A man performing maintenance on a wall of his home.

Homeowner Maintenance Tips

Updated January 1, 1 . AmFam Team

To keep your home in prime condition, you need to keep a watchful eye on a lot of different things. Use these tips to keep your family safe, your bank account healthy and your home value as high as possible.

You don’t have to be a professional handyman to keep your home in tip-top shape. And while it takes a lot of effort to keep your home in great condition, we’ve got a handy guide that can help you check all the boxes!

Start from the top down. Speaking of your roof, check it from the ground for any missing shingles every few months and after storms. Roofs are notoriously expensive to replace, and insurance won’t cover damage if it’s the result of age or neglect. Check with your American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab)to see what kind of damage your roof is covered for versus damage you would need to cover out of your own pocket.

If you do notice shingle damage, take action as soon as possible. Replacing a damaged shingle the moment you notice a problem will prolong the life of your roof and save you money in the long run. And while hiring a professional will cost you more than replacing shingles yourself, you can sleep better at night knowing that your repairs were done by someone trained in roof care.

Clean your gutters. A gutter full of leaves, branches or debris is a gutter that can’t do its job. While water is supposed to be transported by the gutter to another location, it instead could flow over the gutter, down your house and into other areas of your home. Water can spell trouble for homeowners, so make sure your gutters are clear every couple of weeks.

Check your dryer exhaust vent. If you have a dryer, you know its lint filter needs to be emptied after every run. But filters don’t catch all that troublesome lint — some makes its way into the dryer exhaust vent. And if it’s not checked and cleaned regularly, it can be a fire hazard. Locate your vent, clean out all the lint three to four times a year, and keep an eye on it regularly.

If you notice that a lot of debris is often found in your vent, consider replacing your dryer filter or hire a technician to take a look at your appliance.

Keep water and cold air out. Bathroom fixtures, doorways and areas where different building materials (brick, wood, etc.) meet — these are just a few areas where water and cold air can wreak havoc. Trapped water can cause rot or mold, while cold air entering your home can make your heating costs rise.

Maintain your drains. Your drains are crucial to the health of your home because they transport and dispose of all sorts of waste. And if one begins to leak or gets clogged, you could be in for an uncomfortable, smelly and expensive clean up.

Your sump pump protects your home by pumping out excess water that might otherwise flood your basement. Test your sump pump at least once a year, and listen for it during big rainstorms to see if it’s running. If you’re not sure your sump pump is doing its job, call a professional plumber as soon as possible to keep your basement dry.

Clean your air filter. Replacing your furnace and air conditioner filter is crucial to the health and comfort of your family. A dirty filter will cause hot or cold air to get blocked at the source, giving you less of it but costing you more. It can also push more allergens like dust into your air, causing eye irritation, sneezing and coughing.

Consider inspecting and/or replacing your home’s air filter once every month, being careful to check for any imperfections, dust and debris. If your filter is particularly dirty after only a month, your system might be due for a checkup from an air conditioner and furnace specialist.

If you haven’t been checking up on your home regularly, don’t worry — it’s never too late to become a vigilant homeowner. Your American Family Insurance agent can help you plan (Opens in a new tab) for the uncertainties of homeownership and get you back on track after unexpected setbacks. Connect with yours today and make sure you’ve got the proper protection in place.

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