• 11 Home Maintenance Tips for New Home Buyers

    Young Couple carrying boxes, with excited look moving into their new home.

    When it comes to owning a home, regular maintenance is a must! For most people owning a house is the largest financial investment they will ever make. Timely maintenance helps ensure a home’s value increases over time. Buyers can expect improved return on investment simply by making home maintenance a routine.

    Chances are good that the home inspection professional that buyers used to facilitate their purchase will be happy to serve as a resource on a home’s condition and systems even after move-in.

    For many new owners, suddenly needing to be mindful of household maintenance is also new. Understandably, it can be pretty overwhelming to consider the list of tasks that will require time and attention.

    But smart buyers know ongoing upkeep can prevent major hassles and unexpected bills down the road. Making a new home safer and more efficient is made easier and cheaper with these home maintenance tips:

    1.  Check the Doors:

    Keeping a home safe begins at the entrance, so install new locks on all exterior doors. Or, at minimum, have the existing ones rekeyed. Also, check all of them for drafts.  Replacing old weather-stripping or adding new ones will keep drafts to a minimum. It’s estimated that 80% of heat loss occurs because of cracks in a home. Sealing them will really help with energy bills.

    2.  Inspect the Windows:

    A professional home inspection prior to purchase would have included checking for water penetration around the windows. Assuming this was not flagged as an issue, the homeowners should check for signs damage annually thereafter. Since caulk degrades over time, resealing the spaces around windows is a must. Aim to do so at summer’s end when the weather is still dry.

    3.  Service the Furnace/HVAC:

    Furnace/cooling equipment should be professionally cleaned and serviced annually. Doing so will extend the life of the units. Within a month of move-in and then on an ongoing basis, check/replace the furnace’s filter. Consult the manual or manufacturer’s website for the recommendation as to how often.

    Test Safety Devices:

    A home’s safety devices save lives in an emergency. Regularly examine and test to ensure the home’s smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are not expired, operative, and installed in compliance with applicable local ordinances. A faulty device can expose a homeowner to liability or much worse. Remember to check:

    4. Smoke detectors;

    Follow the manufacturer’s directions and test the devices monthly to make sure they are working. Vacuum the exterior monthly. Change the batteries every six months if they aren’t hard-wired.

    5.  Carbon monoxide detectors;

    This deadly, colorless and odorless gas can’t be detected unaided. Install and then regularly test detection devices. At minimum, have one on every floor of the home.

    6.  Fire extinguishers;

    Have at least one on hand. Fire extinguishers have an expiration date. Check that the unit is current. If not replace it as soon as possible.

    Monitor for Moisture:

    Water can be incredibly destructive for a home. Perform regular sweeps to detect water damage and avoid the problematic mold and rot that it causes.

    7. Crawl space/basement and attic;

    Every fall before the space is subjected to wet weather, get into the crawl space and use a flashlight for a careful look.  Examine the basement too. Then visit the attic. Dampness and/or changes in color indicate a problem. If you spot water in any area, call a professional home inspector. These experienced pros can definitively determine what’s causing the problem.

    8.  Wooden deck;

    Decks should be sealed and stained to prevent water damage and rot. Perform a splash test at the beginning of the summer season. The water will bead if the seal is still functional. Plan to reseal every two to three years.

    9. Clogged gutters or roof valleys;

    Either can allow water to enter the home, via the crawl space, foundation or even the roof.  At the beginning of fall, remove any debris from gutters. Flush with a hose to dislodge hidden clogs. Remove any debris on the roof by hand. Examine the flashing for rust or holes. Hire a professional if you have any concerns with heights.

    Manage Fire Hazards

    10.  Wood-burning Fireplaces:

    Creosote is a dangerous and highly flammable byproduct of burning wood. If allowed to build up in fireplaces and chimneys, it becomes a serious fire hazard. Any build-up also elevates the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. This is job a for professionals who are trained in the use of specialized equipment. Schedule an inspection every fall before fireplace is in regular use.

    11. The Dryer Vent:

    Lint can clog up your dryer and prevent it from working efficiently. But worse, the combination of heat and accumulated dryer lint and dust is a definite fire hazard. Hence the part of the dryer that vents to the outside of the home should be cleaned annually. The lint trap should be wiped clean after each load.

    How Can We Help

    O’Brien Home Inspections is an established residential inspection company located in London, Ontario. Mark O’Brien is the experienced owner/operator. Mark offers high-value inspections-he inspects every home as if it were his own-to clients in London, St. Thomas, Middlesex County, including Strathroy-Caradoc, Middlesex Centre, Thames Centre, North Middlesex, Southwest Middlesex, Lucan Biddulph and Adelaide Metcalfe.

    O’Brien Home Inspections partners with new home buyers throughout the purchase process. However, Mark is equally invested in serving as knowledgeable resource for his clients beyond their closing date. Totally committed to exceeding client expectations, O’Brien Home Inspections delivers — and builds upon — a quality experience for its home buyers.

    O’Brien Home Inspections

    Quality Home Inspections for London, St. Thomas and Middlesex County

    Book your inspection online, or call 226-998-5821 or book online today.