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A homeowner’s guide to simple maintenance

Couple with moving boxes
Couple with moving boxes
Couple with moving boxes

Uncover the secret to keeping your space safe, efficient, and beautiful.

One of the most appealing benefits to owning a home vs. renting is having the freedom to do what you want with your property. Having complete control of your home can feel liberating, but it can also feel overwhelming when you’re stuck with unexpected repair bills.

What should you know before signing on your new home?

When buying a home

Start with hiring a licensed home inspector to check out the home you want to buy. This person works for you, not the seller, so don't be afraid to ask detailed questions. Your inspector should check the entire house; plumbing, electrical, insulation, and more to ensure it’s all up to code. They’ll also check the life cycle of the roof, water heater, etc.

Make sure your home inspector has errors and omissions insurance to help cover your legal defense costs in the event they make a mistake.

Once you've moved in

Congratulations on your new home! Now the real work begins, and we’re here to help you with five tips for healthy home maintenance:

1. Invest in insulation.

Insulation starts working from the first day it's installed and never stops. Proper insulation will save money on the cost of heating and cooling. If wood is exposed on the horizontal trusses or roof members in the attic, chances are it needs insulation added. Insulation goes hand-in-hand with a good air quality system. While tight homes conserve energy, all homes require controlled ventilation to eliminate odors and maintain proper oxygen levels.

2. Find energy thieves.

Seek out sources of wasted energy in your home. Electronics and chargers use electricity when they’re plugged in – even when they’re not being used. Instead of unplugging everything individually, save yourself and your home the energy by plugging devices into one power strip, then turning off the strip when it's not being used. You can also purchase "smart" power strips that allow you to turn off some plugs while keeping others powered from a smartphone app.

3. Maintain home appliances.

Have you ever vacuumed your refrigerator coils? Most people don't, but a dirty coil won't transfer heat because the dirt acts as an insulator. Cleaning coils once a year and changing filters on your HVAC every three months (or sooner) are two simple things you can do yourself to make your home run more efficiently. We also recommend hiring licensed professionals to inspect and clean your HVAC system and air ducts annually.

4. Control humidity.

If the humidity is too high or low, it can cause damage to your home and its contents. Humidity control is also important for avoiding indoor allergens and bacteria. While the best humidity setting for your home depends on the season and your location, a general recommended setting is between 30 and 50 percent relative humidity. Newer thermostats can help regulate the humidity in a home year-round.

5. Keep it clean and dry.

The National Association of Home Builders says homeowners should pay careful attention to cleanliness in all aspects of a residence.

·       According to the NAHB, allowing dust and dirt to accumulate can harm the finishes on blinds, cabinets, counter tops, floors, sinks, tubs, toilets, walls, tiles, and more. If you notice dirt starting to build up, use a non-abrasive cleaner that won’t damage the finishes.

·       Replace the filters in your heating and air conditioning systems at least every three months to make sure they are clean and unobstructed.

·       Check the outside of your house on a regular basis to make sure gutters and downspouts aren't clogged, windowsills are caulked, and sprinklers aren’t showering your home.

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