The Homeownership Checklist: Maintenance Edition
All Habitat homeowners are responsible for maintaining their homes from the moment they take over ownership. But for first-time homeowners, this can involve an overwhelming number of tasks and new skills. We’ve created this monthly checklist to help first-time homeowners break down what they need to keep up with to properly care for their new home!
There are many tasks that you’ll need to complete on a monthly basis to properly care for your home. Doing these routinely can help you catch small repairs and problems before they become more damaging and costly.
- Check your HVAC system filters
Clean or replace your filters when they’re visibly dirty. Depending on if you have pets or children, this could be every 30 days or every few months. It may also vary seasonally with pollen and air pollution, so be sure to keep it on your monthly rotation.
- Look for leaks around toilets and sinks
Any time you see standing water in your house, it’s a cause for concern. Nothing can cause as much damage as quickly as an unseen or un-repaired leak. Even just a drip in the faucet can cost you hundreds of extra dollars in water bills. Call a plumber or watch a How-To video if you want to learn how to fix minor leaks yourself. For anything involving major tools or machinery, call the professionals to avoid making the issue worse.
- Inspect your grout and caulking
Grout and caulk is the stuff that shows up white or clear between tiles and in the seams of your shower or around your sink. Grout and caulk keep moisture from leaking into the walls and floor of your home and keeps your tile looking nice. If you notice any cracks or gaps, you should fill them with the same type of product to prevent seeping water damage.
- Clean faucet aerators and showerheads
This removes mineral deposits and ensures that your water pressure stays at a safe and comfortable level.
- Check your kitchen vent hood filter
This is very similar to your HVAC filters. Just check in every month and if it looks dirty, clean or replace. This will help reduce smoke while you’re cooking and keep your home smelling fresh.
- Vacuum heat vents and registers
You need to vacuum the little vent openings on your floor or in the wall once a month to ensure that they don’t get clogged. Clogged vents can put pressure on your HVAC system and cause your utility bills to skyrocket.
- Test your smoke and carbon dioxide detectors
Test your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors every month for safety purposes. You should also change the batteries every six months to ensure they never run out of power when you need them most!
- Walk around outside and look for anything unusual
This is pretty general, but having a base familiarity with the outside of your home can help you catch weird issues, new cracks, or sudden changes that could indicate a problem with your foundation, gutters, or vents. Watch for unusual cracks, unevenness, discolorations, or drips and have them checked out as soon as you notice them.