In 2018, more than 5.34 million homes sold to new owners. Though every home is unique, each new homeowner has to worry about keeping their home in good shape.
Some homeowners are happy taking care of minor home repair and maintenance tasks on their own. But for others, the thought of taking care of basic repairs is intimidating at best.
It doesn’t have to be. You just need to know which tasks you can handle yourself and which ones you should leave to the pros.
Here are a few simple tips to make taking care of your house on your own as simple as possible.
1. Change Out Your HVAC Filters
Every home’s HVAC system pulls air from outside the house before bringing it up to temperature. This helps keep the air inside your house fresh and clean. But it also means any dust, dirt, and debris outside the house can make it inside.
Your system’s air filters catch most of that debris, but after a few months, those filters will get clogged.
Inspect your air filters once a month and change them out as soon as they start to look dirty. Leaving dirty air filters in place will make your HVAC system work harder than it needs to and increases the number of allergens and contaminants inside your house.
2. Get Roof Leaks Fixed Immediately
Even minor roof leaks can become a major problem for homeowners. The moisture soaks into the structure of your house, and if the conditions are right, can encourage mold and mildew growth inside your home.
If you see any active drips, feel excess humidity in the attic, or see missing roofing materials when you walk around your home’s exterior, call your roofer.
Get the leak fixed immediately. Leaving minor roof leaks unrepaired can cause extensive and costly damage in a matter of months.
3. Clean Your Gutters Twice a Year
Gutters help funnel excess water away from your home. But when those gutters get clogged with leaves and plant debris, the water won’t flow harmlessly away. Instead, it will fall over the edge of the gutter and soak into the base of your roof and siding.
This can lead to serious water damage if it’s allowed to continue.
Grab a ladder and some leather gloves and scoop out the debris in the spring and again in the fall. If you’re not comfortable climbing ladders, hire a professional and let them do the job for you.
4. Seal Off Drafts Around Windows and Doors
Drafty windows and doors can seriously hurt your home’s energy efficiency. They let the temperatures outside slip inside your home, forcing your HVAC system to work harder every day. The harder it works, the more energy it uses and the higher your bills will be.
Use weather stripping and caulk to close the gaps in window frames and door frames alike. This will help keep your climate-controlled air indoors where it belongs.
5. Handle Minor Plumbing Issues Yourself
Minor plumbing issues happen all the time for homeowners. But they don’t always mean you have to call a plumber to fix the damage. Instead, learn as much as you can about fixing those issues yourself.
Once you can safely unclog a toilet, read more about how your hot water heater and other plumbing appliances work. Before you know it, you’ll be able to troubleshoot the most common issues on your own.
The more you can fix yourself, the more money you’ll save. But always remember that it’s okay to call a plumber if you’re not comfortable making the repairs.
6. Prune Your Trees and Shrubs
Low-hanging limbs and shrubs that grow too close to your home’s siding put your home at risk for damage. The best thing you can do is prune that growth back.
For most homeowners, trimming shrubs and bushes in early spring will help you control the way they look during the summer months. Even if you over-prune, the shrub will likely bounce back during the growing season.
Those larger trees on your property, however, should always get trimmed by a professional. It’s easy to damage the tree if you prune it the wrong way and damaged trees can lead to even more costly repairs in the future.
7. Unblock All Heat and Air Vents
Many HVAC technicians get calls every day about heating and air conditioning systems that just don’t seem to work. When they get to the house, they quickly discover that the system isn’t working well because the air can’t circulate throughout the room.
Take a moment to check the heating and cooling vents in every room. If you see furniture or any other objects blocking those vents, move it immediately.
This way, your system can more efficiently distribute the climate-controlled air throughout the space.
8. Inspect Washing Machine Hoses Monthly
Your washing machine connects to your home’s water supply at all times. But those hoses connecting the unit to the water supply can start to deteriorate over time.
Check the fittings and the hose material for any cracks and leaks. Even small leaks can cause the hose to rupture, potentially flooding your home.
If you notice any damage, replace the hoses. Just remember to turn the water supply to the machines off when you do. Otherwise, you’ll have a raging flood on your hands.
9. Invest in a Programmable Thermostat
One of the best and most affordable ways to maintain your home is to install a programmable thermostat. These systems let you set the temperature in different rooms and allow you to specify when the heat or air conditioning turns on each day.
They’re relatively simple to install as long as you follow the directions for the specific thermostat you buy. Once installed, they’ll work on their own without much ongoing maintenance.
Take Care of Your Home Repair and Maintenance Tasks Yourself
Being a homeowner is exciting, but taking care of your own home repair and maintenance can feel daunting at best. Use these tips to help make it easy to take care of your house.
If there’s anything you’re not comfortable doing on your own, you can always call a pro. But think of how satisfying it will feel to fix things up yourself!
For more helpful hints to make homeownership fun and easy, check out our latest posts.