While I probably know more than the average homeowner about how to maintain my home (thanks to tagging along on 100’s of home inspections), when life gets busy, it’s easy to neglect the little things. For better or worse, my home will never complain or cry when I neglect it, and besides that flashing reminder on my thermostat telling me to replace the furnace filter, my house doesn’t remind me to care for it until it’s too late.
For the most part, our homes can take a little tough love, but there are some things that definitely shouldn’t be pushed off for that mythical day when life simply becomes less busy. Out of the most common things I see homeowners do again and again, here are four bad homeowner habits to break once and for all:
- Gutter Negligence. You’re asking for trouble when you ignore your gutters, downspouts & grading. Many home inspectors will tell you that 90% of basement water issues are caused from dysfunctional gutters or downspouts (like a clogged gutter or a downspout that has fallen off). Also, when the grading around your foundation isn’t built up to slope away from your house, it’s practically inevitable that some of that water is going to make it’s way into your basement during a heavy downpour.
- Feed Your Water Softener. We recently bought a property with a 2 year old, fancy hot water heater - cool! So not cool when we heard it actually perform (after closing, of course) it sounded like a rock tumbler. Upon closer inspection, it appeared that the previous owner went long stretches without putting salt in the water softener, which allowed all kinds of mineral buildup to occur in the hot water heater. Luckily, after a few intense flushes (the first requiring a plumber’s attention) we were able to save the hot water heater, but had it went a few more months, we would have been replacing that sucker.
- Fireplace Maintenance. Don’t forget to clean, inspect and maintain your wood burning fireplace and chimney. I would say 6 out of the 10 wood burning fireplaces & chimneys we’ve had inspected during our clients’ purchase process need repair or need to be cleaned- sometimes, these are chimneys and fireplaces that are actually not safe to use! Whether it’s disintegrating mortar, cracked tiles, brick or a creosote build-up, maintaining your chimney is crucial in maintaining the integrity of your home and keeping your family safe. Northwestern Chimney suggests cleaning your WBF & chimney annually. They have a ton of great info here, too!
- Change Your Filters. Not changing furnace filters often enough, or putting the filter in backwards. This almost always comes up during home inspections. People, PLEASE, for the love of your furnace, health and safety, change your filter! Dirty filters can lower the energy efficiency of your furnace, cause it to overheat, shut off, wear out prematurely or even catch on fire. It’s also not a bad idea to do a regular clean and check on your furnace if it’s 6 years or older- regular clean and checks can prolong the life of your furnace, help you avoid costly repairs or premature replacement, plus, when you go to sell, it gives buyers a piece of mind when they see that you are proactive in caring for your home. I really like Warren Heating Cooling for all things furnace & AC related (I always ask for Jason- he’s my favorite tech!) and Alise has been very pleased with Harker Heating & Cooling. Both are locally owned.
If you’re ready to take action, but you don’t know who to call, give us a shout and we can connect you with professionals that can tackle your nagging home maintenance items. Likewise, if you’ve got any additional “bad homeowner habits” to avoid, we’d love to hear about them!