Home Maintenance Checklist for New Homeowners

Evelyn Long

Jun 8, 2022


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Buying your first home is an exciting purchase! You have a space to call your own or raise a family. Once you have moved in, keep in mind owning a home requires regular upkeep. Here is a home maintenance checklist to get you started. 

1.  Check Your HVAC Filters 

Your HAC filters help ensure your heating and cooling systems are functioning properly. They prevent dust and debris from accumulating and slowing down the machine. This is why you should change them every three months. 

Changing your HAV filters lowers your utility bills. This is because your air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard. It can also help purify your air by preventing dust particles from spreading. This is especially helpful for family members who have allergies. 

When it’s time to replace your filter, follow these simple steps:

1. Find the right sized air filter 

2. Turn off your unit

3. Remove the grille

4. Get rid of the old filter and insert the new one

5. Put back on the cover and turn on your system 

Along with your filter, you also want to have your HVAC system serviced at least once a year. 

2.  Caulk or Weather Strip Your Windows 

Caulking your windows is an important item on your home maintenance checklist. It helps prevent energy leaks lowering your heating and cooling bills. Without proper insulation, your home can lose heat. If you’re adding caulk around the outside of your windows, look for a less noticeable silicone type. Conisder doing this project in the fall, keeping your home cozy during the winter. Weatherstripping is another efficient way to improve your insulation. 

If you want to replace your casements, consider upgrading to energy-efficient ones. You could also install storm windows, which can reduce heat loss by 25%-50%. 

3.  Check Your Crawl Space For Moisture  

Moisture in your crawl spaces can lead to dampness in other areas of your home. If left untreated, humidity can lead to mold growth. Standing water in your space is a more noticeable sign of this issue. Also, peeling paint or rust in your HVAC vents are less subtle signs.

If you notice any of these signs, tend to the problem right away. You will want first to protect your floors and then identify the source of the water. Also, you will need to install a sump pump to prevent water from accumulating. However, there are ways to protect your shaft. 

Here are some tips to minimizing moisture in your crawlspace: 

  • Insulate your foundation
  • Buy a dehumidifier
  • Drain your the space
  • Cover the floor
  • Use a fan 

4.  Reseal Your Deck 

Your deck is a great palace for entertaining or enjoying a nice cup of coffee in the morning. To keep it in top shape, check the sealant making sure moisture hasn’t gotten into the wood. This can weaken your structure and attract pests. To keep your family safe, regularly examine your patio’s sealant. If it wears down over time, consider replacing it.

Before you apply the deck sealer, clean off your patio by removing any dirt or debris between the boards. Then you can buy a deck sealer from a home improvement store. Keep in mind less transparent shades tend to better protect against the elements. When applying the stain, use a natural bristle brush to get paint into the open pores more easily. 

5. Touch Up Your Paint 

Retouching your outside paint can help enhance your home’s appearance. Also, the paint can benefit your house’s structure by acting as a moisture barrier. If you notice peeling or chipping, this is a good time to perform a touch-up. To help the color last longer, consider pressure washing your home before painting. 

When choosing paints, look for ones with better pigment and color retention. Also, try to find supplies with chalking and blister resistance. Before painting, clean off the area and then add a layer of primer. If the color is still too light when the paint dries, you may need to add another coat.

6.  Clean Your Gutters 

Over time debris can accumulate in your gutters, preventing water from draining properly. The built-up moisture can leak into your walls, causing mold growth. So, at least once a year, you want to mark off cleaning your gutters from your home maintenance checklist. 

During the process, remove the dirt with a plastic scoop. Then use a garden hose to wash off the gutter and downspouts. Make sure you have a sturdy ladder or consider utilizing a ladder stabilizer. You may even want to ask a family member to stand watch. 

While outside, also take a look at your landscaping. Consider trimming your trees and regularly mowing your lawn. This will enhance your backyard space for entertaining. Also, cutting your branches protects your home’s exterior during a storm. 

7. Remove Lint from your Dryer Vent 

Cleaning out your dryer vents can prevent lint from clogging up the machine. If your dryer is full of lint, it may not work properly. This can be a pain, especially if you do multiple loads of laundry a week. Also, built-up lint can create a fire risk. So, to keep your loved ones safe, clean out your dryer vents at least once a year. 

During the process, first examine the outside vent, looking for any obstructions, such as animal nests. To remove the lint, you have a few options including, using a flexible brush or an air compressor. 

8. Check Your Smoke Detectors 

This is another important task on your home maintenance checklist. Smoke Detectors help alert when there’s fire and protect your family. So, check them every month to make sure they are working properly.  

To test your smoke detectors, press and hold the test button. Listen for a loud siren sound, which may take a few seconds to hear. If you don’t hear anything, then you may need to change the batteries or replace the device. 

Also, if it’s been over a year, consider replacing your batteries regardless. Look for alkaline batteries instead of lithium since the lithium ones tend to die faster. When disposing of them, cover them with masking or electrical tape to help the environment. 

9.  Clean Out Your Garbage Disposal 

This may seem like a low priority on your long list of things to do. However, when food decays, it can cause an unpleasant odor and lead to mold or bacteria growth. Consider cleaning out your garbage disposal at least once a week. 

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Turn off the faucet. 
  2. Place ice cubes, baking soda, lemon slices and bleach inside the chamber. 
  3. Turn on the disposal without running the water until the grinding stops.
  4. With the motor still on, flush with cold water for a few seconds. 

10. Inspect Your Roof 

To ensure your roof is stable, keep in mind this home maintenance checklist item. Your roof protects the home’s exterior from the elements. So, you want to examine it at least once a year. 

During the inspection, look for the following:

  • Cracked caulk or rust spots on flashing
  • Missing or broken shingles
  • Cracked or work rubber boot around the vent
  • Missing or damaged chimney cap 
  • Masses of moss or lichen 

Also, while outside, examine your driveway for any cracks in the foundation. This can create safety issues and allow weeds to grow through. So, consider resealing your driveway for better protection. 

The Ultimate Home Maintenance Checklist 

When it comes to owning a home, there is so much to think about. It can seem like alot on top of your everyday responsibilities. To help simplify the process, follow this home maintenance checklist. 

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