7 Essential Home Maintenance Projects for Homeowners
Homeownership comes with a variety of responsibilities that can quickly add up.
23:40 25 September 2023
Homeownership comes with a variety of responsibilities that can quickly add up. Rather than waiting until a problem arises, it’s wise to complete regular chores throughout the year to prevent costly repairs in the future. If needed, look into the best home warranty in California to explore your options if there is ever a need for appliance and home service replacements.
The earlier you catch a problem like a leaky roof or rotted wood, the easier and cheaper it will be to fix. Use this checklist to track annual or monthly tasks and keep your home in peak condition.
- Clean Your Gutters
Being a homeowner is an expensive proposition, and home maintenance can add up too. But there are several small tasks that, if done regularly, can prevent bigger problems down the road.
Gutters that are clogged will overflow and cause water damage to the roof and foundation of your house. It’s also a bad idea to leave them alone because that provides an attractive nesting spot for rodents and other pests.
Cleaning your gutters is an easy job, if you know how to do it. You’ll need a ladder, a hose with a sprayer or high-pressure nozzle and protective gloves.
- Change Your Furnace Filter
A clean filter keeps your blower motor running efficiently and catches debris that would otherwise clog the system. It also helps purify air inside the house and minimizes dust accumulation.
Changing your furnace filter is a quick, easy DIY project that doesn’t require any special tools. Just locate the blower compartment door or duct-mounted access panel, remove the existing filter and install the new one. Be sure to install the new filter with the arrows on the filter frame pointing in the same direction as your ductwork, indicating air flow.
- Install a Rain Barrel
Collecting rainwater reduces stormwater runoff, which can carry oil, sediment, nutrients and bacteria to city drains and streams. It also saves on City water costs for lawns and gardens.
Choose a spot for the barrel that is level and slightly elevated. At full capacity, the barrel can weigh a lot and will tip more easily on uneven ground.
Place a footing of gravel or sand under the downspout elbow that will connect to your barrel. Cut the downspout to fit the barrel opening and install an overflow fitting and hose long enough to drain excess rainwater away from the house foundation or into another barrel.
- Change Your Light Bulbs
Light bulbs don’t last forever, and they’re a common source of frustration for homeowners. First and foremost, it’s important to turn off the power to the fixture before attempting to change the bulb. Use a ladder or secure platform for this, and always be careful when changing high-up fixtures.
Make sure to select a light bulb that is compatible with your fixture—not only in terms of wattage but also shape and design. For example, a fluorescent tube is not compatible with a standard incandescent bulb. Also, be sure to dispose of the old bulb properly.
- Change Your Door Locks
Home maintenance tasks may not be fun, but completing them regularly can save you time and money in the long run. Many of these chores are also preventive and can help you avoid costly repairs in the future.
When installing your new lock, make sure to select the correct backset setting. This will determine if the deadbolt locks from the inside or outside of the door. The existing latch should provide a clue as to which setting you need.
Changing your locks is an easy DIY project that can be done in less than 30 minutes. This is a great task to tackle first after moving into your new home or when you need to replace an old lock.
- Remove a Broken Light Bulb
The first thing you’ll need to do is make sure the power is off. If the light is in a plug connected lamp simply unplug it; if it’s a hard-wired fixture, flip the breaker for that circuit off.
Put on some gloves and safety glasses (and a hat if you’re working overhead) and grab some needle-nose pliers. Slip them between the base of the bulb and socket, and twist to remove it.
If the bulb is particularly stuck, you can purchase a special broken bulb extractor at most hardware stores. But a little arts and crafts ingenuity can also come to the rescue.
- Clean Your Windows
Cleaning windows can be a pain, but it's one of the most important home maintenance projects you can do. It's also a great way to prevent expensive repairs down the road.
Jennings recommends using a natural solution for cleaning your windows such as distilled white vinegar or a pre-made window cleaner that contains oxalic acid like Zud or Bar Keepers Friend. Using a rag and solution, wipe windows from top to bottom.
If you need to reach high spots, use a ladder and a clean rag. Remember to clean
the screens inside and out as well.