The Importance of Home-Upkeep and 4 Areas To Focus On

Perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects of homeownership is the maintenance required. Many people go into buying a home thinking they just need to cover the mortgage, insurance, and utilities — not that different from renting a home or apartment. And for many years, that approach might work, until something breaks down and you have to spend thousands in repair costs. To help avoid these egregious expenses, it’s important to focus on home-upkeep.

Why You Should Keep Your Home Maintained

It might feel like it happens all of a sudden — the roof starts leaking, a tree falls and takes out a fence, or the AC system breaks down in the middle of a hot day in July. The truth, however, is that many so-called sudden damages in a home are preventable. If you’ve never owned a home, you probably wouldn’t even think about it. After all, you’ve likely had a landlord or maintenance person to call whenever you had a problem. 

Now, however, as a homeowner, you’ll want to protect your investment, and your wallet, by taking steps to prevent damage. Simple acts like checking and replacing filters, inspecting your roof, and pruning trees can save you the time and stress of a serious event and the money it takes to repair it. Engaging in home-upkeep can ensure your home stays in good condition for decades to come, and with just a little extra effort on your part. 

1. HVAC Systems

Many Americans live in areas that get too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter to survive without indoor heating and air conditioning. Sadly, you likely don’t realize what a luxury having these systems is until you lose them. And, unfortunately, it seems like they break down right when you need them — either in the middle of a snowstorm or at peak heat during the summer. Take steps to ensure this doesn’t happen to you. 

Spring and fall are the blessed seasons when you, ideally, won’t have to run either heating or air conditioning. So take the time to check them before you need them. Well before winter kicks in, have your heat pump systems checked. Once you make it through the harsh, cold months, have your AC inspected and cleaned. Installing clean filters, unblocking any debris, and potentially replacing old systems are key elements of home maintenance. 

2. Safety Systems

The safety systems in your home are classic examples of items you should have just in case you need them because it’s better than needing them and not having them. These systems could be alarms, smoke detectors, or carbon monoxide detectors. If you don’t have safety systems in place, you don’t want to be in a position to wish you did. If you do, make sure you check them once a month to be sure they’re functioning, or you might as well not have them. 

Fire spreads rapidly, and a smoke detector can save your life. It allows you to act faster than you would typically be able to if a fire starts while you’re sleeping, which gives you more time to get you and your loved ones to safety. Test your detectors once a month so you can rest at ease. Now, you can get one that will also detect a buildup of carbon monoxide in your home. Make sure it works properly too. 

3. The Exterior of Your Home

The outside of your home typically calls for much more maintenance than people realize. And when you don’t do it, you may find costs and damages creeping up on you. You might find your power bills rising as you spend more on heating and air conditioning. Your roof may start leaking in the middle of a rainstorm. And your house may just start to look more dingy and rundown over time, which can lower your overall property value. 

Take the time at least once a season to walk around the exterior of your home and check for cracks, leaks, and wear and tear. Replace broken or cracked seals on your windows and doors to keep heat in during the winter and out during the summer. Clean your gutters once every few months to prevent damage to them and your roof. And have your roof inspected frequently. Finally, take the time to power wash your siding and replace any damaged parts. This will keep your home protected from the elements and any unwanted guests.

4. Trees

One area of home maintenance people tend to forget about entirely are the trees on their property. You may enjoy some light yard work — mowing the lawn, pulling weeds, and planting flowers. But pruning trees is an essential part of home-upkeep that can prevent serious harm to your home and injury to the people on and around your property. A fallen branch alone could tear through a home or land on a car or even a person.

Each winter, inspect the large trees on your property for potential hazards. Look for cracked or damaged branches, signs of death or disease (spotted or blemished leaves, leaf wilting, and excessive dead branches), and overgrown or crowded branches. These factors indicate the tree could cause major problems during a storm or even seemingly out of nowhere. Keeping your trees clean and trimmed can save money and potentially lives.

Of course, there are myriad other to-dos to add to your list for home-upkeep, like clearing debris from tub and sink drains, flushing your water heater, and cleaning your washer and dryer. But the items listed here are those that can cause huge issues when poorly maintained. It might feel like a lot at first, but once you settle into homeownership, home-upkeep can become a natural part of your routine. Just crank up your favorite music and get it done.

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