Buying a home is one of the biggest commitments you will make in your life. Just like personal relationships, your home deserves an investment of time and work on your part to keep it in running order. But it always pays off. Keeping up with your home helps you avoid costly repairs down the road and creates meaning and satisfaction between you and your humble abode. Take a look at these 10 habits for healthy homeownership:
1. Change filters. Whether it’s your air conditioner, furnace, or drinking water faucet, make sure you are changing all your filters according to recommendations. This will keep the dust, germs, and other micro-offenders in your home to a minimum and will also improve energy efficiency.
2. Stay organized. Before you buy anything new, decide what to get rid of first. Our homes often become storage units for things we don’t need, complicating our lives and cluttering what could be a beautiful space. Give yourself and your home breathing room.
3. Save energy. In addition to changing filters, you should always keep an eye on your energy output and look for ways to reduce it. This includes little things like swapping incandescent bulbs for CFLs or LEDs, regularly scheduled things like maintaining the HVAC system, and bigger things like installing new appliances. Every homeowner can take small steps each day to reduce energy use and save on utility costs.
4. Conserve water. There are many homeowner upgrades that can help conserve the amount of water in use—like energy-efficient toilets or faucets. Check regularly under cabinets to ensure no pipes are leaking and teach your children to only keep the faucet on when the water is being used.
5. Make renovations. Wear and tear on a home is inevitable. To keep your home looking its best, renovations should be a consistent task on every homeowner’s list, from small paint touchups to whole room additions. Make a priority list of areas of your home you’d like to change or update and then start marking them off one by one.
6. Clean gutters. Just because you cannot see the leaves and sticks in your gutters does not mean they are not there. One of the most common causes of basement flooding is overstuffed gutters that prevent rainwater from properly leaving the rooftop. Make a habit to sweep out your gutters once every month—perhaps more in the autumn and winter.
7. Maintain curb appeal. The outside of your home is just an extension of your interior aesthetic, so keep it a priority. Trim hedges and bushes, pull weeds, keep grass trimmed, and consider hardscaping elements to make your yard look top-notch.
8. Check fire safety equipment. Check your smoke detectors every month and replace the batteries every six months, whether they seem to need it or not. Fire extinguishers are manufactured to last for 10 to 15 years, but a good way to determine if they need to be replaced is by making sure the gauge on the side is in the green. Always replace a fire extinguisher once it has been used.
9. Deep clean. Most homeowners do well with basic surface cleaning, but when was the last time you got on your hands and knees and scrubbed the floor boards? Dirt and germs can lurk behind your toilet, in the dust that settles in kitchen cabinets, and in drawers that haven’t been wiped clean in years. Try to pick an afternoon each month to dedicate to deep cleaning a specific room.
10. Make friends. Get to know your neighbors. They are extra sets of eyes that will notice if something is awry at your home, and vice versa.
How do you keep your home a safe and healthy place to live?