One of the biggest benefits of buying a new home is having a new home warranty that can keep you covered if things go wrong. What some new homeowners don’t realize, though, is there are certain maintenance tasks you should be performing in order to keep that warranty valid.
While the specifics of these vary depending on the choices you’ve made inside the home (materials, finishes etc.), we’ve put together a list of some of the basic things you should be doing throughout the year to keep your home in good shape and prevent problems that could affect your warranty later on down the road.
- Check for air leaks around your windows and doors. These are usually the result of normal wear and tear so they probably won’t be under warranty - but any air leaks will mean you’re paying more to heat and cool your home.
- You’ll also want to take a look at the grout around the tiles in your bathroom or laundry. This can be affected by the hot weather, and you may need to re-grout if you’ve been living in your home for a few years.
- When gardening, you’ll want to make sure any soil or mulch you put around the exterior of your home is done at an angle to direct the water away from the foundation. The warranty on the foundation of your home is good for 10 years, and the builders have specifically designed your landscaping according to building codes. When you add materials around the home, you could be hurting the foundation, and this could void your warranty.
- While you’re outside, check that there are no points of entry for bugs or rodents. Damage done to the home by critters is not typically covered by warranty.
- The most important thing to do during the fall is to check your gutters for leaves. The warranty on your roof is based on the assumption that you’re properly caring for it. When the gutters get clogged by leaves and other debris, the water doesn’t flow - this can cause it to pool and damage the roof. Get up on a ladder to do this task yourself or hire a professional.
- The fall is also a good time to have someone come out for an HVAC tune-up. This helps get your furnace in good shape before winter sets in. The worker will replace filters and check for small parts that might be worn out or broken. Annual maintenance is typically required to keep the warranty on your HVAC system valid.
- Icicles might look pretty, but they’re actually quite damaging. If you’ve done your work in keeping the gutters clear, you shouldn’t have problems with icicles forming on a new home, but if you see them, there may be a problem with vents in the attic or the insulation. Have a professional check this out if you’re concerned.
- You'll want to replace the batteries in your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors. This season is when you’re most likely to have a problem with carbon monoxide because the windows are always closed.
- Since you’re stuck inside, you might as well take the time to give your home a good deep cleaning. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning the materials in your home.
- As the snow starts to melt, it’s time to see if there’s been any damage to your home. We mentioned the importance of the slant of the soil (grading) around the home in the summer section, but now’s a good time to check again. Heavy snow may have caused the soil to settle more and flatten, so you may need to beef it up.
- You’ll also want to double-check for any cracks in the sidewalks or driveway. These can sprout up during the winter when water seeps in and expands when it freezes. If it’s the first year in your home, something like this might be covered by the warranty.
- Also, check the roof for any damage. You don’t have to give it a close inspection, but look to see if any of the shingles are missing or if they’re curving up. If so, you’ll need to have them replaced. Skipping this step can void any warranty you have on the roof.
Home ownership comes with a lot of responsibilities, but when you divide up the tasks throughout the year, the work becomes a bit easier. Hopefully, our list has given you some ideas to get started, but you should definitely talk to your builder for further information. Your home (and your warranty!) will thank you.