As a homeowner, you probably don’t like to think about doing annual home maintenance all the time. After all, annual home maintenance is not always the most fun. Plus, you can expect annual home maintenance processes to cost some money. So why should you conduct routine home maintenance?
Still, planning ahead for all your annual home maintenance needs isn’t a bad idea. In fact, it’s pretty practical. And with a little strategy, you can arrange all your annual home maintenance to-dos at the beginning of the year. By staggering them around the calendar, you’ll avoid paying large sums of money on annual home maintenance items or services at one time.
Benefits of Annual Home Maintenance
Before heading into the top eight annual home maintenance ventures you’ll need to consider every 12-month period, let’s look at the advantages of keeping up with your property. The first is financial: you’ll be less likely to be hit hard by an unexpected expense, such as the need to suddenly replace your roof.
The second pro to spending time on annual home maintenance is that your home will just be more livable. Whether you live there yourself or rent it out to others, it’ll remain in tip-top shape and keep its curb appeal. This is especially important if you decide to sell it, such as if you get a job offer you can’t refuse and have to relocate to another city.
Finally, getting annual home maintenance off your plate is a relief. Though you might not love paying the checks that go along with it, you’ll be able to sleep better at night. And peace of mind is a great reason to take something seriously.
So which annual home maintenance must-dos belong to your family’s customized “taking care of our house” checklist? Below are some of the biggest ones you won’t want to overlook.
Water damage isn’t a fun experience, especially if you’re a homeowner. Even a little bit of extra moisture can lead to a mold problem down the road. If nothing else, you could end up with a property that has a lingering, musty odor that you can’t get out with a remediation specialist’s help.
Rather than waiting for a plumbing disaster to strike, take care of any plumbing repair needs as soon as they happen. Or, keep a running list of all your plumbing concerns. Then, contact a plumber or handyman. You may be able to tackle some jobs, such as basic drain cleaning with a special tool, but don’t try to take on anything that’s too excessive. The last thing you need is to get into hot water… literally… or to start a drip that turns into a drag.
As a side note, your plumbing maintenance doesn’t need to be just yearly. Basically, when you need a plumber, call a technician. Water woes will only become a drain on your wallet if you allow them to fester for too long.
If your septic system goes, it’s going to stink both literally and figuratively. In general, septic maintenance needs to be performed in the form of pumping the system at least every five years, if not a little sooner. Did you buy your home recently? You may not know when the last time the septic tank was touched. Find out so you can avoid having it go when it’s most inconvenient.
Remember, too, that septic systems can last for generations. Some homeowners never need to replace their septic systems, which is great. However, if you spot any issues that might indicate trouble with your septic system or tank, be proactive. What are some warning signs that your septic may be about to go south?
You could be getting a lot of back-up in drains and toilets. You might notice weird sounds coming from your pipes when you drain water or flush a toilet. You could even smell something bad coming from around the septic system.
It’s always best to stay on top of your septic system as a homeowner. You might not have to do anything one year beyond just make sure it’s still performing as expected. But other years, you should be ready to jump into action and make repairs or initiate replacements.
The HVAC system in your house is really like its heart and lungs. The furnace or heating system keeps you warm. The cooling system keeps you from roasting during hot summer days and evenings. Without your HVAC working properly, you’d be very uncomfortable.
In general, AC maintenance is fairly routine. Most people schedule this annual home maintenance service twice a year: once in the spring and once before the big holiday season including Thanksgiving and Christmas. A technician will come to your home and inspect everything from your oil tank or boiler to ductwork and natural gas furnace. Expect the tech to spend a little time removing items, making sure nothing seems amiss and cleaning your whole system.
To help you budget more easily for HVAC annual home maintenance, you may want to ask your provider of choice about any kind of yearly maintenance plans or agreements. Some HVAC service teams offer deep discounts if you sign up for annual service packages. You may even get special discounts by registering, such as a percentage off any unscheduled repairs or visits. Or, you might even get some freebies that could be meaningful. Be sure to schedule your HVAC maintenance a few weeks in advance if you can. Techs can get super-busy, especially when the seasons change, or during hot or cold weather snaps.
How much attention do you give to your roof? Be honest. Now, you might pay attention to your gutters to keep them cleaned out. That’s a good start. But have you really examined your shingles or called in a roofing professional to take a look around at the spots you can’t see from the ground?
Getting a good idea of the health of your roof is critically important. An aging roof can become a nightmare for you because it always requires a repair or replacement when you least expect it. Additionally, in an emergency situation, you’ll probably pay extra to get everything fixed.
Stay on top of your roofing maintenance and keep tabs on your roof in general. For instance, do you have a tree that’s growing very close to your house? Be sure the limbs aren’t brushing against part of your roof. If they are, call a residential tree service technician to come and cut down the limbs. Paying just a little attention to your roof will keep you from overspending when it comes time for a full-blown replacement.
Curb Appeal Maintenance
Some types of annual home maintenance fall into nebulous categories. We’ll refer to the exterior ones here as just “curb appeal maintenance” as a catch-all.
Your driveway, paths, and formal patio areas are definitely places to focus some annual home maintenance attention. Concrete and other surfaces can require TLC from asphalt maintenance service experts from time to time. After all, the weather isn’t necessarily kind to any kind of hard surface outside. Eventually, even the most beautifully laid driveway will crack or start to develop patches of weeds.
In addition to any paths and surfaces, be sure to cover all your landscape maintenance. Many homeowners do this at least four times a year. In the winter, they clear away any lingering branches or leaves so the lawn is barren of all unwanted debris. In the springtime, they start to seed their flower and garden beds, as well as fix patches of lawn.
In the summertime, homeowners routinely concentrate their landscaping on keeping all the weeding and pruning in check. And in fall, they remove leaves in anticipation of cooler weather coming in, and possibly inches of snow cover.
Of course, the type of curb appeal annual home maintenance you undertake will depend upon the size of your property. Do your best to remember this essential element of annual home maintenance because it’s important that your home looks great on the outside, as well as functions properly on the inside.
Electrical Systems Maintenance
Most houses run on some type of electricity. Even if you have solar panels, you’ll have some kind of electric hookup, whether it’s to the grid or wherever your electricity is stored. And that means lots and lots of wires are going into your house.
Eventually, all-electric wiring can stop working. Even your electrical panel may need to be upgraded if it hasn’t for a long time. That’s when it makes sense to call in professionals to do some residential electrical services.
When should you think about contacting an electrician to take a look at your home? Some signs that your electricity may be on the fritz include strange odors when you turn on lights, house lights that flicker repeatedly, switches that don’t work all the time, and outlets that routinely deliver sparks when you try to plug anything into them. Oh, and you probably will want to work with an electrical services provider if you have very old switches or outlets throughout your historic property. Older electric hardware can look kitschy and seem fun, but it can be a fire hazard.
Many homes include a pool in the backyard. Whether it is an in-ground or above-ground feature, it also deserves a bit of swimming pool maintenance, especially throughout the warmer seasons. Usually, in the spring, you can expect to work with a pool supplier to come in and “shock” the pool with chemicals. If you have a saltwater pool, you may be able to avoid using chemicals in your pool maintenance, but probably still want to pay someone to make sure the pool is ready for seasonal use.
Once you get the go-ahead, you should plan to not just maintain annual home maintenance on your pool but daily maintenance. To be honest, many homeowners who have never had a pool before are surprised at how much babysitting a pool requires. You can expect to pay attention to your pool pretty much every day because it will need to be skimmed, tested occasionally, and otherwise maintained.
Every few years, you may also have to drain your pool, as well as paint, seal, or repair it. Again, this is something that’s best taken care of by an expert in the pool business. Otherwise, you might end up making a small problem much bigger. And that wouldn’t exactly float anyone’s boat!
Your house probably has more appliances than you think about. Anything from the dryer in the basement to the microwave is considered an appliance. Each of them has a particular lifespan, and they will all fail over time.
Your job is to keep tabs on all your appliances so you can determine when to buy new ones. Sometimes, the decision is easy and may dovetail with other renovation desires. For instance, pretend that most of your bigger kitchen appliances are starting to work less optimally.
Rather than purchasing new ones in a piecemeal fashion, you may prefer to just see if you can get a discount if you buy replacements at once at a local appliance store. (Hint: Check to see if they have any floor models or “scratch and dent” appliances they’re willing to sell for much less than retail.)
You could even make your appliance upgrade part of a full-scale revitalization effort. Yes, you’ll spend money: Most people who upgrade their kitchens pay around $150 for each square foot of space they redo. However, if you’ve already budgeted for your modernized kitchen, you may not see a problem with just weaving your appliance maintenance into the whole experience.
Final Thoughts on Home Maintenance
Homeownership comes with many demands that extend far beyond just purchasing a piece of real estate. Before signing all your mortgage and closing paperwork, make sure you’re ready to embark on the adventure of not just owning your own residence, but understanding the full scope of your annual home maintenance responsibilities. You may even want to ask the seller how much they generally spent per year on expected annual home maintenance services. That way, you can go into home ownership with your eyes wide open.