home maintenance

When you first move into a home of your own, it’s a little bit like taking a trip to a foreign land. After all, up until now, you either lived with your parents, or at school, or rented a place – and the odds are you never gave real home maintenance a thought. Things just somehow magically got done. It had nothing to do with your dad’s “Honey-Do” list, right? You just lived in a place, and it stayed nice, and after all, you had other things to do with your time than worry about all that.

But now, you’ve bought a home of your own – and Surprise! You’re the one with the honey-do list. But if no one ever explained to you what, exactly, home maintenance is all about, how are you supposed to make sure you’re getting it all done? Exactly. You won’t. That’s why we thought we’d help you out with some of the most basic-of-basic home maintenance information. We’re pretty sure after this list, you’ll discover a few other things that you’d like to pay special attention to – because as a smart homeowner, you want to protect the value of your investment. But this short list should be enough to prime the pump, so to speak!

What: HVAC filters need to be changed about every 30 days in Las Vegas (desert, dust, wind – you get it.)
It will help your air conditioner run more efficiently and avoid wasting energy and money. Plus, it won’t only extend the life of this (very expensive to replace) unit, but clogged filters can also trap harmful pollutants and allergens that you don’t want lurking around your home.
How: Just turn off your system, pull out your filters and inspect them for dirt and grime. If they’re dark and look dirty, get suitable replacements from the local hardware store. When replacing them, turn the unit back on first – as this will hold the filters in place while you’re fastening the vent cover back on. (Just don’t leave the unit running without filters in place for more than a few seconds.)

What: Get your air conditioning system serviced before the heat of summer starts.
Why: Just as with a vehicle, maintaining a complex A/C system can go a long way towards extending its life. And if you’ve ever had your A/C break down mid-summer in Las Vegas, you already know repair companies are busy and not likely to get to your problem the same day. Sweat, sweat, sweat.
How: If possible, contact the company that installed the unit for a quote on their maintenance service call. Or make inquiries about reputable HVAC contractors that you can trust to come out and give your system a tune-up.

What: Test your smoke detectors and carbon dioxide detectors.
Why: Safety, for sure – and also, there’s nothing worse than a beeping ‘low battery’ signal that goes off in the middle of the night and the ceiling is 12’ high.
How: Follow the “test” instructions (there’s usually a button on the unit for this), and many brands also have a light to indicate that batteries are getting low, so you can change them out before they wake you up at 2am. Rule of thumb: Change these batteries every time you change your clock for Daylight Savings Time.

What: Test your fire extinguishers.
Why: Being prepared always beats being sorry.
How: Ensure it has easy access (not being blocked by a garbage can or anything else), that the gauge shows adequate pressure, and that it has no visible signs of wear and tear. Most fire extinguishers have a life cycle of from 5-15 years – but if you don’t know how old yours is, just be sure to check the pressure gauge each month. If the needle is in the green area, it’s functional.

What: Recaulk your windows.
Why: It’s estimated that 80 percent of winter heat loss occurs due to cracks in a home – so just imagine how much you might be paying to air condition the outside! Sealing the spaces around windows with caulk goes a long way toward solving this problem.
How: First, do some research on the type of windows you have and recommended caulking products, methods, and how often they should be done. When applying the caulk, make sure all surfaces are clean and dry, and pay attention to the temperature specifications in the product information. Since temperatures change most in the morning, it’s smart to start your project after they have leveled out.

What: Speaking of caulking – check the bathtub, shower, and toilet seal caulking, too.
Why: Intact caulk and seals prevent water from leeching into the rest of your bathroom, causing mold and other damage.
How: Inspect the caulk that seals the tub to the floor, as well as the caulk around the edge of the tub, and the points where tub faucets come out of the wall or tub surround. If the caulk is cracked or peeling, replace it with polyurethane bathroom caulk. When checking your toilet seal, look for condensation or discoloration of the flooring around the seam where the toilet meets the floor. If you see either, call a plumber to help determine the source of the leak.

What: Clean your kitchen sink garbage disposal every 60-90 days.
Why: Waste particles can collect on your blades and inside the drain – which cannot only get smelly, but can clog your disposal.
How: Freeze an ice cube tray of vinegar, put the frozen cubes in the disposal, and then turn it on.

This is just a quick list of things to keep the basics running smoothly, but as a new homeowner, you should take the time to walk through your house and prepare a list of things that will need attention over time – depending on the features and finishes in the house you purchased. For example, if you have granite countertops in your kitchen – educate yourself about their proper care and treatment for cleaning and sealing (sealing finishes don’t last forever!), and marble flooring and baths surfaces also require specific care treatments. Testing water pressure from time to time will help you discover any in-wall or landscaping leaks that could be causing damage over the long-term – not to mention that we don’t like wasting water in Las Vegas.

For new homeowners, there’s definitely a learning curve – but by making a calendar to remind you when to take care of certain tasks each year, it can go a long way towards retaining (or growing) your home’s value.

New Home Resource helps current and future homeowners with all of their Las Vegas real estate needs. Whether your preference is for property management, a newly built home from a local builder, or a resale property in just the right location, a New Home Resource Realtor® is here to provide the service you’re looking for. Please contact a New Home Resource Realtor® today at 702-365-1000 or visit www.newhomeresource.com. Broker Joanna Piette, and agents Denise Thrasher, Jessica O’Brien, Evelyn ‘Beng’ Kern, and Kathy Paterniti are all here to help!