First-Time Homeowner: Caring for Your New Home
Just like a new baby, a new home doesn’t come with a care manual. If you’re becoming a homeowner after being a tenant or you’re moving into your first freestanding house, then the care of that home can be overwhelming. What do you need to know to take care of your home?
1. Small Maintenance Tasks Pay Off
Small is still important. As a homeowner, you’ll find that as you work on your home throughout the year, staying on top of smaller maintenance tasks makes life a lot easier when you need to manage the larger tasks. You’ll prevent crises by organizing your home to fix the smaller problems. What kinds of small problems should you be addressing on a regular basis?
- Investigate why the toilet is clogging
- Fix the leaking plumbing
- Clean the carpets
- Clean windows and doors
- Vacuum the dryer vent
- Look for problems with your electrical system, such as damaged cords
- Replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- Check pathways, stairs, and handles for damage
- Examine caulking around plumbing
2. Focus on What You Can’t See
When you’re maintaining a home, what you can’t see is often even more important than what you can see. Maintaining those invisible home systems will help you gain peace of mind knowing that your entire home is working well. Consider which hidden systems in your home can cause big problems if you forget that they are there…
- The septic tank or another underground drainage
- Your roof and gutters
- The attic
- Plumbing and electrical systems
- Walls, roof, and flooring, since they can be damaged by rot or insects
3. Integrate Your Interior and Exterior Systems
Your home is an integrated system. Here’s a simple example: Your shower sends water into the air, and you need to manage that moisture through dehumidifiers and air flow. Moreover, you need to remember that your home and your garden integrate with each other as well. If you make a change inside, it can impact the outside and vice versa.
- Your home drainage systems, such as your gutters, connect to your garden. You need to make sure the gutter system is working properly instead of allowing water to pool inside.
- If you do a lot of work indoors and out, create a mudroom or other space that is transitional between the outside and inside of your home.
- Consider how you can protect and maintain your roof in the long run. For example, you can remove large branches that hang over the roof to prevent it from getting damaged.
- Pay attention to your home foundation. Make sure that your foundation drainage systems are working properly, that trees are located away from the foundation, and that water drains away from the home.
4. Home Maintenance Is Seasonal
Some home chores, such as scrubbing the floors, may be needed any time of the year and even on a weekly or monthly basis. But, a lot of home maintenance occurs predictably in certain seasons. Every season comes with its own to do list.
In the spring, you should:
- Inspect the roof of your home
- Clean windows and doors
- Clean the deck and put out furniture
- Remove blossoms from the gutter
- Pump the septic tank
Summer is a time to do tasks that are difficult to do in other seasons, including:
- Fix cracked pavement
- Paint and repair siding
- Install new landscaping structures or repair existing ones
Fall is when you prepare for the winter months. You’ll need to:
- Rake leaves
- Aerate the lawn
- Check your heating system and fireplace
- Seal up cracks or damage to caulking
- Wash windows and siding
- Remove leaves from gutters; you can eliminate this task by adding gutter guards
- Make sure that your exterior drainage is working well
- Winterize the exterior plumbing
In the winter, you need to keep on top of damage that comes due to rain, wind, or snow:
- Manage leaks or repair urgent damage due to storms
- Prevent ice dams
- Keep the drains flowing
- Stop pipes from freezing
5. Get Professional Help When You Need It
As you learn more about your home, you’ll also learn that there are areas that you find more difficult to maintain than others. For example, if you’re not a plumber, you may be stymied by plumbing problems and need to talk with the professionals. It’s a good idea to have a set of accomplished contractors on call. Rather than spending time and money attempting to complete a DIY project, working with a professional from the start can streamline the process and result in overall savings. Here are some areas of your home that you might consider passing on to a professional:
- Gutter and gutter guard installation. This looks simple, but gutters actually need to be installed correctly to work correctly, and seamless gutters require that you work with a company that will custom design your gutters to suit your home.
- Plumbing. While you can unclog your drains and your toilet, if there’s a complex plumbing problem, consider getting a professional opinion. A leaky pipe can cause a tremendous amount of damage in a short time.
- Electrical work. With the potential for fire, it’s important to get a professional involved with electrical work in your home if you’re new to the idea of doing your own electrical work.
- Exterior and interior building projects. If they have fences and handrails involved, and you’re not an experienced builder, you might benefit from some professional assistance to make sure that your garden, deck, and stairways are safe.
- Projects that involve digging outside. According to the New Home Warranty Program, “before digging anything – from a new flowerbed to a deck pile – make sure you know the locations of all underground services.” Don’t dig up a gas line: call if you’re uncertain.
- Structural changes to the building. Make sure that all of your walls will remain standing: get a professional opinion before making changes that could impact bearing walls in the home.
Over time, you can build your own capacity to manage these tasks. However, at the beginning of your home ownership journey, chances are that you will need to call in some help because you won’t be able to complete all of the tasks on your plate.
6. Invest in Low-Maintenance Solutions
Maintaining your home isn’t just about preventing damage. It’s also about maintaining your quality of life. This means that your home maintenance should not only focus on how to keep your home running but on how to improve your home so that you enjoy it more and more over the years. Improving your home in these areas can have a huge impact on your family’s quality of life:
- Add a gutter guard system. This will ensure that your gutters are protected and you don’t need to clean out the gutters in the fall and the spring.
- Reduce your lawn and garden unless you love to maintain them. Add hardscaping elements instead. Add low-maintenance plants that you love and that are friendly to children and wildlife, but forgo watering, weeding, and mowing an expanse of grass if you don’t use it.
- Add storage spaces to your home so that you can tuck away items easily. This includes exterior storage space such as a garden shed.
- Change your siding to one that can survive the ages. According to House Logic, “fiber-cement siding is the curb appeal champ that seems to never age the way wood does.”
- Install easy-care flooring, such as laminate floors.
7. Starting Out In Your New Home
If you’re just starting out with your home, and you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of the lists you’re making, where do you begin?
- Get a regular cleaning schedule
- Make a list of monthly and seasonal tasks that you need to do
- Create a contact list of contractors to have on call
- Brainstorm solutions for the future to reduce the maintenance you need to do on your home
At Harry Helmet, we want to make sure that you can care for your home. That’s why we specialize in gutter guard, seamless gutter, and roofing products: products that protect your home and help you maintain it. Are you curious to learn how a gutter guard could protect your home?