Owning a home is more involved than perhaps the estate agent led you to believe. There’s much fuss made about the positives, like having your own space and additional freedom, but barely a mention about what can go wrong. As an owner without a landlord anymore, there’s no one to call up when something goes wrong. You’re on your own, left to figure out what to do next.

When problems do arise in your home, it’s worse when you’re working full-time and aren’t around to fix them. Because of this, it’s best to perform preventative maintenance and make improvements with an eye to reducing the frequency of unexpected issues to take you away from your job.

Here are seven ideas on improvements and maintenance tasks that reduce the likelihood and frequency of problems as a homeowner.

1.     Give Your Home A Thorough Personal Inspection

Have a walkthrough of your property both internally and externally at the front and back to look for anything untoward. Something out of place should stand out to you when you do it often enough. Anything that might have worked loose from high winds can be spotted and removed before it causes a future accident. A seemingly small item could get picked up by the wind and hit a window the next time a storm passes through.

Any systems that aren’t tested on a regular basis, turn them on and check they’re still working. The sooner you realise something is no longer working, the better. Find out sooner when something is on the fritz, so you can plan a repair or maintenance, or if it’s completely dead, know what you should replace it with to resolve the issue.

2.     Use Seasonal Planning with Home Improvement Projects

Plan sensibly when to complete home improvement projects. If you’re going to hire contractors, you’ll be required to plan and book them months ahead.

For indoor tasks, consider the impact of cold or freezing conditions for the improvements you wish to make. Any bathroom improvements or changes to units are more easily completed when the water pipes aren’t frozen up. Redecorating a bedroom works better during warmer conditions too. Sleeping on a pull-out sofa while the work is ongoing is more pleasant when it’s not as chilly through the night or next morning.

For outdoor tasks, you want to do them in late spring and summer. It will start getting wetter in the autumn months and the falling leaves with make any clean-up harder. Painting outside dries better in warmth than it does the cold too. Also, consider available light as the months drag on. Aim to start early to end earlier in the day to avoid low light conditions where accidents are more likely to occur.

3.     Check for Unwelcome Guests

We’re talking unpleasant bugs and other pests here. Everything from bees, termites, mice and ants often find a home in dark or warm spots during the winter. If you spot a procession of ants on a mission across the floor, you’ll need bug spray all around that area to prevent more appearing where they came from.

With pest control issues, you can try getting pest traps from a DIY shop on your next visit through, but they’re not always that successful. Usually, there are two problems:

  • Finding and removing them all
  • Blocking off their point of entry/exit

The traps only really help with locating them; you’ll need professional assistance to prevent them from returning.

But if the mice are small in number or you think you can deal with them by yourself you can try electronic mouse traps. They are pretty easy to use and requires almost no effort at all.

If you have an attic or cupboard under the stairs, check these regularly to ensure you don’t have unwelcome guests of the furry variety. The sooner they’re dealt with, the better.

4.     Get the Electrical System Reviewed

The older the home is, the less likely it has sufficient power sockets in each room for all your needs. With the advent of smartphones, tablets, computers and many other devices that need power in the modern world, we struggle to find a place to plug in. The solution is to buy one or more multiway adapters. These extensions plug into a single socket and create 4-6 new sockets along with a couple of USB 2.0 ports.

There are several problems with older electrical systems with too few power sockets. The voltage needed for each plugged in electronic device can quickly exceed the limits of what a single power socket can supply. The situation becomes worse when attempting to solve the problem by daisy chaining one multiway adapter into another. There’s a serious risk of an overload that can blow fuses, short out the electronic devices, or create an electrical fire.

If you find that you’re increasingly using multiway adapters in your home, then it might be time to call in an electrician to price up rewiring certain parts of the home that needs more power outlets. This will solve the problem, reduce the risk to your home and modernise your electrical system in one fell swoop.

5.     Check the Gutters & Replace Damaged Sections

Rain gutters perform the job of collecting water and directing to the drains and away from the home’s foundations. When they become flooded or blocked up, water falls around the property. This can lead to foundational slabs becoming damp and breaking which often leads to serious future problems.

Check the gutters for leaves and twigs collected over time. Carefully remove them without damaging the gutters themselves. A build up left unattended can attract insects, cause water overflow and any wet twigs can rust out metal gutters too. If you find any damaged gutters, replace this gutter section immediately.

6.     Check the Sump Pump is Functioning

If your home has a basement, does it have a sump pump which pumps out water in the event of a flooding? If it does, then you should check whether the sump pump is still functioning.

To test the float trigger mechanism, artificially activate the pump in the same manner that rising water flow should do so automatically. If you discover that the pump doesn’t activate, investigate the reasons for this.

7.     Protect Your Home with Maintenance Plans

Companies like Certi provide services such as Value+ boiler cover to protect homeowners from a boiler breakdown where usually they don’t know how to resolve it. The company can call out a qualified engineer to visit your home and inspect the boiler. They’ll determine what the cause of the difficulty is and make recommendations. Where it can be fixed, they can go ahead and do so.

Their comprehensive value+ home emergency cover plan can protect you when your home is experiencing problems with the heating, electrical, drains, plumbing, security or pest issues. As well as this, Certi’s home emergency cover plan includes several different types of coverage for an affordable monthly charge. This provides complete peace of mind for homeowners who aren’t good with DIY or appreciate that some maintenance issues are beyond their level of expertise.

With all improvements, aim to add value to your home wherever possible. For maintenance, it’s more about avoiding future difficulties than it is about adding to the property value. Certainly, a little preventative maintenance and a few timely improvements here and there can go a long way in avoiding a series of inconveniences at home.