Home maintenance can be an ongoing challenge for homeowners.
In this guide, we’re here to offer tips to help you change your perspective on home maintenance and ease some of the burden of constant upkeep. While you’ll find lists of must-do maintenance tasks in other guides, this one is dedicated to more universal tips:
Making a schedule for home maintenance (instead of relying on your memory)
Being proactive about maintenance (rather than getting complacent)
Maintaining a budget for upkeep (to prevent financial emergencies)
Staying on top of routine cleaning (to avoid unnecessary repairs)
Knowing when to call in reinforcements (instead of risking a DIY failure)
Let’s dive into some approaches to home maintenance that will help you tackle your task list.
#1 Make a Schedule
The reality is that most homeowners simply won’t remember to change their HVAC filters, test smoke alarms, or schedule a visit from a roof leak specialist for routine inspections without a reminder.
Using a calendar to manage routine home maintenance tasks can help you budget your time and remember to tackle items that typically slip your mind. Either type of calendar can help you manage upkeep:
Digital calendars – With your smartphone’s calendar, you can set alarms and reminders and easily schedule calendar events to repeat monthly, quarterly, or yearly.
Analog calendars – If you’re a paper calendar devotee, just use last year’s calendar to copy over important dates and tasks (like cleaning out your gutters) when the new year starts.
#2 Be Proactive
Proactivity is an excellent way to prevent unexpected repairs down the road. Pest control is a perfect example: While you might not think about it until you have an active problem (like an irritating scourge of indoor flies), taking steps to prevent pest infestations year-round can help you avoid issues.
Multiple facets of home maintenance can benefit from a proactive approach:
Plumbing and well systems – Scheduling city water and well inspections yearly can help you identify and correct issues before they lead to inconveniences.
Roofing – Cleaning your gutters and roof on a scheduled basis can help prevent leaks, stains, and product failures down the road.
HVAC – Homeowners can avoid long-term damage by using a shop vac to clear their A/C drains quarterly, remembering to replace their filters, and keeping up with furnace maintenance.
#3 Create a Maintenance Budget
Savings are crucial to paying for unexpected repairs and maintenance, even if you aren’t a first-time homebuyer. One of the best ways to prevent financial emergencies is to save for home upkeep.
While your personal budget approach will vary based on your maintenance needs, other living costs, and income, experts estimate that American homeowners spend between one and four percent of their home’s value annually on maintenance costs.
Here are a few approaches that might help you fill your emergency coffers:
Monthly payroll deductions – If you have disposable income, simply set up a recurring bank transfer the day your paycheck is deposited.
Save as you spend – For each purchase you make (online or in-store), consider depositing a small amount to your savings — perhaps by rounding up your purchase to the nearest dollar (or ten).
Leverage tax refunds – Whether you receive a tax refund check yearly or quarterly, consider depositing the proceeds from your tax return into your home maintenance savings account.
#4 Invest in Routine Cleaning
One proactive method that can help you prevent long-term damage is routine cleaning. While it might not seem like sweeping, mopping, and dusting will make a difference in your home maintenance plan:
Cleaning out the tracks of your windows and sliding glass doors regularly can help prevent debris buildup, stains, and rust.
Clearing your gutters can help avoid costly roof damage, stains, or leaks.
Scouring your toilet and wiping your countertops regularly can help you prevent stains or damage — damage that could eventually demand replacement.
Prevention is some of the best home maintenance medicine.
#5 Know When to Call in the Experts
Luckily, there are many home maintenance tasks that are simple to DIY: routine cleaning, repainting, and basic indoor pest control, for instance.
However, knowing when to call in professionals can improve maintenance outcomes and keep costs down in the long run. Here are a few tasks that are best left to licensed tradespeople:
Electrical work – Electrical inspections, repairs, and maintenance are key, but electrical work takes skill, knowledge, and a safe approach. Unless you’re a pro yourself, leave electrical work to the experts.
Roofing – Roofs pose fall hazards for untrained homeowners, and untrained eyes might miss critical signs of wear. Call in a roofer when it’s time to clean second-floor gutters or replace tiles.
Pest control – While setting a few ant baits indoors is as simple as a hardware store visit, preventing wood-destroying organism invasions and safely managing rodent infestations is best left to the pros — especially when dealing with pest poisons that could be harmful to humans or pets.
Home Maintenance: An Ongoing Priority
While home maintenance is a never-ending task, homeowners can leverage upkeep to prevent significant damage, improve the lifespan of their home, and maintain its value.
Homeowners can manage upkeep efficiently and effectively by making a schedule, taking a proactive approach, saving for maintenance, cleaning routinely, and trusting trained professionals when needed.