Maintenance Tips for Your First Home

By Jessica Bivins, June 14, 2017, Home Improvement

Buying your first home is exciting. It’s a great investment and unlike an apartment, you can finally do what you want to the place. But when something breaks, it’s no longer Mr. Landlord to the rescue. It’s all on you to get it fixed and functioning again.

But don’t worry, you’re in control now, which means you can get your house functioning at its best. When it comes to happy home ownership, preparation and preventive maintenance are key. With these tips, you’ll know exactly what to do.

Maintenance Tips for Your First Home | Bounce Energy Blog

Have a Cushion

When something breaks, whether it’s a water pipe, a leaking roof or a malfunctioning washing machine, repairs can get expensive quickly. Your home insurance policy is one form of protection, but it won’t replace your oven when it conks out. Here are two more essentials to protect your finances.

  • Home warranty: Many first-time homeowners enjoy the peace of mind this insurance policy for your home systems and appliances can bring, especially in the first year. Under a typical plan, if, for example, your furnace breaks, just contact the home warranty company, and they’ll send a repair technician to your home to fix it. And if it’s beyond repair, they’ll replace it.
  • Emergency fund: It’s always a good idea to have enough cash on hand to cover three to six months’ worth of expenses, so you can keep making house payments to get through a job loss or other financial burdens. It also comes in handy for other unexpected expenses that come up for homeowners.

Home Maintenance Checklist

Preventive maintenance is single-handedly the best way to manage your costs as a homeowner. Catching small problems early will add years to your appliances, systems and structure.

Maintenance Tips for Your First Home | Bounce Energy Blog

  • Roof: These are expensive to replace, but you can get more years out of it if you keep them in good repair. Each spring, get a pair of binoculars and search for signs of warping, damage and popped nails.
  • Gutters: Get on a ladder, and using a trowel and a bin below, scoop out those leaves and other debris collected there.
  • Central air: At the start of the hot season, clean off the dust and yard debris that’s collected on the condenser coils on your outdoor unit. With nothing restricting the airflow, the machine won’t have to work so hard. Change the filter, checking it monthly for dust and debris.
  • Pests: Infestations of mice and termites can wreak significant damage. Even worse, it’s not usually covered by insurance. So keep a few mousetraps in your basement, shed and garage, while keeping rodent attractants, such as bulk pet food, in airtight sealable containers. Be diligent about applying termite treatment to your foundation.
  • Thermostat: Update to a smart or programmable model. To save more energy, adjust your setting by a few degrees, donning sweaters and caps in the winter, and switching on fans in the summer to save energy.

Maintenance Tips for Your First Home | Bounce Energy Blog

  • Windows: Unwanted heat and cold can easily pass through your window panes. Check these inside and out for gaps and cracks. For sun-facing windows, invest in drapes and keep these closed on hot days.
  • Water main: If your house bursts a pipe, the last thing you want is a jammed water main. Give it a test turn every so often. For extra protection, invest in a smart valve shutoff along with leak sensors. That way, you can head off expensive water damage with an automated shutoff.
  • Washing machine: The rubber hoses that carry the water supply to your machine need to be replaced every five years, or their odds of failing and causing a big mess in your house go up significantly. Even if the hoses seem fine, it doesn’t hurt to replace them now. They’re super inexpensive and about as easy to replace as a garden hose.
  • Dryer: Sure, you pull out the fluff that collects in your lint filter. But did you know that lint also collects in the vent pipe connecting your dryer to the outdoors? Lint buildup is a common cause of dryer fires and makes your dryer work harder, shortening its life. Pick up a lint cleaning kit and once a year — or when your load of towels starts needing more than one cycle to dry — clear out the accumulated debris.

Take care of your house, and it will take care of you. Invest a little time and elbow grease into basic house maintenance, and you can catch the little things before they escalate into big, costly problems.

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