Even homeowners who know their stuff and do regular maintenance checks can miss problems. Whether it’s forgetting to inspect the gutters or failing to check the integrity of electrical wires, a whole host of problems can spring from unintentional neglect.
Instead of leaving it up to chance, homeowners should adhere to an annual checklist. They should also know when to take care of it themselves and when to call the professionals for home maintenance.
Home Maintenance Checks: To DIY or Not to DIY
When to DIY
Some home checks are pretty straightforward; these can be performed by any homeowner with a little guidance. This Old House notes plenty that a motivated homeowner can do alone.
For instance, a common-sense exterior check can pinpoint lots of issues, or avoid potential ones. Making sure trees are clear of power lines, checking for loose or leaning fence posts, inspecting the siding for stains (which could point to a leak), and taking note of signs of insects or wild animal infestations are all easy tasks.
When to Call a Professional
When it comes to the nitty-gritty, technical checks that every home needs, unless a homeowner is knowledgeable about their abode’s structure and various systems, it’s best to call a professional to do the job right. Two areas that should strongly be considered for professional inspection include electrical wiring and plumbing
Plumbing should be reviewed and maintained by a professional as checks and remedies for sinks and faucets might be more complicated. The damage that might ensue from leaky pipes or improperly working fixtures could be costly. Checks often involve checking water pressure, inspecting the water heater, making sure the toilets are functioning properly, checking drains, and more. Having a professional opinion can save time and money in the long run.
Electrical checks, on the other hand, could be dangerous for homeowners to attempt themselves. This is definitely true if wires are loose, chewed through by wild animals, or are located in high areas that are difficult to reach.
A good rule of thumb: when in doubt, call a professional.
Annual Home Maintenance: A Quick, Yearly Checklist
Here is a checklist for making sure a home is in tip-top shape for the year. Checking everything out ensures that no surprises will pop up later.
- Check the batteries of smoke detectors and alarms.
- Check that fire extinguishers are working.
- Change out furnace filters.
- Do an inspection of the basement and attic for any leaks.
- Clean out the dryer vents.
- Clean the gutters.
For anything more involved, call a professional. They are trained to spot small problems before they can escalate, as Kudzu advises. A professional will ensure nothing is left out. This gives homeowners peace of mind for the year to come.
A home is not static. Systems wear down and wear out. A clean bill of health at move-in is not a guarantee for zero future problems. Smart homeowners will be aware of these factors and will plan ahead in order to keep their homes in good condition.