First-Year Home Maintenance

You’ve moved into your newly built home. It smells new, looks new, and feels new. So, how do you keep it in the same condition as when you first moved in? One of the major benefits of a new-construction home is that it doesn’t require a lot of upkeep, especially if you have a maintenance schedule, which will help avoid issues and save money in the long run. This involves regularly checking on certain appliances, fixtures, and other items inside and outside of your home. Although your new house comes with a warranty, you can help extend the longevity of your home by completing some simple maintenance tasks.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the items you may want to include in your maintenance schedule as well as a few general rules of thumb when it comes to maintenance timing.

Let's start with the outside of your new home

Exterior: Every few months, walk around the perimeter of your house to make sure everything is functioning properly and that the elements haven’t caused any damage or problems such as soil erosion after a heavy rain event, says Camille Jenkins, Vice President of National Customer Relations for Meritage Homes. 

Gutters: Many gutters have guards to keep out debris such as leaves and twigs. But sometimes, things may still fall through. Make sure to clear your gutters of any debris—especially during the fall and winter.  In cold climates, inspect your gutters after snow or heavy rain to ensure they are clear of debris and that rainwater flows freely. Water that overflows from the gutters can fall along the foundation of the building, which can soften the soil under and around it and lead to serious issues. 

Sprinkler system: When it comes to sprinklers, there are a few things to keep an eye on. For instance, check that they’re not spraying onto your house or a gate when turned on. This can cause water damage over time. And, when it gets cold, check to see if the irrigation line or any sprinkler heads have cracked from the weather. In cold weather states, you need to drain the system, just like your garden hose, to ensure it does not crack. “If it does, it could cause quite the water bill from leaks,” says Jenkins.

Hose faucet: Turn the faucets, also known as bibs or spigots, on and off to make sure they’re not leaking. If you live in a cold weather state, disconnect, drain, and put away your garden hose before temperatures start to drop. Also, before the winter season, turn off the bib’s indoor valve. Turn the handles to open the hose bibs and let the water in the pipes drain so no water freezes inside them. It’s best to keep the outdoor faucets in the “on” position during winter so that if the inside valve leaks, the water won’t freeze in the spigot.

 

Now we can move to the inside of your home

Filters: Check your HVAC system and furnace filters monthly and change them as needed. This will help extend furnace life, reduce energy bills, and help your HVAC system run more efficiently. It also improves indoor air quality. Additionally, you should clean or change the kitchen vent hood filter to help avoid grease buildup. “Try to change all the filters around the same time so it’s easier to remember. Maybe go online and have filters shipped out to you at a certain time as a reminder,” says Jenkins. Of course, how often you change or clean the filters depends on usage.

Clothes dryer exhaust duct: You may remove lint regularly from your dryer’s lint trap, but don’t neglect the area in and around the hole at the back of the dryer, leading to its exhaust duct. You should use the hose attachment of a vacuum cleaner or shop vac to clean that area at least once a year. You can also use the vacuum to remove lint from inside of the duct. 

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: Test your detectors every three months, says Jenkins. When you change the battery in one, change it in all of them and add that to your regular calendar so you can keep a schedule.

Appliances: Keep your appliances clean. This includes microwaves and ovens, where buildup can affect how well they work and how long they last. Make sure your appliances are being kept clean regularly and use the correct cleaning products to keep them in pristine condition.

 

This list covers general recommendations for your first-year home maintenance schedule. Homeowners should also check their homeowner manuals as well as their apliance manuals for manufacturer recommended maintenance for each appliance. A regular schedule of preventative home maintenance can help avoid bigger problems in the future. With a home-care routine, you'll keep your house feeling and looking new for as long as possible.

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