You did it! You finally bought a home, and it was NOT easy in today’s crazy market. You’ve moved in, met the neighbors and are putting the finishing touches on your new abode. Now, it’s time to consider how to protect your number #1 asset for the long run. You’ve worked too hard to let lazy maintenance ruin this investment.
If purchasing your new home didn’t include a home warranty, it is smart to make that investment now. Many homeowners put most of their savings toward a down payment or appraisal gap in this seller’s market. Investing in a home warranty plan can alleviate some of the financial burden that can come when your dishwasher stops working or your basement floods. While you will most likely need to pay for a service fee to actually get the work done, a $60-$100 payment is nothing compared to the hundreds or even thousands of dollars you could pay without a warranty plan in place.
Preventative Maintenance is Important
Now that you own a home, your landlord is no longer responsible for replacing the broken smoke detector or fixing the leaky faucet. With a busy life, it can be easy to put off these jobs but it can cost you in the long run. It’s estimated every $1 spent on maintenance saves you $100 in future repairs and will ultimately increase your home’s value when you go to sell. Also, if you do pay for a home warranty plan, most plans won’t cover damage that results from lack of preventative maintenance. For example, if you forget to clean out your gutters and the attic floods, you may be on the hook for this repair.
Below are some often forgotten home maintenance tasks that you should add to your to do list on a regular basis:
- Changing out your Furnace Filter
Forgetting to change your filter can result in your HVAC system breaking down earlier. A dirty filter does not allow adequate air flow throughout the system and will put unnecessary strain on the fan’s motor. Change that filter out regularly (it’s recommended to inspect once a month) if you want your HVAC system to last as long as possible.
- Cleaning out Refrigerator Coils
Your refrigerator is always running so it uses a lot of energy. The condenser coils, typically found along the back or your refrigerator tend to collect dust, which, similar to a furnace filter, makes your compressor work harder to expel warm air in order to keep the inside of the refrigerator cool. To clean, every few months, pull your refrigerator out and use a handheld sweeper or hose from your vacuum cleaner to suck out the dust. Then, use a toothbrush or other small brush to clean out any remaining dirt.
- Clean Out Your Gutters
If your gutters are clogged with leaves and other debris, this can stop the water from draining properly and lead to water damage on your roof. Even worse, continuous overflow for a prolonged period that soaks into the ground can lead to one of the most expensive issues-cracks in the foundation. Every spring and after every thunderstorm, you should climb up and inspect your gutters then, if necessary, clean out any leaves, branches and dirt that has collected.
- Test and Clean Out Your Sump Pump
In many Columbus neighborhoods, a properly working sump pump can be the difference between a dry or flooded basement. Every few months, it’s important you test your sump pump by slowly pouring water into the system. A properly working sump pump will drain the water then automatically shut off. If it doesn’t, it’s important to have someone inspect the system and determine the issue so it will work when you need it most.
- Regular Paint
Chipped paint not only makes your home look bad, it actually could be a sign that moisture has built up under the paint and is causing it to pull away from the surface. Take the time to scrape off chipped or peeling paint and inspect the area, seal up cracks and holes with a quality filler, and repaint using a primer or primer/paint combo to ensure the paint sticks. While taking an afternoon to paint your chipping door or window frame may seem like a chore you can delay for a few months, exposed wood is susceptible to water damage and the repair costs could build up over time.
Don’t make the mistake of putting off preventative maintenance as such procrastination can lead to costly repair bills down the line and depreciation of your most valuable asset. You’ve worked hard to become a homeowner, don’t get lazy and let your home fall into disrepair.