The Ins and Outs of Maintaining Your New Home

When you purchase your first home, it can be an exciting time for you and your family. While your thoughts may be consumed with what colors to paint the kids’ bedrooms, and whether to remodel the bathroom or put in new flooring, you should also think about the new maintenance tasks you will be responsible for.

Previously, you may have rented a home. Whenever an appliance repair was needed, or a stubborn clog needed to be cleared by a professional plumber, your landlord was the person responsible for taking care of the problem. He or she also likely handled scheduling maintenance to keep your systems working efficiently, and this included your air conditioner and furnace.

Now that you are a homeowner, however, those responsibilities fall on you. These can seem like overwhelming tasks, especially with all the other jobs that need to be tackled, such as updating the landscaping, power-washing the siding, cleaning the pool (if you’re lucky enough to have one), and so on.

We’ve put together a guide to help lessen the burden you may be facing now that you are the person in charge of keeping up with all aspects of your family’s new home.

Heating and cooling systems

Even if it seems like your furnace and air conditioner are working as expected, you may not know when the previous homeowner had the unit(s) inspected and cleaned by a professional. When you move in, schedule a maintenance tune-up with an experienced HVAC technician in your area.

During your tune-up, the technician will be sure that all components inside your heating and cooling systems are clean and working as efficiently as possible — regardless of what season it may be.

Additionally, the heating and cooling technician will make sure that both units are operating safely. This means that if you have a natural-gas furnace, he or she will test for dangerous natural gas or carbon monoxide leaks. These gas leaks could prove to be unsafe, and even deadly in some situations. Also, the technician will make sure that any wiring running to your furnace or air conditioning unit are in good condition without any fraying or damage that could potentially lead to a fire.

Important: If you smell natural gas in your home, leave immediately. Do not operate anything that could cause a spark, including lights, cell phones, flashlights, and appliances. From a safe location, call 911 and your local utility, which will dispatch a crew to check on the source of the odor and make the area safe.

As for maintenance work that the average homeowner can do on their own, we recommend swapping out your air filter monthly — more often if you have smokers or pets in your home. These things could cause your filter to get dirty more quickly than usual. Replace your filter often since all air passing through your ducts — whether it’s coming from the furnace or AC — will be passing through the filter. If it’s dirty and dusty, these contaminants will get passed along through the ductwork in your home — right along with the air from your AC or furnace. This could jeopardize the quality of your family’s indoor air.

When your heating and cooling systems are properly maintained after moving in, and each year going forward, you will have a comfortable home and systems that operate efficiently — something that should be reflected on your energy bills each month!

Plumbing lines

When it comes to your new home’s interior supply and drain lines, it’s important to get them inspected regularly by a professional. However, if you’re moving into a home that isn’t brand new, it’s also recommended for you to get your outside water and sewer service lines inspected by an expert in your area. He or she will be able to thoroughly examine these outdoor, underground lines with a camera to ensure that there aren’t any clogs, tree roots growing through the lines, or damaged areas that will need to be replaced (as can be the case with older homes that may have pipes composed of clay materials).

If a repair or replacement is needed, or if the lines need to be rodded to clear any clogs or blockages that could eventually lead to a serious issue, it’s recommended that you get it taken care of ASAP. You will know that there may be a problem with your home’s water or sewer lines if you notice any of the following: slow-moving drains, foul odors emitting from your shower/tub/sink/toilet, toilet water that swirls but doesn’t empty with each flush, or water or sewage pooling on your lawn in an area where water or sewer lines can be located underground.

To help ensure your pipes stay free from damage or clogs, be sure to never flush the following: dental floss, paper towels, diapers, baby wipes, flushable wipes (they aren’t really flushable), cigarette butts, cotton balls, cotton swabs, or old medication. Additionally, you should never wash the following down your sinks: cooking oils, grease, batter, eggshells, coffee grounds, or butter/margarine.

Kitchen and Laundry Room Appliances

Did you just buy new appliances for your home’s kitchen and laundry room? They may have included a new fridge, cooktop, stove, microwave, clothes washer and dryer, and so on. These were costly investments for you, so keep these appliances running as efficiently as possible so that they last for many more years to come.

For your refrigerator, check the door seals often to be sure that there aren’t areas where cool air is escaping. This could cause food spoilage issues, which can be frustrating and potentially even lead to a loved one getting sick. Also, regularly clean the fridge coils to be sure they aren’t full of dirt and dust. The coils are usually found either on the back or underneath the refrigerator. And one last thing — check to be sure that the temperature inside the main area and freezer portions of the fridge stay consistent. If you notice any issues, contact an appliance repair pro as soon as possible to get the problem taken care of before it gets worse.

For your cooktop, stove, and microwave, be sure to keep them clean. Wipe them off after each use — this can help reduce the time you need to deal with trying to get stubborn, stuck-on food stains removed. Also, if you notice any issue with one of these kitchen appliances, don’t try to tackle the repair on your own; it’s best to call in a professional.

For your washing machine, don’t overload it with clothes. That may throw it off balance, and it’s also likely that your clothes won’t get as clean as they should. For your clothes dryer, be sure to not overload it, either. Regularly clean out the lint trap, the hose, and the vent connecting your dryer to the exterior wall on your home. Failure to keep these areas lint-free could potentially lead to a fire. If you notice any issue with your clothes washer or dryer, contact an appliance repair expert for assistance.

Want some extra help with maintaining your new home?

Let us help! At Oncourse Home Solutions, we offer a variety of protection programs to help make owning a home much easier. We provide affordable Heating and Cooling Maintenance Plans, Outside Water and Outside Sewer Line Protection Plans, Plumbing Protection Plans, Laundry Room and Kitchen Appliance Plans, and much more.

Have questions about what’s covered or want more information about pricing and what’s available in your area? Visit us online and enter your ZIP code. Or call us anytime for more information, or you can also chat with a customer service representative by clicking the “Click to Chat” tab on the right side of the page during standard business hours.