Did you just buy a house?
In this week’s post I’ve got 10 home maintenance tips for new homeowners. This is the list I wish I got when I bought my first house. So hopefully, you can learn from my mistakes and oversights.
If this is your first time here, welcome! If you’ve been here before, thank you so much for spending your time with me. My name is Lindsay and I‘m a proud Anthem resident and your local REALTOR® with the Wise Move AZ Team at Realty ONE Group. On our blog and YouTube channel we have a lot of fun talking about all things Anthem and real estate every single Thursday, and we absolutely love having you along for the ride.
Cue the Confetti!
First off, before we jump into the home maintenance list, I just want to take a second to wholeheartedly congratulate you on buying a house. That’s huge. You should be extremely proud of yourself because no matter who you are or where you are this undoubtedly took some sacrifice on your part.
When we bought our first house I was so nervous and excited! And oh my goodness did we have our work cut out for us. I had so much to learn about owning a house. Growing up I lived in rentals, which meant that all of the big maintenance items were handled by the property manager. On top of that, I grew up outside of North America where the construction of homes was very different than what we have here.
Thankfully my husband is extremely handy and he had a great handle on what needed to be done… oh, and YouTube, thank goodness for YouTube. Anyways, all of this is a long way to say, I had NO CLUE what I was doing when we first bought a house and I have learned so much since then.
Home Maintenance Tips for New Homeowners
What I want to share with you is a list of things that you might overlook when you first buy your home. These are preventative maintenance items that don’t take a lot of work but can save you a ton of money down the road.
I’ll also share a bonus maintenance item at the end of this post that I literally JUST learned about when I was doing my research. That’s right, this home ownership business is a new adventure everyday.
#1: Clean the Gutters
This one is so important. For me, our gutters were kind of ‘out of sight, out of mind’.
Ideally I think you would check and clean your gutters twice a year. Failing that, in Arizona you really need to do it before Monsoon Season. Your gutters play a really important role in diverting water away from your home. If they’re not properly cared for and cleaned, you could experience flooding.
If you have any trees close to the gutters or that drop debris in them, you may want to consider getting rid of them or at least trimming them back.
#2: Check your Roof
Here in Anthem, Arizona we have tile roofs. We’re typically looking to see if there are any cracked tiles, missing tiles, cracked mortar packs, or evidence of birds. If you spot any of these you’re going to want to have a roofer or handyman out to the property to make repairs.
I’m hesitant to recommend that you get up and walk on your roof. One, because it’s dangerous, and two, because you need to know what you’re doing if you’re going to walk on a tile roof. It’s way too easy to jump up there and crack a tile. If you’re not going up on the roof, you could hire a professional or you could use a drone to fly over and have a look.
#3: Drain your Hot Water Heater
By taking the time to properly care for your hot water heater you can greatly extend its life. Sediment can build up in the tank and draining it helps to flush that sediment out. We did a whole video on how to drain your hot water heater, and trust me, if I can do it, you can too. I’ll link to it here so that you can check it out.
You can read the owner’s manual for your particular model but typically doing this once per year is sufficient.
#4: HVAC Servicing
Having your heating, ventilation, and cooling systems serviced is so important. I haven’t been brave enough to try tackling this one myself yet. We just hire a local company that comes out, takes a look and makes any repairs or adjustments that are needed.
We have our units serviced once per year, and they have been running really well. I’ve been in an Arizona house in the middle of the summer when the AC dies and it’s not pretty, so we just do everything we can to prolong the life of our equipment.
#5: Change your Filters
If you’re like me you may not have realized that your house came with so many filters! You need to change the filters on your HVAC system, your fridge, and your Reverse Osmosis system, if you have one. You also need to be cleaning the filter in your dishwasher.
For the HVAC system, I was told that it’s better to use a cheaper filter and change it once a month, rather than to opt for the more expensive filters that require less changing.
As for your fridge and your reverse osmosis system, you’re going to want to check your owner’s manual for the filter replacement schedule.
With respect to the filter in the dishwasher, the best advice I ever got was from the salesperson who sold my parents their dishwasher. He recommended that we remove and clean the filter every time the light comes on to remind us to add rinse agent. Ever since then that’s been my go-to, and so far, so good!
#6: Clean your Dryer Vent
This one I definitely knew about before we bought a house. I saw those infomercials for the Lint Lizard where the house was on fire because nobody cleaned the dryer vent. Depending on how your home is laid out and where the dryer vent is, you may be able to clean it out on your own. If you can’t reach the outlet or you don’t have the right equipment to get all the way through, I strongly recommend that you hire a professional.
This one is a serious safety hazard if ignored.
#7: Service your Smoke Alarms
Speaking of things that are a safety risk you need to test your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. The U.S. Fire Administration recommends that you test your smoke alarms once per month by pressing the test button.
I definitely haven’t been great about doing this every month so you can guess what I’m going to go do as soon as I’m done typing. Also, smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. You can usually find the date of manufacture on the back of your alarms. If it’s more than 10 years old, replace it.
#8: Test your Water Pressure
Did you know that water pressure that’s too high can damage your fixtures? Having to replace all of your plumbing fixtures would get really expensive really quickly. You can get a water pressure gauge for less than $20. You want your water pressure to be between 40 and 60 PSI. If your water pressure is too high or too low you’ll likely want to consult with a plumber.
#9: Service your Garage Door
No word of a lie, I have the worst luck with garage doors. Everywhere I have ever lived where we’ve had a garage, we’ve had problems with the doors, without fail. Having been on both sides, I can’t decide if it was worse having the car stuck inside the garage, or having the car outside but the door stuck halfway open and needing to get to a meeting in a hurry. If you don’t maintain your garage door it will break at some point.
I recommend having it serviced once per year or if it starts to make a funny noise. Don’t ignore any weird noises. In the meantime, you can lubricate your springs with an inexpensive can of garage door lubricant.
#10: Prevent Pests
Some pests are just a nuisance while others, like termites and pigeons can cause serious damage to your home. Termites are definitely something we need to watch out for here in Arizona. In fact, we did a whole video on how to prevent termites and the steps you need to take every year to save yourself from a big repair bill. If you’d like to check that out, I will link to it here. You need to know what types of pests are common in your area, if they can damage your home, and how to prevent them.
Alright, I promised you one bonus maintenance tip, right? Well, when I was doing my research for this post I came across an article that recommended that you clean your refrigerator coils. What? That’s right, dust can accumulate around the coils and shorten the lifespan of your fridge. Where the coils are located will depend on your fridge model. So… guess what I’m doing this weekend?!
So, there you have it! If you’re looking for more home maintenance ideas or things that you should look out for, I strongly recommend that you read through your home inspection reports in detail. These reports contain so much valuable information way beyond just the things that need immediate attention on your home. What project do you think you’ll tackle first? Was there anything on this list that you were surprised to hear?
If you’d like to check out the video I mentioned on draining your hot water heater you can click here, or if you’re interested in learning a few ways to save money and energy around the house, click here.
Enjoy those and I’ll see YOU next Thursday!