Looking for the most important home maintenance tips for new homeowners? Whether you’re a new homeowner (if so, congratulations!) looking for home maintenance tips, or someone looking for ways to stay on top of home maintenance and save money on utility costs, you’ve come to the right blog. In the next 5 minutes, we’re going to lay out all of the things you should be doing right when you move in, each month, and each year to ensure that you’re home is safe and at peak energy performance!
Home Maintenance Tips To Perform Right Away
Perform a Home Energy Audit
You’re moving into a new home which means you don’t know how well the energy features have been maintained or how well they will perform. By conducting a home energy audit you will discover where your biggest energy drainers are and establish a starting point for deciding which energy-saving projects to tackle first.
A few things to know:
- Many utility companies offer this service for free, so it is good to check with your local company first to see if they can perform the audit for you.
- In Ashland, you can request a home energy audit from DA Solar on their website.
- And, you can even perform a home energy audit yourself. Here is a starting guide from the City of Ashland. In addition, you can find plenty of online resources by simply Googling “how to do a home energy audit”.
The beauty of performing this audit early on is that it can save you 5-30% of your home’s annual energy cost. That savings can add up fast!
Control Your Heating and Cooling
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “Space heating, space cooling, and water heating are some of the largest energy expenses in any home”. This means that if you want to save money one of the biggest things you can do in your home is to stay on top of maintaining the temperature.
Luckily, there is an easy solution — installing a programmable thermostat. With this device, you can easily control the temperature of your home and pre-program it so that your heating and cooling system automatically maintains the temperature you want to maintain throughout the day. Setting your system to automatically turn off when you’re not home and in the evening will drastically cut down on your energy costs each month.
Another easy way to cut down on heating costs is to make use of your ceiling fans. Not only are ceiling fans extremely cheap to run, but they also keep the air circulating throughout your home which can help with stuffiness. Not only are they a great way to cool your home by pushing air downward, but they can also help heat your home in the wintertime. By reversing the direction that the fan spins (look for a switch somewhere on the fan), it pulls air upwards effectively helping the room stay warmer.
Clean and Flush Out Your Hot Water Heater
Unless you’re moving into a brand new home, you may want to consider cleaning out your hot water heater. Over time, the sediment found in public water will accumulate inside your hot water heater. If it isn’t removed from time to time it can build up to the point of damaging your water heating system. This can be expensive to fix and REALLY expensive to replace, so it is a good idea to drain your water heater periodically to remove any sediment that has accumulated.
Another money-saving tip for your water heater is to turn the temperature down to around 120 degrees. This simple change can save you 3%-5% on your energy bill each year and will avoid any scalding moments for guests who aren’t used to your water settings. It is also effortless to do, just Google “how to turn down my water heater (insert water heater brand and model)”.
Home Maintenance Tips To Perform Monthly
Keep Your Dryer Vent Clean
When lint builds up in your dryer vent over time, not only does it drain your pocketbook, as each load will require more energy to dry completely, but it is also a serious fire hazard.
Failing to clean your dryer vent can amount to as much as $140 a year in wasted utility costs. One of the simplest home maintenance tips for new homeowners is to regularly clean your dryer vent, making sure to remove any lint or debris.
Check and Change HVAC System Filters
Depending on the size of your home and how many air filters it has, this tip can be a bit of a hassle, but it is essential to avoid costly repairs down the road. Mark a day on your calendar each month when you will go around the house to check your air filters. If they are dirty be sure to clean or replace them right then and there. It is especially important to do this on a monthly basis during the summer months when your AC is running more often.
Inspect Your Fire Extinguisher
This tip can save your life, or at the very least, your house. You don’t want to wait to find out your fire extinguisher no longer works when facing down a full-blown grease-fire. And, if you don’t have a fire extinguisher… Go get one and make sure you keep it somewhere that is easily accessible!
Every couple of months, pull out your fire extinguisher(s) and check to make sure the pressure gauge is still where it’s supposed to be and that the device hasn’t expired. If everything looks good, then put the fire extinguisher back in the location that is easiest to access in the event of an emergency.
Clean Your Kitchen Range Hood
If you’ve ever cleaned a kitchen then you know how grimy the range hood can get. Do yourself a favor and give it a good wipe down each month with a degreasing agent. Then simply rinse and dry it off before replacing it. The longer you wait, the harder it gets to clean and the more bacteria is dangling over your stove (and food!).
Home Maintenance Tips To Perform Annually
Replace Batteries in Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
When it comes to home maintenance tips for new homeowners, this is the most important one to follow. Your family’s safety is the most important thing in the world which is why it is crucial to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they’re properly working.
The easiest way to remember is to pick a significant day like New Years’ or Christmas, mark your calendar, and then replace all the batteries in those detectors on that same day every year.
Service Your HVAC System And Chimney (If You Have A Fireplace)
A clean HVAC system is more energy-efficient and will save you money in the following year if cleaned properly. We advise hiring a professional to service your unit every year (or at least every other year). Not only will it save you money on utilities, but it will help prevent any major issues that require more expensive replacement costs.
If you have a fireplace, you should be inspecting it every year to ensure that it is structurally sound, free from deposits, and maintains proper clearances. It is important to have it professionally cleaned or serviced if any of those items need to be addressed.
Vacuum Refrigerator Coils
Most people don’t know about this one, but your fridge coils will get dusty and dirty over time which causes them to suck up a lot more of your energy. Identify where the coils of your fridge are located and periodically vacuum out/wipe off any dust or grime that has built up. This will save you money and increase the life of your refrigerator.
Service and Prepare Air Conditioner (in the Spring)
It is a good idea to prep your air conditioner before the hot summer months hit. Make sure all plants and yard debris are clear of your outside unit and clean off any debris that has collected on the grill. It is a good idea to have a professional come to clean your AC unit every couple of years to extend the life of your system.
Turn Off Outdoor Faucets, Unhook Hoses (in the Fall)
Depending on where you live, but especially here in Ashland, Oregon it is important to prep your yard for freezing weather. Go around and turn off all of your outdoor faucets and completely flush them. Remove all hoses and flush those completely as well before storing them for the winter.
Clean Out Your Gutters (Spring)
Springtime is the best time to pull out the ladder and clean all of the leaves and gunk that have built up in your gutters. Failing to do this is a major fire hazard and can cause your gutters to overflow if they become completely blocked.
Though there are certainly more home maintenance tips for new homeowners out there, these are the most crucial to stay on top of. By conducting regular checks and repairs, you can rest easy knowing that your home will be a safe and secure home for years to come (not to mention the money you will save).