Maintaining a home inside and out will help protect resale value and reduce the risk of expensive and preventable repairs. Speaking first-hand from both a general contractor's perspective who's repaired many preventable issues and a realtor who has shown and sold many properties, a small and consistent effort goes a long way. Frank Lesh, former president of the American Society of Home Inspectors, says it's the little things that tend to trip up people, like cracked caulk around the windows, or a furnace filter that hasn't been changed in a while. If water gets behind the caulk and into the sheathing, causing mold and rot, it's a $5,000 repair that could've been prevented with a $4 tube of caulk and a half hour of time. When a house is for sale and the professional home inspection report comes back, the truth about home maintenance efforts will be told. Dirty furnace filters, cracked caulking and water leaks are common finds and will cost home sellers in repair negotiations.
A previous article earlier this month covered the exterior maintenance checklist. Now to the interior of the home. Interior upkeep ensures your home is in good physical condition and helps to create a healthier environment. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans spend 87% of their time indoors—a huge reason to keep up on interior maintenance, for the health of the home, its systems and the entire family.
Some interior maintenance should be left to the pros, but a lot consists of simple cleaning and basic, DIY friendly tasks. The heating and cooling system should be professionally serviced and inspected at least once a year. HVAC air filters should be changed at least twice a year. Electric heaters, both wall and baseboard, and central air heat vents should be vacuumed out every few months. Once a year, take time to remove the lint from out of the dryer vent, refrigerator coils and bathroom vent fans, all of which have a tendency to have build-up that will prevent proper operation. Inspect caulking in the kitchen and bathrooms—the wet areas. Unclog drains and check under all of your sinks and around toilets for leaks. A piece of paper towel can help identify water that seems invisible. Inspect weatherstripping on all of the doors and windows. A candle or an incense stick will show you where air is flooding in. This particular task will help seal the home envelope and help with heating and cooling costs and will reduce the amount of air pollutants coming in. Make sure to hire a chimney sweep yearly to clean the wood stove or fireplace. Lubricate doors, windows and garage doors and springs so they continue to perform well and close easily.
Stay organized by keeping a detailed record of all of the upgrades and maintenance performed. There are plenty of useful apps and software, such as Home Binder, that help track home improvement projects and provide maintenance reminders.