New builds certainly come with some perks—modern floor plans, energy-efficient appliances, and “smart” features, to name a few—but just because you’re the first to call the house “home” doesn’t mean you can neglect routine maintenance duties. Once the boxes are unpacked and the family photos are hung, add these eight important tasks to your to-do list to maintain that new home feeling for years to come.
1. Monitor the humidity level.
Maintaining a humidity level below 60 percent (the Environmental Protection Agency recommends 30 to 50 percent, ideally) will not only keep you comfortable—it will also curb mold growth. “On move-in day, purchase a humidity gauge for each level [of the home],” says Kristin Cuddigan of Cuddigan Custom Builders. “In the summer, use your air conditioner to regulate humidity. In winter, use your air exchanger or humidifier as needed to keep frost off windows and floors from getting gaps.”
2. Change furnace filters.
Furnace filters commonly have a lifespan of 90 days, but our experts recommend changing them monthly in a new build—at least for the first couple of months after move-in, when there may still be construction particles in the air.
3. Assess the exterior.
Ask the builder for exterior paint names and brands, then “walk around your house annually to assess areas where the trim needs a touch-up—and do it,” says Cuddigan. While you’re at it, look for any leaks or cracks that can easily be plugged with caulking. This can increase energy efficiency while cutting your heating and cooling costs.
4. Clean the gutters.
It doesn’t matter how new your home is—no gutters are immune to the build-up of leaves and debris. They should be cleaned out twice per year to prevent damage to the roof and foundation.
5. Check intake and exhaust vents.
You want “to make sure there is nothing obstructing airflow,” says Cuddigan. This is especially important in Minnesota, where snow can cause blockages, allowing carbon monoxide to flow back into the house (don’t forget to replace those smoke and CO detector batteries every six months, just in case!).
6. Inspect landscaping.
After a major construction project, it takes time for the surrounding soil to resettle. Once it does, “ensure landscaping is sloped away from your home,” says Todd Polifka of Custom One Homes. This will properly drain rainwater and stop runoff from flowing toward the house.
7. Read owner’s manuals.
Your new construction home likely comes with a few bells and whistles you haven’t encountered before. To ensure you’re working appliances appropriately, read the instruction manuals, and “learn the proper care and cleaning for your flooring, countertops, carpet, windows, etcetera,” says Polifka.
8. Review your warranty.
Many new builds come with a short-term warranty that covers faults in workmanship or materials. Before your home’s first anniversary, take a moment to review your warranty documents and address any concerns with your builder.
Still hunting for your new home? Check out Minnesota builders and remodelers from the Parade of Homes and Remodelers Showcase here to find your perfect match!
By Taylor Hugo
Taylor Hugo (taylorhugo.com) is a freelance writer and editor who has experience creating content for regional and national magazines, small businesses and Fortune 500 companies, and everything in between. After spending most of her life in Minnesota, she recently relocated to Colorado, where you’ll find her hiking the Rocky Mountains and decorating her first home that she shares with her husband and dog.