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6 Chores New Homeowners Forget to Do

by Pierce Refrigeration

Posted on February 25, 2020 at 10:10 AM

Pierce Refrigeration provides a comprehensive maintenance list for new homeowners.

First time homebuyers often spend so much time and effort securing the financing and following through on all the legal matters of a real estate transaction, they often let some basic home maintenance chores slip by the wayside.

Here’s a list of the 6 Chores New Homeowners Forget to Do so you can keep them front of mind while you transition from renter to homeowner:

1. Clean the gutters.

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Your gutters should be cleaned four times a year, says the National Association of Realtors.

If your knees get weak looking at how high your gutters are, you should consider hiring professionals or installing a rain gutter guard. Clogged gutters can cause roof damage, attract pests, damage the fascia, crack the foundation, and rip the gutter brackets off the house under the excess weight. Also, in seasonally cold-climate areas like Massachusetts, clogged gutters can contribute to ice dams.

2. Tidy the yard.

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Unless you live in an area with a homeowners’ association, no one’s going to be looking over your shoulder to see if your grass is too long. However, you need to ask yourself, “Can a delivery person, first responder, or tradesperson access my home safely?” Walkways should be unobstructed by debris, including toys, furniture, leaves (slippery when wet or frozen), snow, and anything else. Bushes and trees should be trimmed away from the house to increase airflow and decrease mold and other damage.

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3. Vacuum the dryer vent.

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From 2010-2014, fire departments across the U.S. responded to an estimated yearly average of more than 16,000 home structure fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). On average each year, these fires caused 13 civilian deaths, 444 civilian injuries, and $238 million in direct property damage, says the NFPA. It’s not enough to just clean the lint filter. Vacuum the dryer vent pipe once a year to prevent fire, says the Massachusetts Association of Realtors. Your dryer will also run better and use less energy!

4. Check the furnace air filter each month.

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Your furnace works hardest during the winter, and HVAC experts recommend a monthly check-in on your furnace’s air filter. Clogged air filters make your furnace run harder than it should, which stresses the motor and leads to such costly repairs as a failed compressor. The best advice is to invest in a preventative maintenance plan. For a little money each year, you can have peace of mind your home heating system will run at its best.

Learn more about what to look for when hiring an HVAC contractor.

5. Inspect the sump pump.

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Check in on your sump pump at least once every 3 months to clean the inlet screen, recommends the Massachusetts Association of Realtors. Also, look for broken or missing parts, as well as failing pipes and connections. When you’re home, keep track of how often the sump pump turns on.

A continuously cycling sump pump could be a sign of a clogged, tangled, or disabled float switch; the sump pump is not big enough, the pit is too small; or there’s a broken or missing check valve. The sump pump should be professionally inspected immediately.

6. Ensure all plumbing is winterized.

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Before the first winter in your new home, find out where your plumbing runs. The main areas of your house should be fine. Take a close look at any three-season rooms, patios, garage apartments, she-sheds, and post-construction additions. If plumbing pipes are under-insulated, you may need to either drain the pipes in winter, add insulation, or keep those rooms heated with a mini-split. If you have an exterior faucet, always disconnect your garden hose from the outside faucet before the first freeze. Frozen water can expand inside the hose and burst your pipes.

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