As many people discover after purchasing their first home, it is much different from living in an apartment. When something needs repairing, there is not a landlord to handle the situation. The new homeowner must learn how to manage various maintenance tasks on his or her own in order to keep the house comfortable and inviting. If you have recently purchased your first home and need some help getting into the swing of maintenance, here are a few ideas that may help.

One of the first things to understand about home maintenance is that there is almost always something that needs to be fixed. Some tasks are associated with various seasons of the year while others are routine maintenance that must be performed on a consistent basis. Still, some of these tasks should be completed every few years in order to keep the house in top condition. Organizing these tasks into each category is the first step to creating a manageable home maintenance schedule.

Routine tasks that can be performed every so often may include action items like replacing the air filter on the heating and cooling system, or checking the batteries in the smoke detectors around the home. These tasks are not very time consuming and they can be accomplished in a few minutes.

Seasonal tasks often involve preparing the home for the upcoming season. For example, you may need to install storm windows in the autumn, making the home more comfortable in winter. For homes with a working fireplace, cleaning flues should be a part of the fall maintenance routine. For spring and summer, window screens should be checked and replaced as needed, making it possible to open windows and allow fresh air into the home without worry of mosquitoes and other flying insects.

Additional home maintenance tasks may take place on an annual basis. Tasks of this type include checking the plumbing around the house. This includes examining faucets for any signs of leakage, looking at exposed pipes in the basement and under sinks for any sign of deterioration. Cleaning out the ductwork for the heating and air conditioning system, at least once per year, is a great way to keep the air in the home relatively free of allergens.

Other types of home maintenance that may occur include tasks such as painting the exterior of the home, replacing deteriorated window casings, or checking the foundation for cracks. It is often a good idea to plan to perform these tasks every three to five years, depending on the general condition of the house.

One of the easiest ways to fall behind on home maintenance is avoiding writing down the details of your maintenance. Creating a master plan for maintenance can make it much easier to balance your tasks in a manner that allows you to approach each one in a timely manner, and thus prevent falling into the trap of having things pile up and become overwhelming.

To structure your maintenance schedule, create an outline with four categories: monthly, seasonally, annually, and as needed. To keep things in proper perspective, include subgroups in the seasonal category for spring, summer, autumn, and winter tasks. List the tasks under the appropriate header, since this allows you to organize when each should be completed. If a particular task should be completed three times a year, list it less than three different seasons.

With a plan of what must be done and a general idea of when it must be accomplished, you can now assign target dates for each task. Using a calendar, identify a specific date to handle each task. This allows you to schedule monthly and seasonal tasks on days you know that you will be free, such as on weekends. Annual tasks should also be assigned a specific month and day, again taking care to make the assignment for a day when you know you will be home. For larger tasks, include a start date and an end date.

Post your maintenance schedule in a location that you see often. People who spend their time on the computer can use electronic calendars to create reminders of upcoming maintenance tasks. Individuals who are less technologically inclined can use a desk blotter calendar or even write notes in on a simple wall calendar. The exact medium is not important, as long as it informs you of what needs to be done and when.

While this may seem like overkill for some people, the fact is that most homeowners forget essential tasks quite often. They are usually reminded when tasks either pile up or something drastic happens and they realize an important task was forgotten. Since big problems can be costly to repair, you can save time and money by planning your maintenance schedule in advance.


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