Home Maintenance: What You Can Do and What to Leave to the Pros

A little regular DIY means you’ll only PAY when it’s really beyond you.
  • Home maintenance

4 minutes read | June 9th 2020

Hey, you're a homeowner! And now you have no idea what needs maintenance, let alone how to do it. Don't stress. We're breaking it down for you in a way that's super-easy to digest. Regular maintenance is a chore, sure, but most chores are really not that difficult. We’ve even created this neat little Know Your Zip tool to help you find out about the most common homeowner claims in your local area. Knowledge is power, right? Learn more about the risks in your neighborhood to build prevention into your maintenance chores!

The big deal here is that these chores can actually help prevent costly damage and repairs around your home, even if you need some assistance from an outside pro. Here's a list of maintenance tasks that are pretty easy to do on your own and tasks that are best left to those with some serious knowledge.

Grab Your Toolbelt and Get Started

Set yourself up with a basic toolkit. With a small investment and a quick trip to the local hardware store, you can grab a few screwdrivers, a hammer, and some nifty things that'll help accomplish these tasks. (By the way, YouTube is a huge resource for instructional how-tos.)

Get started with your routine maintenance by taking care of these general tasks:

  • Update the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors every six months. This one is so easy and also really improves your safety. If you use models that connect to home security systems or apps, you'll usually get reminders. If not, do this when the clocks change for daylight saving time.

  • Clean out your HVAC filters monthly. Most just rinse off in the sink.

  • Do touch-ups and painting on dented baseboards and other areas as needed. This is a task that's easy to do and is a low-cost way to spruce things up.

  • Some pros recommend draining your hot water heater's tank periodically to clear the unit of sediment. Follow manufacturer instructions for your model.

Outside

Ahh, fresh air. Sort of makes chores more bearable, doesn't it?

  • Clearing gutters is tough. If you have ladders, you can do this yourself, but we kind of don't recommend it if you're feeling unsure. There's the risk of falling and it can take some time, so you might want to call pros on this one. This is an important task to prevent water damage to your roof though, so definitely add this to your "twice a year" list.

  • Clean up your yard — like really clean it — two or three times per year, especially if you live in a climate with different seasons. Remove debris and check for dead limbs. Cut branches near the house or overhanging the roof. Trim any hedges that are touching your home's exterior or A/C units.

  • Scrub down decks and patios. Do this after the winter and before you pack things up in the fall. Sealing your deck is as easy as applying a coat of paint.


Grab Your Phone and Use the Google Machine

Some people may have the skill level to tackle these chores. But most of these tasks require specialized training and tools and are better left to a pro.

  • HVAC checks: Once a year, have a full system check done by a professional.

  • Leaky roof: Call a roofer and have patches put on to address the leaks. A roof usually lasts about 20 years, but you may need some maintenance throughout that timespan.

  • Pest inspection: Have an exterminator check annually for pests that can cause damage, like termites. If you have a monthly pest service you can probably add this service on.

  • Patching cracks in your driveway or concrete: You want to stay on top of this to prevent damage and keep people from tripping. Fix cracks in sidewalks or stairs ASAP.

Taking care of these tasks at regular intervals will have your home and its systems looking and running their best. Spend a few minutes right now scheduling them in your calendar or setting reminders in your smartphone. You'll streamline the process and feel great about everything you're getting done, too. Then go ahead and get a little house-proud — you earned it.

Being proactive about making your home safe doesn't just involve keeping up with regular maintenance. It also involves getting the right homeowners insurance. Pickle is an alternative to the complex and old-fashioned insurance practices of the past. With simplified language and customizable features, we make it easier for you to purchase a straightforward policy that covers exactly what you need it to. Start a quote today!