6 Basic Steps to Home Maintenance
By Barbara Pronin
Moving into your first home can be a proud and thrilling experience – and painting and decorating in your own time and your own style is certainly part of the thrill. But new homeowners may not think about maintenance until something clamors for attention.
To protect your investment, keep your home in good shape, and minimize emergency repair costs, a panel of home maintenance experts recommends the following:
Know the control points – Know the location of the main water valves and electrical circuit boxes. (The information may come in handy later.) Check your home and grounds regularly for water leaks, poor air flow, any signs of mold or mildew, or even peeling paint.
Take a class – Many home improvement stores, and some adult schools, offer free or low-cost classes in home maintenance. Having a check list will make it easier to stay in control, and knowing how to do basic fixes will save you money in the long run.
Assemble a tool kit – For small repairs and general maintenance, put together a basic tool kit. At minimum, you should have a hammer, screwdrivers, wrenches and pliers, as well as a utility knife, a retractable tape measure, a level, a small drill set and a roll of strong electrical or duct tape.
Keep a calendar – It will help you remember regular maintenance chores such as changing the batteries in your smoke detectors and/or changing furnace filters.
Have a maintenance fund – Nothing lasts forever, and that includes appliances like water heaters and furnaces as well as carpeting and furniture. You will sleep easier if you keep a savings account for emergencies and cosmetic repairs or replacements.
Know when to call in a pro - Electricians and plumbers contractors are licensed because they do potentially dangerous work. Don’t try to work on your furnace or clear out backed-up plumbing or re-wire a circuit by yourself. Call in a contractor or licensed handyman when needed.