You just purchased a home. This is exciting. Just wondering, do you know how to take care of it? Don’t worry. I got this, and it starts right now.
Hi, I’m Warren Oberholser. I’m a realtor in the East Bay Tri-Valley area in Northern California. My goal is to help both buyers and sellers get maximum results for one of their biggest investments, their home.
First of all, congratulations on purchasing your home. For most of us, this is one of the biggest investments we’ll ever make. Therefore, it’s crucial that you keep your home in good order. Now, why is this important? Because you have no idea how to keep your home in good order, and then it’s going to crumble away and you are already in debt. So you want to make sure… Okay, okay. I’m just kidding. But you do want to know how to maintain your home so it does stay in good order and you don’t have to be stuck with costly repairs down the road.
Now, before we begin, I want you to know that most of these things you can do. It’s very straightforward. Whether you’re a first home time buyer, or this is your sixth or seventh house, these are simple things to do such as just changing out batteries in a smoke or CO detector, or replacing or cleaning filters. However, when it comes to servicing a unit such as your HVAC system for the heating and air conditioning or performing a minor repair, it’s always a good idea to hire a professional. You can hire a handyman to do a lot of these simple tasks. However, it’s important to verify that they are qualified to handle the type of service that you need.
Okay, now we’re going to start with the exterior of your house. What I want you to do is walk around your house and look at anything that rubs or touches up against your house. It’s recommended that you trim back any tree branches that hang over your home and especially if they are in contact with your home. Now, there are several reasons why this is important. With a storm, especially with a lot of wind, the tree branches can actually rub up against your house and damage it.
Now, there’s a few other reasons why this is important. One is, you don’t want things to drop into your roof gutter because that’ll clog it up. The second thing is, is anything that’s like a tree branch that goes to the top of your roof, that actually acts as a bridge. And so any animal, varmint or whatever is up there, even a cat can have access now to your roof. And the last thing is, is that when things are touching your house, over time, it actually can cause water to damage the area and you can get wood rot and you can also get some kind of fungus. So again, trim these things back. It keeps everything healthy and it actually makes it look better too.
Now, twice a year, I’m going to recommend that you clean those gutters. The best time, of course, is in the fall before the rain season occurs. But I would also do it when the rain season is over with. Remove all debris in the gutters to prevent rainwater from backing up and overflowing. Clogged gutters can be a cause of roof damage and create leaks. Now, let’s go inside your house and let’s look around everywhere.
Is your house clean or is it messy? Believe it or not, one of the first things you can do for maintenance is just clean your house regularly. And the reason why is dust and dirt is not only unsightly, but they can cause damage to finishes on cabinets, countertops, floors, sinks, tubs, toilets, tiles, in any part in the house where dust can collect. Dust also affects the function of your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, so it’s good to clean those regularly.
Now, speaking of smoke or CO detector, if your particular units require batteries, it’s best to change those twice a year. All right, you’ve already changed your batteries twice a year, now you’re going to go look at weather stripping. Weatherstripping is around the windows and it’s around your doors. Check the weather
stripping, replace and repair all worn areas. This can lead to moisture getting in and creating damage such as wood rot and mold. Seal drafty doors and windows. This will eliminate moisture and help you keep your utility bills down. Now, before you leave your windows, look at the screens.
Window screens should also be checked for tears, and of course, if there’s excess dirt, they should be cleaned.
All right, now let’s look at the HVAC system, the heater, air conditioning. Change or clean your filters regularly. Make sure you check any filters for your heater and air conditioning system. Furnace, swamp fans, whole house fans and air conditioners should all be serviced regularly to make sure they’re operating correctly. Most of these units will need some kind of thorough cleaning. This not only improves the life of the unit, but can aid in keeping down your utility bills.
Now let’s look at your hot water heater or tankless hot water heater. They should be inspected for leaks and have service maintenance performed as well. Washing machine, dishwasher and refrigerator. What do these three items have in common? Well, it’s a hose. These items all have some kind of hose and it needs to be inspected for any kind of leaks, especially if you have an ice maker in your refrigerator.
After you’ve checked the refrigerator hose, I want you to open up those doors on both the refrigerator and the freezer. Check to see, does it have a nice firm contact or does it feel like it just opens up or it doesn’t shut and seal correctly? If so, the gasket going around needs to be cleaned. Do that first. If it doesn’t seal correctly, and it should be firm, it should have a nice contact when you close it, then you should have that replaced. And of course, the reason why is that means your refrigerator and freezer is going to have a hard time maintaining the proper temperature. Also, you may think you close the refrigerator and it could be left open because the gasket isn’t working correctly.
Now, after you check that door seal, what I want you to do is pull that refrigerator out, turn it around, or get behind it somehow and look at the coils. Are they nice and clean?
They probably aren’t. They’ve probably got dust back in there. Again, dust. We want to clean that dust, get it out of there so that they work efficiently. The dryer hose and the vent. Make sure there’s no dust or lint that’s clogged up in the area. This can lead to poor machine operation and possibly fires. And any kind of gas appliance you have, whether it’s a stove oven, et cetera, make sure the hose and its connections are in good order. And of course, there’s no gas leaks.
If you need to, a lot of times utility companies can come out. It’s a free service, and check something if you think there’s a problem. In the bathrooms, make sure all faucets, sinks and toilets are functioning correctly and verify there’s no leaks. Now let’s go to the fireplace. If you’ve got a wood-burning fireplace, make sure you clean it regularly before you use it because it works more efficiently. And, once a year, have somebody come out, clean the chimney, inspect everything, make sure all the bricks are in good order, the grout. Whatever it is, however your fireplace is constructed, make sure it’s operating correctly.
I hope you enjoy this article. Please email me any questions you may have. [email protected]
About Warren Oberholser:
Hello…I work with both buyers and sellers in the Tri-Valley area of Northern California. The Tri-Valley is comprised of 6 cities: Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin, San Ramon, Danville, and Alamo. To better understand what each city has to offer, I have created a Pros and Cons video and BLOG for each – (Pros & Cons for Pleasanton, Pros & Cons for Livermore, Pros & Cons for Dublin, Pros & Cons for San Ramon, Pros & Cons for Danville and Pros & Cons for Alamo). If you are thinking about purchasing or selling a home, please reach out to me by text, phone, or email. If it is convenient, I can schedule a Zoom chat so we can discuss your home goals. Wishing you all the best on your home journey. Cheers!
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