7 Essential Home Maintenance Projects for Homeowners

As a homeowner, you’ll need to perform some household maintenance tasks on your own that you didn’t have to worry about as an apartment tenant. Things like cleaning your air filters can help reduce energy bills and prevent dust build-up, and checking and testing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are essential safety tasks.

1. Clean Your Gutters

Gutters play a critical role in protecting your roof, walls and foundation from water damage. When they become clogged with leaves, pine needles and other debris, they can’t channel rainwater away from your house properly, leading to expensive problems down the road.

Not only are dirty gutters unsightly, they can also stain siding and deteriorate the appearance of roofing shingles. Clean your gutters regularly to prevent expensive problems in the future.

2. Check the Roof

Your roof is your home’s first line of defense against extreme weather, snow, and high winds. Many homeowners neglect their roof until they notice water spots in the ceiling, but a quick inspection can avoid costly repairs.

Often, a visual inspection from the ground or with binoculars is enough to identify any issues. If you do decide to climb the ladder, make sure you have an able-bodied person holding the ladder and always use caution.

Proactive maintenance is not always fun, but it’s a lot less stressful than dealing with expensive repair bills. In fact, a recent study by the home insurance group Hippo found that 78% of homeowners have experienced buyer’s remorse due to unexpected repair costs.

3. Check Your Gutters for Leaks

It may be a pain to climb up on a ladder and clean out your gutters, but it’s a chore you can’t afford to ignore. Leaky gutters can cause flooding, water damage to your walls and foundation, and even mold growth.

Once your gutters are free of debris, test for leaks by putting your garden hose in the gutter and turning it on. If the water flows towards the downpipes without leaking, you’re good to go.

If not, check for cracks, holes or loose fasteners. Replace any damaged gutter sections as soon as possible to prevent more costly repairs in the future. Check to see if your home buyers warranty covers any plumbing issues that can reduce the cost of repair for yourself.

4. Change Your Air Filter

New homeowners should have a home maintenance checklist to ensure they get all the basics done. This includes checking for rips in your screens and replacing your air filter on a monthly, seasonal basis.

It only takes a few minutes to replace an air filter, but it can save homeowners money on energy bills and reduce the risk of allergies or respiratory issues for their family members. Look for a filter size on the frame of your current air filter or consult the manual to find out what size to buy.

5. Change Your Light Bulbs

Changing a light bulb is one of the most commonly performed home electrical projects, yet many homeowners lack the proper skills to tackle this task. Taking the time to learn how to change your own light bulbs can save you money and ensure that your living spaces are well-lit.

Before you start working, double-check that the power supply is completely turned off by using a non-contact voltage tester to make sure that there are no live wires connecting to your fixture. Also, remember to dispose of old bulbs responsibly.

6. Change Your Door Locks

Changing your door locks is one of the most important home maintenance tasks that homeowners can do to keep their homes safe. It is also a project that can easily be done by the homeowner with some basic tools and a bit of DIY skill.

The first step is to choose a new lock that fits with your aesthetic preferences. You should also be sure to select a lock that is high quality and offers the security you want for your home.

If you notice that your locks are starting to malfunction, it is a sign that they need to be replaced. Don’t wait until the problem escalates.

7. Check Your Electrical Outlets

Electrical wiring runs through the walls and floors of your home to power lights, outlets, appliances and other features. Faulty wiring can cause fires and serious damage if it’s not fixed.

Locate the breaker panel, which is usually located in the basement or utility room. Open the panel door and see if any breakers are flipped to the “off” side. If they are, switch them to the “on” side.

Check your outlets using a voltage meter. Make sure you hold the black and red probes of the meter in the same hand to avoid getting shocked.