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February 19, 2019

10 Tips for Maintaining Your New Home

Congratulations on your new home! At Ernest Homes, we know how exciting it is to move into a house that’s never been lived in before – it’s a treat some people never get to experience in their lifetime. And like anything new, your new home needs some TLC to keep it looking its best. If you put together a plan for maintaining your home right at the start, you can fend off costly and inconvenient repairs later. Here’s some ideas for keeping your home looking great – both now and years from now! Commit to a regular maintenance schedule. Put together a list of maintenance activities covering both the interior and exterior of your home that will need to be done on a regular basis. Divide the list into weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual responsibilities. Assign activities to a certain family member, or make larger projects, like yard work or window washing, group projects. Although it may be tempting to skip tasks, trying to stay on track will be to your benefit in the long run. Deep clean your house twice per year. Spring cleaning isn’t just a saying, it’s a great idea. Rent a carpet shampooer, wash drapes, clean out cabinets and reorganize closets. You won’t believe how fantastic your house looks (and smells!) after a thorough cleaning. Train your pets…and children! Establish ground rules, such as who’s allowed on the furniture, where the litterbox goes, where food and beverages can be consumed and if markers are allowed in the living room. Teach your cats to use a scratching post BEFORE you bring in the new furniture, and make sure puppies are fully trained before they’re given free rein in the house. Remind your kids that you’re keeping the house nice for everyone! Change your filters regularly. Air filters for your central air unit should be changed every 30 days to allow the system to work at peak efficiency. You’ll also need to check and replace the filters in your refrigerator too! Handle the job everyone forgets – clean out the gutters! When your gutters are clogged with dead leaves and debris, water from your roof has nowhere to go. Water damage is of the most difficult issues to handle once it happens, so keep the gutters clean! Visit the great outdoors. Regular lawn mowing is a must – not only to give your home the ultimate curb appeal, but to make your neighbors happy. You’ll also need to take care of raking leaves, planting flowers, fertilizing, weed-pulling and other yard work. Don’t forget to keep your stairs and entryways swept and clutter-free. Sturdy welcome mats help keep dirt and mud out of your entryway. And last but not least, add in seasonal tasks such as weather stripping windows and doors, opening and closing down the pool or touching up chipped and cracked paint. Protect your family from fire hazards. If you have a fireplace, make sure to have your chimney cleaned every year, at the start of the fall season. Dirt, debris and creosote can build up in the chimney, leading to potential fires. This is a job best done by a professional, but be sure to put in on your schedule. Watch out for clogged dryer vents – lint is highly flammable and accumulates in your dryer more quickly than you can imagine. Clean out the lint catchers after every laundry session, and add it to your weekly schedule in case someone forgets. Be sure to replace the batteries in your smoke detectors twice a year – it’s easy to remember if you change them out during the time change for Daylight Savings Time! Make sure you check the expiration date on your fire extinguishers too! Register your new appliances. Sending in the little cards or completing forms online can sometimes extend the warranty that comes with the product for up to an extra year. And once the product is registered, it’s much easier to get repairs done or replacements delivered if something goes wrong. Make a list of professionals to handle the big stuff. We mentioned chimney cleaning earlier, but there are other major concerns you’ll need to address as you go. Make a list of trusted professionals you can turn to for specialized jobs or emergencies. Ask friends and neighbors for suggestions, or trust online venues such as Yelp or Angie’s List for recommendations. Don’t take chances – fix or replace problem issues as soon as possible. A major maintenance issue is usually handled right away, but it isn’t uncommon to put minor concerns on the back burner once you discover a problem. The cracked window in the foyer isn’t just an eyesore, it can let heat or cold air in. The jammed garbage disposal isn’t just inconvenient, it can generate unpleasant odors from the buildup of bacteria and food debris. And we don’t even want to think about what’s going on with that soft spot on the lawn…but we need to. Putting off minor repairs can lead to bigger problems much more quickly than you would think.

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