It’s that time of year, homeowners: spring cleaning season! For many of us, it’s the perfect chance to catch up on all sorts of household chores and repairs that have been waiting all winter. Maybe you’ve put off fixing damaged fencing, or perhaps you’re waiting until the weather warms up to check your HVAC unit.
It’s unfortunately common to save repairs to the last minute. Consider yourself normal if you’ve neglected minor maintenance, as many homeowners fall behind the maintenance schedule at some point.
Whether it’s time to declutter, deep clean, or simply make the property look as beautiful as the day you bought it, April is when you need to “spring” into action to give your home some much-deserved love and care. But where is the best place to start?
It’s a question many people have, so we put together this article as a quick guide to spring household maintenance. Keeping the following tips in mind will make it easier to get back on track with home repairs before it’s too late to prepare for winter.
What Are the Most Important Household Maintenance Tasks?
Anytime you perform maintenance on a home, you’re doing yourself a service because your home is the most significant investment you’ll make in your life. Not only that, but some people only own one property in their lifetime, so it’s ordinary for first-time homeowners to learn the hard way that maintenance costs can add up quickly – and at the worst possible moments.
Nevertheless, you can use a few rules of thumb to estimate repair costs and minimize the price tag, but there’s nothing like learning from first-hand experience. You should set aside 1% of the home’s value for repairs at a bare minimum. If your home costs $250,000, expect to pay at the very least $2,500 or more for annual maintenance. That’s par for the course.
The challenge is anticipating which parts of the home will wear down before others. The last thing you want is to let a problem get to the point of no return and pay more to replace something that was a straightforward fix.
For example, if your home has shoddy electrical wiring because the previous homeowner did haphazard renovations, you have to address the problem today, or it’ll become a fire hazard.
That said, an essential spring household maintenance checklist should at least cover items like:
- Inspections on plumbing and drains
- Furnaces and A/C
- Laundry room
- Energy efficiency
Let’s go through each one to explain what we mean in greater detail, so you know what to expect.
Related: How to Save Money and Time on Home Maintenance
Plumbing and Drain Inspections
A proper spring household maintenance checklist starts with inspections of plumbing and drains, including the dishwasher and garbage disposal. But why? Why start with something that you usually have to call in a pro to check out?
The answer is that you can save money by eliminating simple issues like too much condensation gathering on pipes or semi-clogged disposal. Most people don’t need a repair specialist to unclog it, yet if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can accidentally make the problem worse or break something else.
The kitchen is the most accessible place to start checking the plumbing and drains. Eventually, you’ll move to the bathroom, but start in the kitchen and get it out of the way. When fixing a kitchen, it’s easy to overlook simple repairs like removing and cleaning out the faucet aerators. It’s also easy to tighten up the hinges on cabinets and pantry doors to get rid of those annoying creaks and squeaks.
You can also make a decent headway with a deep cleaning, but make sure you touch every surface, including any backsplash. If the backsplash is a darker color, we get used to the minor imperfections over time and don’t realize it’s grease and grime collected.
Next, it’s time to tackle bathroom maintenance. The bathroom is where many homeowners begin spring repairs, but if you handle the kitchen and the plumbing first, it’ll make bathroom maintenance much more manageable and less costly in the long run. The reason is that sinks and faucets essentially contain the same components, so you can pick up bathroom repair supplies in the same trip to the home improvement store, saving yourself some time that way.
Additionally, you can find quick wins by inspecting the toilet’s valves and perhaps adjusting the water level to maximize flush efficiency in a two-story home. If your bathroom has ceramic tile flooring, spring is a great time to clean it to see whether or not the tiles are chipped. Ultimately, maintaining a bathroom should be an easy job if you take your time.
Furnaces and A/C
The more expensive repairs in a home are water heaters, furnaces, and HVAC systems. If you live in a state with a hot, humid climate, you already know how vital it is to keep your AC in tip-top shape well before the temperature in Summer reaches triple digits.
Likewise, if you live in an area that receives wintry weather, you already understand why you need to make sure your furnace is running at max efficiency well before ice and snow start to settle. The catch is that these repairs may require a professional, or at the very least, they might require specialized knowledge to perform them safely.
For example, suppose some parts of your home feel warmer than others. It can be difficult for the average homeowner to pinpoint why exactly the vents are sending air at different temperatures to different parts of the house.
The same thing can apply to furnaces, so how do you manage both? Fortunately, the answer is usually to perform minimal repairs rather than wait until things break down completely, which we do not recommend. You always want to keep maintenance costs low in the home, and replacing furnaces and HVACs isn’t ideal. You may only need to reseal vents and ductwork to fix them.
When you check the laundry room, you should check the dryer vent hose because it’s common for lint and dust to collect in the tubing. Usually, you won’t be able to tell dryer vents are clogged unless you pay close attention to the temperature in the room. A dryer makes any laundry room warm, to begin with, so it’s pretty easy to overlook excessive heat coming from the back of the appliance.
Still, if you let the problem worsen, the dryer can break down or become a fire hazard, and you’ll need to either call in a repair specialist or buy an entirely new dryer. You’d be surprised by how many homeowners choose the latter option and not the former, which only makes repairs the most expensive.
Similarly, you need to check your appliances. When you inspect your kitchen, you can check those particular appliances, too, but it’s a great strategy to focus on other aspects aside from dishwashers, refrigerators, and microwaves. Those things should be easy to maintain, but don’t forget about other appliances in the home that need repairs.
We’ve already touched on the importance of furnace and HVAC maintenance, so remember to get those out of the way before you try to start maintaining appliances. Also, keep in mind that machines have different life spans too. A newer fridge won’t require as much maintenance, but that doesn’t mean those repairs won’t be expensive when they do come around.
The last thing we need to put on our list is energy efficiency. Once you get everything else in order in the home, you’ll have a better idea of where to invest for the future, and energy costs are a massive topic at the time of this writing. The exciting part is that energy efficiency goes hand-in-hand with how well your home’s windows and doors are sealed, especially if you live in a scorching climate.
When the home is not sealed correctly, or the sealant simply degrades over time, the HVAC system will have to work harder to maintain a consistent temperature, which can only lead to higher energy costs down the road. For instance, if you live along the Texas coast, you can expect to pay hundreds of dollars per month in energy bills if your home doesn’t keep cool air inside and the hot air outside.
Related: How To Create a Home Preventative Maintenance Schedule
A Bit of Advice
As you can see, maintaining a home requires a proactive strategy and a straightforward approach to keep pace. The alternative is that your home will start to look older faster, and in a worst-case scenario, the property can lose value on the market.
That alone is a great reason to stay on top of standard house repairs. Most homeowners immediately go to painting the exterior for more curb appeal, but what’s inside the house matters most when it comes time to sell.
The last thing you want is unforeseen issues like water damage that you didn’t even know was a problem. If a home suffers flood damage, it takes a thorough fix to eliminate all the mold collecting along the baseboards, but what about the insulation inside the wall? It’s wise to replace it; however, it’s yet another thing homeowners can overlook by going the DIY route.
We don’t recommend tackling it alone because there are many nuances to consider besides what needs fixing and what needs replacing. For instance, you may accidentally buy the wrong size sink aerators or inadvertently cause tearing in HVAC ductwork when you inspect it for holes. In situations like this, you need a plan to catch up and stay ahead with standard maintenance to save money.
Making Spring Household Maintenance Easier
The best way to make spring house repairs easier is to plan, which is much easier said than done in real life. After all, you have to know what’s most likely to break down in the home before you can make a viable maintenance schedule.
Otherwise, you’ll be shooting in the dark, guessing where you may or may not need repairs. Honestly, that’s the fastest way to pay too much for repairs because you don’t know what you’re doing.
If you’re in the learning stages and want to fix things on your own, there’s nothing wrong with that, but please, understand that you’ll ultimately pay more for ordinary repairs. Sure, it’ll be a fun learning experience, but at what cost?
Why overpay to fix a leaky faucet when you can hire a pro to do the job faster and at a better price point? Most homeowners go the DIY route to save money, but it can backfire in many ways.
As an alternative, more homeowners are turning to online home maintenance services to stay on track with house repairs. No matter which route you choose, the idea is that maintaining the home will be more affordable when you don’t wait until things wear down and malfunction completely.
You might not think so, but changing your HVAC air filter regularly can extend the entire system’s life. That’s only one example of what to look out for because most homeowners need a helping hand to stay ahead or get back on schedule with home repairs.
Ultimately, a preventative maintenance service with a home manager dedicated to monitoring your home’s maintenance is the simplest way to make this spring cleaning list more efficient and stress-free. Contact PreFix to learn what else you need to keep in mind.