What First-time Homeowners Need to Know About Home Maintenance

Buying your first home is an exciting experience, but it comes with its share of responsibility. When you rent a house, it's up to the landlord to maintain the property, but, as you buy your own home, maintenance becomes your burden. Taking care of your home is part budgeting for emergencies and part performing preventative maintenance to avoid those emergencies.

How Much Should You Save?

Before taking a look at the home features you should regularly check, it's essential to address the issue of your home budget. No matter how well you care for your home, emergencies will happen and, in some cases, you may suffer two or more home emergencies at once. If you don't prepare for these eventualities ahead of time, you may be forced to borrow the money you need, and that will upset your entire household budget.

So, how much money should you save each month? Finance experts recommend following the 1% rule, which means that you should be saving $4,000 annually for a $400,000 home. Alternatively, you should be saving $350 per month. If that seems like too much as you start, try saving 10% of your monthly payment. Add together your mortgage payment with the amount you save for taxes and insurance per month. This should come to about $200 per month, which is a little less but will still help you build up nice savings over time. Just remember this money is to strictly for household emergencies, an emergency fund.

Caring for Your New Home

Getting Your HVAC System Serviced

As soon as you move into your home, you should hire an HVAC service company to come in and evaluate your system. While you can check the filters yourself, an experienced technician can conduct a more through an evaluation. An evaluation will help determine if there are any problems with the HVAC system. After the review, you will have a chance to get the HVAC system repaired if it needs any fixes. Every fall and spring, you should invite your HVAC professional to come back and give your system a new check-up, so you can avoid failures when you rely on the system the most. If your system is more than 10 years old, you should consider getting it replaced.

Caulk Your Windows

Unless the previous homeowner did this just before putting the home on the market, your windows probably need to be recaulked. It's important to remember that caulk shifts about 25-50% over time, so recaulking is necessary from time to time. You can tell it's needed if you feel drafts coming from closed windows or see gaps around the frames. You can test this with matches smoke near window sills or wetting your hand then waving them around where the window meets the frame. Successful caulking requires a clean and dry surface, so run a damp cloth around the area first. Pay attention to the instructions on the packaging of the caulk. It will give you precise temperatures for applying the caulk to obtain the best results.

Checking the Sealant on Your Decks and Porches

There's a simple test you can conduct for checking the sealant on your exterior deck or porch. Spill a glass of water on the surface. If the water forms beads, this is an indication that the sealant is still active. If the water doesn't bead, the sealant is no longer repelling moisture; it would be absorbing it, which means it's time for a fresh coat.

Look for Peeling or Chipped Paint

You should occasionally walk around your new home to look for chipped or peeling paint. Think about giving your home a new coat of paint if things seem faded. As far as any decks or wood structures in your home, consider a fresh coat of lacker/paint. Sand the area down and give the wood a new coat of paint. A crisp coating will improve the appearance of your deck, but, more importantly, it will protect the wood against the forces of nature.

Caring for Your Roof

Another task you should conduct as soon as you move into your home and regularly throughout the life of your home is to clear out the gutters around your house. Also clear debris from any roof valleys that may seem obstructed. Even a small obstruction can allow water to gather and damage your roof. If you see broken or worn shingles, you may want to ask a roofing professional to evaluate the condition of your roof. You may be able to get away with just a minor repair if you catch a problem early enough.

Sealing Cracks in Cement and Asphalt

An area people don't think about too often is the floor and walls. More specifically, the grounds that surround your home and the walls of your home. You should tour the exterior of your property and your basement to identify cracks that need sealant. Letting minor cracks remain without repair will expose the cement or asphalt to moisture, which will seep into the cracks and allow it to expand if temperatures are cold.

For asphalt, you can buy a patching gun and asphalt caulk to seal up any cracks. Cement can quickly patch with a little cement mixture. If there are larger segments of cement in need of repair, call a professional contractor.

Checking the Bathtub and Toilet

Take a closer look at your bathroom to ensure the seals around the bathtub and toilet are still in good condition. If not, you may need to recaulk these areas as well. Letting this go will allow water to seep into your bathroom and get beneath and lift the flooring or tiles. This moisture is the perfect breeding ground for mold, which can cause a bigger maintenance problem and can create a health hazard.

As you become a more experienced homeowner, you may also notice other areas of your home that need regular attention. As long as you continue building your home maintenance fund, you should be prepared for most household emergencies. Often, these will be things that you can repair on your own. However, if you feel the task is too complicated for you to complete on your own, don't be afraid to call a professional. It will be cheaper than having to hire a professional to come in and repair your mistakes along with the original problem. Home maintenance is a learning process and one that you can master over time.

Plumbing, Heating, and Electrical

When it comes to the three things that cause homeowners headaches, plumbing, heating, and electrical, we've got you covered. We want to provide you with an immediate solution to your problem. Anderson Plumbing, Heating & Electric is a plumbing, HVAC, and electrical company in Demopolis that has been delivering reliable services for over 35 years.