5 Home Maintenance Projects You Wish You Didn’t Have to Do
One of the “perks” of buying a house is getting to deal with all of the maintenance and home improvement projects that come with being a homeowner. Plumbing, electrical work and cleaning out the septic tank are the last things homeowners want to think about when they’re signing papers and settling in. Sooner or later, however, issues are going to crop up, and ignoring them will only make them worse. Here are 5 maintenance projects you’re going to have to manage somewhere along the line.
This is first on the list because it’s easy enough to do, but incredibly time-consuming, messy, and inconvenient. No one wants to think about having to clear out a whole room in the house to repaint the walls, and it’s more than just slopping a coat on and calling it quits.
If you’re going to paint a room, it’s better to do it right the first time around. Tape, sand, and prime the walls as needed, and make sure you lay down tarps or plastic so that you don’t splatter on the carpet. Wear old clothes, cover your hair, and cover whatever can’t be moved out of the room with tarps too, even if it’s “safe” in the center of the room.
Applying a fresh coat of paint to your walls every few years isn’t a safety or hygienic necessity, but it’s definitely a must if you want to keep your house looking tidy, clean, and classy.
Septic Tank Cleaning
This is one of those (approximately) biannual projects that every homeowner dreads. Fortunately, you don’t have to do this one on your own. However, it’s definitely not something to be ignored—some areas recommend getting your septic tank cleaned every year. Other areas and homes can get away with an inspection every few years, depending on the size of the tank, how many people are living in the home, and how dry the climate is.
Just because your system isn’t having any trouble doesn’t mean the tank isn’t in need of a good cleaning. So if it’s been a few years since you’ve had it done, schedule an inspection from a liquid waste removal company (Toronto has some great options, if you’re in the area) that can take care of your needs.
Gutters and Downspouts
Cleaning out the gutters on your roof should happen every fall. If leaves or garbage is left in the gutters for too long, it can mold and cause leaks or sagging. If your gutters are improperly placed, they can cause flooding or even foundational problems.
Don’t get up on the roof yourself unless you have experience with roofing work. Working on the roof is one of the most dangerous home projects out there—professional roofers train for years to be able to work with the right equipment safely, and even they still have accidents. If you do decide to clean them yourself, make sure that you take appropriate precautions:
- Wear gloves and a safety helmet
- Make sure your ladder is stable and secure
- Inform someone else of when and where you’re working so that they can aid with any potential problems
- Do your research first—know what you’re doing before you start
- Don’t work first thing in the morning (dew on the roof can make it slippery) or in adverse weather conditions
Unclogging drains is another of those everyday kind of maintenance projects that you wish you didn’t have to do and is sometimes more of a pain that its worth. Fortunately, there are several ways to do it yourself without having to call in a plumber.
- Mix 1/3rd cup of baking soda with 1/3rd cup of vinegar and pour it down the drain as soon as the mixture begins to react. Let it sit for at least an hour, but overnight if possible.
- Boil a kettle or pot of water and pour it slowly down the drain in two or three stages.
- Purchase a drain snake (a long, flexible metal rope with a metal spiral on one end) and use as directed.
- Unbend a wire hanger and then bend a crook into one end. Make sure that you’re pulling the clog out, not pushing it further in.
This is another project you should do on an annual basis. If you don’t get it cleaned regularly, a combination of soot and creosote (a flammable substance) will build up and increase the danger of chimney fires. It can also block the chimney and cause the smoke and ash to spill back into the room.
If you get the cleaning done right before winter starts, you’ll be sure that no animals have moved into your chimney over the summer. You can either call out professionals or, if you feel up to the task, buy cleaning supplies and tools and do it yourself.
Keeping a home maintained isn’t easy, but if you stay on top of those necessary projects you’ll be much better off than if you let them accumulate.