A little annual TLC for your home
5 Spring Home Maintenance Projects
by Melanie Hargrave
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Home Maintenance Schedules
Cleaning Home Siding
Owning a home isn't easy. Everyone expects a new car or computer to need some maintenance, but no one hands you a manual when you buy your first home. Once you move out of apartments and rentals, it'll be up to you to take care of all the repairs you've never had to worry about before. Here are a few annual maintenance projects that are easy to forget about.
Spring cleaning isn't just a phrase to toss around every March. It's not exactly home maintenance, but it's a vital undertaking if you want your home to run smoothly for the ensuing year. Winter is the prime time for collecting clutter, and who wants to organize the garage when it's below freezing outside? Take the early spring months to do a thorough airing out. Here's a short checklist to get you started.
- Wash the outside windows
- Hose down siding
- Take a few loads of clutter to a charity, distribution center, or have a garage sale
- Clean the carpets
- Reseal grout lines
- Defrost freezer
- Wash walls
- Dust ceiling fans
Check Heating and Air Conditioning
Replacing heating or air conditioning systems is not simple or cheap. It's much easier to have them inspected on an annual basis to prevent disrepair.
- Heating: Test the pressure and temperature of your water heater. If you feel that your house isn't holding heat as well as in previous winters, you should have an insulation company inspect the quality or age of your insulation. If your insulation needs to be replaced, some options include foam board, loose fill, batting, rolls, or spray foam insulation. Toronto and Minnesota residents will know that heating is one luxury you can't afford to compromise on during those cold winter months.
- Have your central air conditioning system inspected before summer hits. Replace filters according to the manufacturer's instructions, and clear debris from the outdoor condensers or heating pumps.
Clean Chimney Flue
If you have a fireplace, you'll need to get your chimney cleaned out on a regular basis. A clogged chimney will make your home dirty and your fires smoky, and increase chances of chimney fires. After a winter of soot and ash building up in the chimney, it'll need a good sweeping out desperately. Do it in the spring or summer, after you're sure you won't need to use it anymore. The earlier you get it done, the more time you'll have to make necessary repairs.
Have your chimney inspected again right before burning season, just in case any critters have built nests or homes inside.
Inspect Roof and Clean Gutters
If you feel comfortable with heights, get up on the roof every summer and inspect it for loose shingles, leaks, cracks, and other signs that it might need to be repaired. Don't try to repair it yourself unless you have experience. Roofing is dangerous work and should be left to the professionals.
Along with a roof inspection, you should clean out your gutters once a year. If leaves, mud, and other debris are allowed to build up in the gutters, they can crack, collect mold, and cause other problems. Scoop out the worst of the debris, and then rinse out the remaining dirt with a garden hose.
Cleaning gutters can be just as dangerous as roofing work, so if you decide to do it yourself, make sure you take appropriate safety precautions. Wear gloves, use a stable ladder, and make sure that someone knows what you're doing so that they can aid in case of emergency or injury.
Your lawn needs attention just like the rest of your house does. You should aerate and fertilize your lawn every spring to keep it green and healthy. Here's a basic step-by-step how-to:
- Water your lawn thoroughly for two days before you begin.
- Make sure you know where sprinkler heads or other obstructions in the grass are so that you can avoid them with the aerator.
- Rent a core aerator from a garden center (usually $30-$75 for a few hours).
- Run the aerator over your lawn once. Be careful not to double back over any area.
- Leave the soil cores on the ground after you finish. They'll only take two to four weeks to decompose naturally.
Purchasing a house isn't as simple as signing papers and unpacking all of your boxes. When you buy a home, you buy all of the problems that come with it. Take the time to compile a list of these and other household chores you need to stay on top of; create your own home manual, and you'll avoid expensive, unexpected repair projects that leave you wondering why you wanted to become a homeowner in the first place.
Melanie Hargrave is a wife and homemaker whose family is her pride and joy. She recently installed new spray foam installation in her home with the help of Reitzel Insulation. She loves being outdoors, home improvement projects, and spending time with her husband and daughters.
Take the Next Step:
- Get more advice for completing your home maintenance projects by visiting the Dollar Stretcher Library.
- The mortgage refinance window could close for many people this year. Consider these 5 reasons to refinance your mortgage while you still can.
- Once those home improvements are done, why not take some time to improve your finances? The TDS ebook How to Conquer Your Debt No Matter How Much You Have can provide you with the tools you need to demolish your debt and rebuild your finances.
- Join those who 'live better...for less' - Subscribe to The Dollar Stretcher newsletter, a weekly look at how to stretch both your day and your dollar! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE!
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