Maintenance for Your New Home

It’s human nature. Once you’ve signed the closing documents and your new home is really yours, you’ll start thinking about what you want to do to improve it!

There’s that wallpaper that you can’t stand. And the carpet that really needs replacing. Before you drive yourself crazy running to Home Depot or Lowes, grab a fresh notepad and make a wish list. Invite each member of the family to add to their own page of “wishes” so you can prioritize them and address each one at the appropriate time.

Before you address changing the décor, here are ten maintenance items that should be done sooner, rather than later to avoid problems.  You can replace that ugly wallpaper later!

1. Clean Refrigerator Coils

Refrigerator condenser coils are located on the back of the fridge or across the bottom. When coils are clogged with dust, pet hair and cobwebs, they cannot efficiently release heat. This means your compressor works harder and longer than it was designed to, using more energy and shortening the life of your refrigerator. Clean the coils with a vacuum and a coil-cleaning brush, which is bendable to fit in tight areas.

2. Check the Dryer for Built-Up Lint

A clogged lint screen or dryer duct can drastically reduce the dryer’s efficiency. It can also use up to 30 percent more electricity, wasting money you might use towards another home improvement project.

3. Check your Furnace and HVAC Filters, Too

Just like in your dryer, only on a larger scale, a clogged filter makes your heating and cooling systems run less efficiently, wasting energy and money. A clogged filter traps harmful pollutants and allergens that affect interior air quality. Replace the filters if needed and mark your calendar to do this on a regular basis.

4. Re-caulk Your Windows

It is especially important in New England to minimize heat loss in the winter. Sealing the spaces around windows can help. The type of caulk you’ll need will depend on the type of windows you have. You’ll want a caulk with a joint movement capability of between 25 and 50 percent and a 20-year weather-seal warranty. Apply to clean and dry surfaces when outside air temperature falls within the suggested range on the caulk packaging.

5. Clean A/C Condensers and Evaporators

Turn off the electricity to the unit and vacuum the outdoor condenser exterior fins with a soft-bristled brush. Clear away bushes, weeds and overgrown grass within two feet of the unit. Replace the furnace filter on the evaporator unit, vacuum the blower compartment, and clean the condensation drain. If this is too much DIY for you, make an appointment with your HVAC company for an A/C tune up in April or May before the pre-summer rush.

6. Locate the Main Water Shutoff Valve

In the flurry of activity on moving in, you may not think to locate the main water shutoff valve. Important for obvious reasons, check it out before you need to shut off the water for any reason.  Usually you’ll find a main shutoff valve directly before the water meter and another after. You’ll see a gauge and a paper or vinyl tag that indicates the handle of the valve. Turn the handle perpendicular to the pipe to shut off the water.

7. Clean Gutters and Roof Valleys

Gutters with leaves and debris will prevent water from draining into the downspouts and can cause the gutters to freeze and become damaged. Water can back up and cause the roof to leak. Clean gutters by removing debris with a trowel or your gloved hands and then flush with water from a garden hose.

8. Check Smoke and CO Detectors and Replace, if Needed

Be sure you know where all the detectors are located and check them to be sure they are working properly. If needed, replace the batteries or the units themselves and mark your calendars to change the batteries every time you “Spring Ahead” or “Fall Back.”

9. Test Your Sump Pump

Before the beginning of the rainy season, pour water into your sump pump to make sure it works. The most common (and worst) time for a sump pump to fail is during the first heavy rainfall after months of not being used. Pour a bucket of water or two into the sump to make sure the pump kicks on.

10. Create a Homeowner’s Journal

Purchase an accordion file or a ring binder into which you can file insurance papers, repair receipts and documents relating to improvements and repairs you make. Storing all these household records in one place makes it easier for you to locate information when you need it.

If you have questions about moving or would like a no-obligation moving estimate, call Ayer Moving & Storage at 1-800-233-MOVE. W have experience moving across town or across the country or internationally. If you are just beginning to plan for your move, download a copy of the Ayer Moving & Storage guides.