Frequently Asked Questions about Home Maintenance
If you’re like many homeowners, your home is one of the most valuable investments you’ll make and one that you would prefer to see grow in value as the years pass. However, unlike stocks or bonds your home is a physical structure that is subject to damage and aging and as such, it requires regular maintenance. Let’s take a look at answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about home maintenance including when to undertake various maintenance projects and how much you should budget for maintenance on a yearly basis.
Why is It Important to Keep Up My Home’s Maintenance?
Whether you purchased a brand new piece of construction or you moved into an older house or condo, as your home ages it will begin to show wear and tear on both the interior and the exterior. Home maintenance is the primary way that you will protect the investment you’ve made in your home, ensuring that its value increases over time. Any maintenance tasks that you neglect over the years will show up in the home inspection report when you decide to sell, which can cause a buyer to reduce their offer or walk away from the sale entirely. Keeping your home in great condition is highly recommended and will improve the enjoyment you get out of being a homeowner.
What Maintenance Items Should I Check Regularly, and When?
Spending a couple of minutes each month and a few times per year on a handful of quick home maintenance items can help you keep things running smoothly and identify any problem areas. Here are a few regular tasks and when to complete them:
Monthly – Each month you’ll want to check your various air filters to clean or replace as necessary, clean out the garburetor in your kitchen sink and check in on your fire extinguishers.
Every 3 Months – Every three months you’ll want to ensure that you run the water in any unused bathrooms or sinks to flush out the piping, test your smoke detectors and check on your windows and doors to ensure they’re sealing properly.
Every 6 Months – Twice a year it’s worth cleaning out the backside of the refrigerator and its coils, replacing batteries in any detectors or other critical items that use them, and checking up on your hot water heater to ensure it is operating properly.
What Maintenance Should I Do in the Spring and Summer Seasons?
As we emerge from the cold of winter and into the rainy spring there are a handful of various home maintenance tasks that should be completed:
Checking your Drains – If we end up with a rainy spring, the last thing you’ll want is to have clogged drains causing huge puddles or a basement flood. As the spring approaches, spend a few minutes checking the various drains around your home to ensure that they’re free and clear.
A Quick Roof and Attic Inspection – The temperature fluctuations that happen in winter can cause a bit of natural wear and tear on a roof. If you can get into your attic, spend a few minutes checking to see if there are any leaks or water spots around which could signal a bigger issue with your roof. On the outside, look for any missing or damaged shingles or tiles.
Schedule a HVAC Checkup – As the weather warms up you’re less likely to be using your home heating system. If you have central heating or central air, the spring is an excellent time to schedule a checkup as you can ensure that your air conditioning is ready for our summer heat.
What Maintenance Should I Do in the Fall and Winter Seasons?
While we’re less subject to massive snowfalls as homeowners in other states might be, Northern Virginia still receives its fair share of inclement weather in the fall and winter. Here are some maintenance tasks that you may need to perform:
Cleaning the Gutters – As you begin to enjoy the colors of autumn you’ll also start to notice that your gutters are filling up with the leaves of any deciduous trees that are close to your home. You may also discover that throughout the year a mix of rain, pollen, dust and dirt have led to a bit of gunk clogging things up. Spending a couple of hours cleaning the cutters can help prevent damage to your roof when freezing temperatures hit.
Disconnecting Irrigation Systems – If you have hoses or a lawn irrigation system you’ll need to disconnect them and flush out any remaining water to prevent freezing. Some irrigation systems require ‘winterization’ – a bit of maintenance that is best performed by a professional.
Storing or Shutting Down your A/C – Whether you have a small, portable air conditioning unit or a large outdoor box that provides central air, as we move through the fall you’ll need to get the unit shut down and properly stored until it is required again in the spring.
How Much Should I Budget for Maintenance Annually?
How much you set aside for maintenance projects depends on factors such as the age of your home, its condition and the amount of abuse or damage that it receives throughout the year. One rule of thumb that many stick by is to set aside an average of one percent of the home’s value each year for maintenance. For example, if you own a home worth $400,000 you would want to ensure that you had $4,000 set into a home maintenance fund which can be drawn on as needed. Another way to calculate your maintenance budget is to set aside $1 for every square foot of space in your home. While it’s very unlikely that you will need to spend a significant amount in repairs every single year, in some years you may need a costly upgrade like a roof replacement or foundation repair.
Home maintenance might seem like a never-ending list of chores and projects, but in truth the time you invest in maintaining your house and property will drastically increase its value. If you have other questions about home maintenance or real estate opportunities here in the Northern Virginia area, contact the local real estate professionals at the E4Realty Group at 703.722.5018 or by clicking the button below.