this can lead to significant heat loss. In fact, according to the Washington Post, “the average house – even when well-insulated – contains cracks and gaps between materials that can add up to a 14 square inch hole.”
Evaluate Your Roof
Similar to your foundation, your roof is a fundamental part of your home. Many Canadians replace their roof every 18 years. However, if maintained properly, your roof can last up to 30 years. This is a summer job which you can complete in a few simple steps. Begin by evaluating your roof’s condition, checking what needs minor repairs, replace damaged shingles, and cleaning and check gutters. If you can access your attic, ensure you have proper insulation and ventilation.
Check for Leaks in Your Basement
Nothing can be more devastating to your budget than a leak in the basement. Not only can this cause costly structural damage, but often it’s easy to avoid a leak if you know what to look for. Start by examining your yard. In which direction is your yard sloping? It should be sloping away from your basement to avoid water accumulation against the foundation. If your basement is unfinished, check the floor for dark areas that appear wet, and for efflorescence: a powdery white substance that is created when water evaporates and leaves behind minerals and salt.
Clean Your Sump Pump
It’s important to check your sump pump during autumn in the run-up to winter to ensure it’s free of debris and in good working order. But it’s crucial to maintain it by completing a deep clean, perhaps even getting a professional in, toward the end of winter before the spring thaw begins and the risk of flooding increases.
Check the Chimney
The time to conduct a self-clean of your chimney is during summer or the beginning of fall when your chimney isn’t in use. This should be a two-person job. If you are conducting it any later than the very beginning of fall, it’s better to hire a professional for safety’s sake.
Home Maintenance That Improves Your Home’s Value
Besides the incentive that regular home maintenance has on reducing the cost of unnecessary repairs, by regularly maintaining your home or doing cost-effective repairs, you can improve your home’s value. According to research from the University of Connecticut, you already increase your home’s value by 1% annually through maintenance. Therefore, being proactive about maintenance is possibly the best way to improve your home’s value. But there are areas within your home that you can focus on to maximize property price appreciation.
Kitchen Repairs and Maintenance
Buyers are likely to spend quite some time inspecting the kitchen because the kitchen is the center of the home, and if not maintained correctly, buyers will consider remodelling, which can affect their impression of value on your home.
While you may not notice some of the issues in your bathroom, buyers are sharp-eyed – especially during open houses! Therefore, you should consider changing the washer in your faucets to prevent leaking, replace cracking or broken tiles, re-grout as often as necessary, and ensure your bath stays with regular deep-cleans.
Probably the cheapest way to get buyers to enjoy your home is to regularly clean it. Dust and grime can make the home appear dull and unappealing. Shiny windows, clean floors, and clean appliances can make a real difference. It’s also easy to maintain your home if you’re cleaning it often because you are more likely to spot any issues before they need repair. In the case of cleaning filters, vents, and chimneys, it can also prevent serious issues.
Gardening & The Facade
As part of the facade and the elusive outdoor living that’s coveted during the summer, your garden can draw buyers in. Adding a bit of colour and shrubbery can also make buyers connect with your home and make it stand out.
The Average Lifespan of Your Household Items
Whether you consider replacing your appliances or have recently bought a home, knowing the lifespan of your appliances can help you better budget for repairs and replacements. It can also help you determine whether you should focus on repairing or replacing an item and which appliances’ lifespans can be extended through regular home maintenance.
10 to 15 years
Water Heater: Ten years is the maximum time plumbers recommend keeping a water heater. Usually, they last for around 8 years. Luckily, in New Brunswick, water heaters are typically rented through NB Power and can be replaced at no additional cost.
Refrigerator: By maintaining your ice maker and drain your refrigerator can last up to 15 years. Just be sure to schedule regular deep cleans to avoid any build-up of odour or discolouration.
Washing Machine: Your washing machine can last for 12 years, but your repairs should be kept to a minimum. Newer models tend to drastically improve their energy and water consumption, making an upgrade a financially sound option.
Dryer: Maintaining your dryer is as simple as removing the lint from the filter, and occasionally checking the vent for lint buildup. Most dryers are designed to have a lifespan of 10 years.
Dishwasher: Of all the major appliances, your dishwasher has the shortest lifespan. They generally last between 8 and 10 years but could be shorter depending on the quality and average weekly usage.
Carpet: This has the shortest lifespan of all flooring. After five years, padding deteriorates, and matting can occur. A rigorous cleaning regiment can help extend the life of the carpet, however, you might consider replacement as old carpeting can lead to respiratory issues and exacerbate allergies.
16 to 25 years
Stove Top and Oven: The model, make and type – whether gas or electric – will determine the lifespan of your stovetop and oven.
HVAC/Air Exchanger: An HVAC unit should last you between 15 and 25 years, however, this lifespan is reliant on regular maintenance.
25 Years and Beyond
Roof: If built accordingly your roof should last at least 20 years (metal roofs even longer!). You can also extend its lifespan through maintenance and upkeep.
Wood and Vinyl Flooring: Vinyl is an extremely durable material that can last for decades. If properly maintained, wood flooring can last 30 years and even longer. Additionally, wood flooring has the option of being refinished, removing any scratches or dents and even potentially changing the colour!
While home maintenance is easy to ignore as a luxury or unnecessary expense, it is far cheaper than repairs and replacements will ever be. Besides, neglecting repairs can often have a domino effect that is even more costly than the initial repair would have been. If you need assistance with getting your home maintenance back on track, the expert REALTORS® at The Right Choice Realty are here to help. Don’t let winter’s harshness deter you.
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