Homeownership can be a dream come true, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. At the same time, owning a home comes with certain responsibilities you may not have had during your time as a renter. From cleaning air filters regularly to knowing what is ok to put down a garbage disposal, there are certain things every homeowner should know. These homeownership tips and tricks will help you live more comfortably and avoid costly repairs down the line.
Make a homeowner’s journal. As the years roll by, you will want to keep a record of everything you do to maintain your home. Buy a folder or three ring binder to hold repair receipts, insurance papers, appliance manuals and any other paperwork pertaining to your home. Not only will this help you keep track of important expenses; it can provide valuable information for buyers if you ever decide to sell your house.
Clean out dryer ducts. When excess lint builds up in your dryer ducts, it can increase the risk of fire and poor air quality. That said, lint is just one of several things that can clog up your ducts. Stuck exhaust hood flappers and nesting pests can also cause problems. If you notice strange odors or longer drying times, try to vacuum your duct clean using a wet/dry vacuum, or see if you can force out clogs using a flexible rod available at most home improvement stores. If you don’t have success, call in a professional to get the job done right.
Don’t damage your disposal. While they may seem like powerful shredding machines, garbage disposals can actually be quite sensitive. Bones, eggshells, coffee grounds, fruit pits seeds and non-food items can all damage the blades. Fibrous foods such as celery, artichokes, asparagus, chard, kale, potato peelings, lettuce and onion skins can also entangle the blades causing the unit to jam. Liquid grease can be a problem, since it forms clogs once it solidifies. Pasta and rice can also form clogs, since they tend to expand once exposed to water. Avoid putting any of these items down your disposal to increase longevity and prevent breakdowns.
Seal gaps to increase energy efficiency. To keep your home comfortable and your utility bills manageable, make sure you secure your “building envelope.” This means closing any cracks or gaps that let cool air escape during the summer and warm air escape during the winter. If you notice any cracks or gaps around your windows or doors, seal them with weather-stripping or caulking. You should also caulk any cracks at the seam between your baseboards and walls.
Prioritize home maintenance. Regular repairs are a natural part of homeownership. If your roof starts leaking or your toilet backs up, you won’t be able to call your landlord. Make sure to regularly change your HVAC filters and inspect your roof shingles. Clean out your gutters and keep leaves and other debris away from your home to reduce the risk of pest infestation. If you aren’t sure what types of maintenance you should perform, consult our preventative home maintenance checklist.
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