Owning a home is one of life's most significant milestones, one that comes with both joys and responsibilities. While many of us envision weekend barbecues or cozy reading nooks, we tend to push aside the more mundane aspects of homeownership—maintenance.
However, tending to these "smaller" tasks can play an outsized role in preserving your home's resale value, saving you money, and most importantly, giving you peace of mind.
Today, I'll share with you some annual maintenance tasks all homeowners should be doing, including some I've recently tackled in my own home.
The Silent Importance of Home Maintenance
At its core, regular home maintenance is akin to regular health check-ups. We might not notice the immediate benefits, but over time, they ensure that our space remains our sanctuary. A well-maintained home can:
- Preserve or Increase Resale Value: Potential buyers can be discerning, and a home showing signs of neglect can translate to lower offers or even no offers at all.
- Save Future Costs: Addressing small issues now, such as fallen branches or a blocked gutter, can prevent expensive problems down the line.
- Enhance Peace of Mind: There's an underlying psychological benefit. A home in order evokes feelings of safety, control, and well-being, creating a nurturing environment for our personal wellbeing.
Recent Projects from My Home
- Fallen Branches: Fallen branches can damage the property, cause bodily injuries or even death, become fire hazards, or obstruct pathways. Clearing them ensures safety and improves the home's curb appeal. With the record rain we had earlier this year, many trees are overgrown and it’s important to inspect your trees this year before the next storm hits.
- Defrosting the Freezer: It's not just about creating space for more frozen treats! Regular defrosting can improve your freezer's efficiency, extend its life, and prevent potential malfunctions. We all know what a hassle it is when a refrigerator or a freezer stops working unexpectedly. It can result in a wet, moldy mess on top of the monetary loss on all the spoiled food. Use this trick to monitor the status of your freezer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSvqkVzFpGU
- Power Washing: Easily lift a year's worth of dirt and grime from your driveway with a good power washing session. This not only rejuvenates the look of your property but also reduces wear and tear.
- Cleaning the Gutters: Gutters clogged with leaves and debris can lead to water damage in your home. Cleaning them annually, especially before the rainy season, can save you from potential headaches and costly repairs. Make sure you drain the downspouts away from the foundation. You can easily buy a downspout extension at any hardware store. Moisture near the foundation is a major cause of foundation cracks and they are costly to repair!
- Garbage Disposal and Dryer Vent Maintenance: These are areas where minor issues can quickly escalate. Cleaning the garbage disposal prevents foul odors, leaks and ensures efficient operation. Meanwhile, removing lint from the dryer vent decreases fire risks and boosts the efficiency and the life of your dryer.
Other Essential Annual Maintenance Tasks for Every Homeowner
- Inspect roof: Check for any damages or missing shingles, especially after heavy storms.
- Inspect water heaters, furnace and A/C: Perform regular maintenance checks to these appliances can extend their life and efficiency of the units and reduce the chances of emergency repairs.
- Clean and seal decks: Preserve the wood and keep it looking fresh and reduce pest and water damage.
- Check seals around sinks, bathtubs and toilets: Prevent water from leaking behind the walls and causing mold or fungus in the subarea. If there is an odor from the toilet or if the toilet is wobbly, check the wax right to see if it needs replacement.
- Check seals around windows and doors: Ensure no water or air leaks to reduce energy cost for the home.
- Change batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: Make sure they are in good working orders because they save lives!
- Check the expiration date of the fire extinguisher: Make sure the fire extinguisher is easily accessible and you know how to operate it. I have a fire blanket handy near my stove as well.
- Check the content in your fire-proof safe: It is a good idea to have a fire-proof safe for your home and in case of a fire. I have one that is the size of a small briefcase and I have some emergency cash, important documents, and even phone chargers in there. In case of fire, I know what to grab and I want to make sure I have the essentials I need for an emergency.
Maintenance might not be the glamorous side of homeownership, but it's the backbone that supports the life and memories we build within our homes. Being a homeowner and a real estate agent in Silicon Valley, I learned that a well-maintained home is critical to both the physical and mental health of the occupants. The financial and psychological reward we get from a well-kept, uncluttered, and clean home far outweighs the cost and the effort if we make home maintenance a priority. So embrace these tasks, not as burdens, but as rituals. Rituals that resonate with care, foresight, and love. After all, a house is made of walls and beams; a home is made of love and dreams—and a touch of maintenance.