Break Bad Home Improvement Habits

A man checking out an HVAC vent in a wall.

Bad habits: everyone has them, but bad homeowner habits put not only yourself at risk but your home’s value as well. You might be surprised to learn that most bad homeowner habits revolve not around doing a DIY job poorly, but around not taking care of home systems or areas that require upkeep. Luckily, there are solutions to amend these common bad habits and ensure the mistakes stop adding up over time.

Stick to a Maintenance Schedule

Gutters full of leaves next to a roof.

Neglecting routine home maintenance can end up decreasing the value of your home. According to a recent survey from Liberty Mutual Insurance, 24% of homeowners admit that they are behind when it comes to routine home maintenance. Major areas homeowners tend to disregard are gutters and furnace systems. When not taken care of in a timely fashion, gutters can lead to major problems down the road such as water blockage issues. For this task, along with any project that involves getting on the roof, I always recommend enlisting a certified professional. When it comes to your furnace, you should hire a technician to check your HVAC system once a year. This checkup benefits your home’s air quality and heating/cooling efficiency down the road.

Make Repairs When You Notice Their Need

Ignoring signs of deterioration can lead to permanent damage. The first room in the house I suggest checking is your bathroom since moisture damage is sometimes unavoidable. When there is moisture in one place for long periods of time, it's easy to have problems like mold or leaks arise. It’s imperative that you keep moisture levels on your bathroom floor and walls at a minimum and check these areas regularly. If you don’t catch potential issues early enough, they can lead to bigger consequences in the long run. Check your exterior doors as well. Constant slamming of your front or basement door can lead to cracks in the trim as well as a gap where the door meets the trim, which allows cold air into the home. I suggest replacing your hinges with ones that self-close to help prevent door slamming from the start.

Conduct a Home Walk-Through Twice a Year

A man standing on a ladder looking at a roof.

To avoid these bad habits, take some simple steps that will force yourself to pay more attention to areas once overlooked. Taking a walk around your property inside and outside every six months is a good practice in order to maintain the longevity of your home. Have a checklist on hand of areas you should pay attention to, and take notes along the way. Also bring your phone to take photos in case you find damage that needs to be looked at by a professional. Features you should vigorously check outside include windows, doors, vents, and outdoor water faucets. Any openings or weakness in structure are important to note. Inside the home, check plumbing fixtures, cabinets, and electrical outlets. In addition to physically checking these items, compare year over year electric, gas, and water bills to see if there is an infrastructure issue draining your resources.

Protect Your Home With Insurance Coverage

Finally, and most importantly, proper insurance coverage is key to help protect you from unforeseen circumstances and allow you to worry less. Coverage can vary depending on the size of your home and belongings, but there are tools to help evaluate the level of protection you need such as the Home Insurance Coverage Calculator from Liberty Mutual Insurance.

As the host, designer, and contractor on the series "Elbow Room," this piece's contributing writer Chip Wade is there from concept through construction to show HGTV and DIY viewers how to customize their spaces and transform houses into homes that perfectly suit their lifestyle. Additionally, Chip has acted as a representative for many national brands and is currently a consultant with Liberty Mutual Insurance.