Isn’t owning your own home great? Whether you’re a new buyer or have been in your home for a year or two, you’ll want to make your home clean and comfortable for the many years ahead of you.
This spring maintenance checklist has eight tips to help you avoid headaches down the road:
1. If you just moved in, change the locks.
You may not have considered putting new locks on the doors, but 66 percent of burglaries happen in residential areas. It’s never certain who the previous homeowners gave additional keys to, so you may want to hire a locksmith to install new locks. This is also a good opportunity to replace locks that are worn out or rusted. You may consider installing locks that require a key on both sides of the door for added security.
2. Dust and vacuum the interior.
If you’re new to your home, you’ve probably had movers come through your home, and they bring quite a bit of dirt and dust with them. And even if you’ve been there a few years, spring is a great time to do a deep cleaning. To start fresh, you can hire a maid service for as little as $100. If you do it yourself, begin with a thorough cleaning of any hardwood, tile or carpet. Wash the baseboards, which are often overlooked. If you’re going to install a new dryer, be sure to clean out the vent and exhaust space of any leftover dryer lint to avoid fire hazards.
Check every smoke and carbon monoxide alarm in your home at least once a year. If they aren’t working properly, you’ll need to change the batteries or have the alarms replaced. If your home is older, it may not have a carbon monoxide alarm, so be sure to get one installed.
4. Check air filters and ducts.
A proper heating and air conditioning unit means clean ducts and filters to circulate the cold or warm air throughout the home. If they’re filled with dust, dirt or grime from years of use, it could prevent rooms from getting warm or cool when turned on. Check the ducts and filters for any dirt and clean and replace as needed. This should be a top priority for anyone who has allergies.
5. Keep the insulation updated.
During your professional home inspection, your inspector checked for proper insulation. But it’s always good to understand how old that insulation is and whether additional layer could improve energy efficiency. Revisit the insulation question occasionally to make sure what you have is adequate. You should also insulate your water heater and its pipes if you live in a climate with fluctuating temperatures, or if the water heater is outside. That way it doesn’t have to turn on often to keep the water hot for baths, dishes and washing machines.
To avoid roof damage during the winter or major storms, you must keep the gutters free of leaves and sticks that will prevent proper drainage. If you’re nervous to do this yourself, the professional cost to clean gutters and downspouts averages between $160 and $210.
7. Prune and trim the landscaping.
If you’ve just moved in or if your yard got out of hand during the winter, you may need to trim trees, prune shrubs and mow the lawn. To save money, you can trim or prune trees yourself, but hiring an arborist will ensure proper techniques are used.
8. Personalize rooms with paint.
When you bought your home, the seller may have depersonalized rooms by painting them neutral colors such as white or taupe. Now that you own the home, you can paint over those colors to make it yours.
About Andrea Davis and HomeAdvisor
Andrea Davis works for HomeAdvisor, which helps homeowners find the right home improvement professionals for their home projects at the right price. Homeowners can use HomeAdvisor Reviews to see what past customers have to say about each professional, and can calculate average local and national costs for a variety of home projects using Cost Guides. Access to all information and features is free for homeowners.
Note: This is a guest post; the views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Redfin.