No home is exactly like it was the day the homeowner first bought it. Appliances break and things need to be replaced. At some point, the entire place will need a new coat of paint. For many homeowners, especially first-time buyers, just keeping up with what their home needs can feel overwhelming. It can feel as if there are dozens of potential threats to your home, but only time to deal with a few of them.

In this article, we review our top tips for keeping your home like-new, no matter what age it is!

Hire the right people
The old, time-honored adage “You get what you pay for” is never more true than when it comes to your home. When you cut corners and costs by hiring non-professional, shady, or otherwise ill-equipped people to work in and around your home, you’re flirting with disaster. Poor quality work completed by an unlicensed contractor can tank the value of your home and cause serious issues down the road.

Instead, look for licensed, certified professionals who come recommended and are willing to refer you to their prior customers. Whether you’re remodeling your kitchen or getting your water heater fixed, hire the right person for the job.

Treat your pipes right
What you put down the drain could come back to haunt you. Be conscious about protecting your plumbing pipes. Cooking grease and other materials can accumulate inside of pipes, leading to tough clogs and—in a worst-case scenario—issues with your sewer line. Instead of pouring grease down the drain, collect it in an up-cycled jar and then dispose of it in the trash once it has solidified.

If you live in an area with documented hard water issues, a whole-home water softener system might also be a good investment. Over time, hard water causes scaling inside of pipes and can completely clog them. Hard water is also rough on your dishwasher and washing machine. Being proactive about dealing with hard water can add years to the life of your pipes.

Take care of your cooling and heating systems
Your air conditioner and furnace isn’t just what you rely on to stay comfortable throughout the year. They also represent a major investment in your home; replacing one or both of them in a single year is a major expense for any homeowner. This is why we recommend calling a local, trusted HVAC company and scheduling a cooling tune-up in the spring and heating maintenance in the fall.

Tune-ups help your cooling and heating systems avoid breakdowns, which could save you hundreds in repair costs. Plus, maintenance helps your AC or furnace run more efficiently, lowering your energy bills.

Also, while we’re on the subject, don’t forget to regularly change out or clean your air filter. Doing so can both improve your indoor air quality and reduce the overall wear-and-tear on your air conditioner and furnace.

Keep an eye on pests
No one wants pests in their home. But, as creepy as roaches and crickets are, they’re nowhere near destructive as these three pests:

Termites: Termites have the capacity to literally destroy your home by eating away at the very materials keeping it standing. There are many different types of termites out there, so we recommend talking with a locally trusted pest control expert in your area about what to be on the lookout for in and around your home.
Rodents: Mice and rats are infamous disease carriers, but they also are home-destroyers. Many home fires start when rodents in attics, crawlspaces, basements, and interior walls partially chew through electrical wiring. If you even suspect you have mice or rats, right now is the best time to deal with that problem.
Pigeons: You might not think of pigeons as much of a threat—after all, they’re not in your home. However, if they’re congregating on your roof, you have problems. Pigeon droppings are highly acidic. Over time, this acid can start to eat through roofing materials. Unfortunately, most homeowners don’t realize they have a problem until the next time it rains—in their living room.

Breathe deep
For many first-time homebuyers, an extensive home maintenance to-do list can feel stressful and overwhelming. Don’t panic: in reality, your home probably isn’t in imminent danger. Instead, look at your maintenance checklist in a positive light. You have the tools and the power to keep your home like-new for years to come. You can do it!

Author Bio: Victoria Schmidt is the communications specialist at Southern Air Heating and Cooling South Louisiana, the go-to HVAC contractor in South Louisiana. At Southern Air, we believe in backing our work with our Ironclad Guarantees. These guarantees ensure that our customers are completely satisfied with our products and services, and they’re peace of mind.