Buying a home is just the beginning — there are so many follow-up responsibilities that make you a bona fide homeowner. You’ve probably encountered some of them already, whether you’ve performed routine maintenance on your property or repaired something that unexpectedly broke.
Even with these experiences, there’s more you can do to be a smart homeowner and take care of your number one asset. Not only will you find yourself ahead of the curve when it comes to home maintenance, but you’ll save money in clever ways, too. Here’s your to-do list that'll make you into the smartest homeowner you can be.
1. Inspect the roof & gutters.
We’re not just talking about a visual once-over. Instead, head up to your roof space and look for any signs that there may be water leaking through — any damage to the walls or ceilings is a surefire sign your roof needs some attention. You can inspect it from the outside, too, to see if any roof tiles or corrugated iron sheets need replacement or repair.
It’s important that your roof is always on the checklist because it’s your home’s first line of defence against the elements, especially in winter. The roof feeds into your gutters, which should regularly be cleared of any debris or leaves that could block the flow of water and cause damage to your home.
2. Keep an eye on landscaping.
Whether you planted them yourself or Mother Nature put them on your property, trees are a gorgeous addition to the landscaping of any yard. However, once they grow to a certain height, they can pose a risk to your home and your family — it’s up to you to keep on eye on them over the years.
Note any changes in the way the tree grows, if it suddenly changes colour or if it appears to lean to one side or another. Examine the roots and take note of any cracks in the ground around them, which could mean they’ve loosened. Remove any branches that overhang close to your home, as they could fall off and cause damage. If in doubt call in the pros, a tree surgeon can help you slice away any dangerous growth and remove diseased or potentially dangerous trees.
3. Clear the clutter.
To get the most out of your property, it has to work for you — a house stuffed to the brim with miscellaneous, unused items does not do you any favours physically and psychologically. So, make a point to tackle clutter in every single room of your house.
It’s up to you to decide how often this needs to be done, but you’ll probably be well aware when a room is exhausted of storage opportunities or is no longer livable due to stuff overload. Don’t forget to include your garage on your de-cluttering to-do list, as it can become a functional storage space and workspace.
4. Deck maintenance.
Seeing as most of us only use it for part of the year, it’s easy to let deck maintenance fall by the wayside until it’s warm out — which is the last time you’d want to find damage to your outdoor space.
So, perform a quick check-up on your deck and railings by looking for any splits in the structure’s support, damage to the fasteners, boards, stairs or rails that jiggle or any lighting or electrical wires that are faulty. Regular deck washing, oiling, staining and re-organising can extend the life of your alfresco addition too.
5. Fill window gaps.
Wood is a natural material, which means it adds a rustic and warm feel to your home. However, it swells and shrinks with the changes in temperature, which can cause cracks in window and door frames that let the outside air in.
A smart homeowner would be on the lookout for these types of cracks and fill them with haste. A quick silicone gap filling session can plug any developing cracks and keep the air-conditioned or heated air inside of your home. It’s a very simple piece of handiwork that’ll help save you on your energy bills and keep your home comfortable year-round.
6. Empty the dryer lint vent.
The lint you clean out of your dryer after each load isn’t all of the fuzz hidden within your machine from clothes. Sometimes, some particles make it past your in-unit filter screen and get stuck inside of the vent that funnels the hot air outdoors.
Over time, particle build-up can cause your dryer to work harder since it’s more difficult for it to expunge the hot air it creates. Even more dangerously, though, a stuffed dryer vent can cause a house fire. So, dial up a professional and have them service your dryer every one to two years to be on the safe side.
7. …and the hot water heater.
It’s not just water that makes its way into your water heater. The sediments, dirt and other particles that come through your tap water end up collecting in the bottom of your device. Over time, they can build up and corrode your water heater, which means you’ll have to pay a lot to repair or replace it.
So, drain your water heater storage unit once every 12 months to ensure you remove all of this damaging sediment. Just about any homeowner can perform this simple task.
8. Update your insurance.
Finally, some of the damage you do find might be — and should be — covered by your home insurance if you have a policy that fits the home you have. So, review your coverage regularly to ensure it includes the potential natural disasters in your location, as well as the services your home will need throughout its lifetime.
These tips will save you money and time since you’re getting ahead of major maintenance by taking care of minor preventative to-dos now. All there’s left to do is get started — you’ve got the title of 'smart homeowner' to earn.
Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine.
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