Owning a new home is different than renting. The primary difference is that you as the owner are now in charge of all of the homes regular maintenance. New construction homes come with warranties that cover all aspects of the home. However, they require that you keep up your end of the warranty by doing regularly scheduled maintenance to keep your home in tip-top shape.
When you close on your new home, read and note regularly recommended home maintenance tasks and responsibilities.
Your new home warranty organizes your tasks by area of the home. Let's look at what tasks you need to perform in order to maintain your warranty.
HVAC warranty tasks for homeowners
- Change your system filters every month or 3 months: Your HVAC filter is like our body’s lungs. Your system can't breathe well when the filters are missing or clogged up with dust and particulate debris. If you choose a high quality filter, you may not need to change it every month. When choosing a filter, don't opt for the least expensive spun fiberglass ones. Instead choose filters that have higher MERV (Minimum efficiency reporting value) ratings and remove out more of the dust, allergens, and pollen.
- Remove dirt, debris and leaves from around the outdoor portion of the system. Keeping leaves and debris from around the unit will help improve performance.
- HVAC annual maintenance and cleaning: Have a professional HVAC technician inspect your system and clean the coils, and inspect the wiring. It’s best to do this each spring and each fall. The tech will test components of the system making sure they are functioning properly.
- Inspect your drain pan: In South Carolina, we run our air conditioning more than we run our heating. Condensation collects in your drip pan and drains out of the house. Check the drip pan each spring to be sure it is draining correctly and it not clogged.
Roof and gutter tasks for homeowners
- Inspect your roof: Walk around the exterior of your home and visually inspect the roof. Look for curling shingles, loose shingles or slipped shingles. Get a professional to repair any damage or clear any debris which collects on the field of the roof.
- Inspect the underside of your roof: If you have an attic, inspect the roof’s underside for any leaks or indications of water intrusion.
- Clean gutters and downspouts: Your gutters channel water away from your home. They help prevent water intrusion. Keeping them clear of debris in a semi-annual task that you need to take care of. Don’t forget to check to ensure that your downspouts are draining and free of debris too. Check to be sure puddles of water are not collecting around the downspout opening. This could run back into your foundation, causing issues.
- Prune trees and shrubbery away from your roof: To prevent debris from collecting on your roof, keep your landscaping under control. Prune it regularly so it doesn’t overhang your roof. Take care when working near electrical lines. Make sure to keep branches and trees off of them.
Home exterior maintenance for homeowners
- Inspect your foundation: Look for cracks, separations or voids that should not be present. If you find any, check your homeowner's warranty to determine how to proceed. Some defects are covered, and there are specific definitions of these you need to be aware of.
- Inspect your exterior siding: Whether you have brick veneer, painted clapboards, HardiPlank, or vinyl siding, you must check to be sure it’s intact with no gaps, cracks, or splits to let in rain or runoff.
- Crawl space inspection: If you have a house on a raised foundation inspect to be sure your insulation is in place and there is no water intrusion and your crawl space is free of mold and mildew. Refer to your homeowner's warranty for specific details.
Interior home maintenance for homeowners
- Inspect your shut-off valves at all plumbing fixtures: Every sink, your washer and all toilets have shutoff valves. Make sure these are not leaking and are operational.
- Clean refrigerator coils: Vacuum off dirt and lint to keep your fridge running efficiently.
- Hot water heater maintenance: Consult your homeowner's warranty and water heater owner's manual for recommended maintenance tasks. Some may recommend you drain and inspect your tank if you have a tank type heater.
- Clean oven vents and range hoods: Prevent the greasy build up by regularly cleaning these important ventilation items.
- Clean your garbage disposal blades: Grind ice in your disposal to clean off debris.
- Clean your dryer’s vent pipe: Lint collects in the vent pipe. To prevent a fire hazard and keep your dryer functional, clean the lint out with a special brush tool or hire a professional to do this for you.
- Smoke detectors: If you have battery powered smoke detectors change the batteries in them to ensure they function as expected.
If you keep your home well cared for, it will hold it’s value and you will keep all warranties for both the home and appliances and systems in force.
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