Check Out Your Home
The best thing you can do is literally look around at least once per year. I offer an annual home inspection service for this, but you can often spot items of concern on your own just by taking the time to look for them. Noticing a small damaged piece of siding or small entry point for water to intrude into your home is key to preventing costly repairs because you don’t notice until it has caused thousands of dollars in damage. The Rhode Island winters can be brutal on your exterior systems.
There are some systems in your home that require preventative maintenance. For example your boiler needs an annual cleaning and service. If you have tank-less hot water you may need to periodically drain the water and sediment. Water filtration systems require periodic replacement of filter material. Exterior systems like paint and stain aren’t permanent either (especially in RI) and need work every 3-5 years. Also power washing your home can extend the life of exterior surfaces. A little work now can really prolong the life span of systems in your home.
Every home owner needs to have at least a basic set of tools. I recommend hammer, tape measure, screwdriver set, pliers, and set of adjustable wrenches. Even the least handy home owner could benefit from having the basics. Oh yeah, don’t forget the best item of all…Duct Tape.
Know When and How to Hire a Pro
There are many things associated with home maintenance that a home owner can handle. This scope can vary greatly from person to person as well. There are also many instances where its best to leave the repair to a pro, paying a professional to do it can cost more money, but doing it wrong, or hiring an unqualified uninsured guy can be even more costly. Ask for contractor license and/or registration when making a hire, no reputable contractor (even a handy man) ought to have a problem with this. Also its a good idea to get the quote in writing up front, some jobs this may be easier than others.
Lastly, Get to Things Sooner Than Later
When you realize something is broken or faulty, it is usually in your best interest to get to it right away. Prolonging it will almost always make the problem worse and the expense to repair greater.