It's a huge accomplishment owning a home, not to mention a HUGE RESPONSIBILITY! You don't have to be a licensed contractor to properly take care of your home. Maintaining the "big ticket items" (like HVAC system, roof, and electrical) can almost be like a full-time job, but there are a few small things you can do regularly to help prevent any problems.
Don't just paint over that water stain
No matter how small, a leak can ruin more than just the integrity of a home. Should you ever find moisture or water stains on your ceiling or walls, determine the source and fix it! Water damage can lead to rot and mold, which can potentially be harmful or people and animals. Some of the most common places leaks can be found are around windows and doors, the roof, and any cracks in the foundation. Some water leaks have the potential to damage your home before you even see a stain. If your area is prone to heavy storms, you should check your roof after every storm to make sure there are no missing shingles or damage from hail or debris. Regardless, you should check your roof every year, but make sure you inspect it from a ladder or the ground, as walking on the roof can also cause damage.
Keep your drainage systems clean and away from your home
You may have the best drain pipes in the neighborhood, but it they are not paired with the proper grading, they won't do you much good. If any water drains and puddles around the foundation, structural issues may be in your future. Make sure any areas that may come in contact with water are sloped away from the foundation of your home. Also, to avoid any overflow, keep gutters unclogged and free of dirt and leaves.
That shade tree can cost you
After every big storm, you can turn on any news station and hear stories about downed limbs or trees through houses, but that's just something that happens to other people, right? Right...until it happens to you. If you have limbs or branches that hang over or near your home, the safest thing to do is trim them.
Filters are our friends
Dirty HVAC air filters can wreak havoc on a system, as they can allow dust and debris to creep in and interfere with the air flow. Most air filters should be changed once a month and the entire system really should be checked once a year. The typical lifespan of an HVAC system is 12-15 years, but if you take great care of it, it could last up to 20 years!
Don't get crazy with the toilet
There is nothing more disgusting that a backed up septic system or drain. The #1 way to prevent a gross clog is to just not flush/drain things that don't belong. Don't pour grease down the drain. Don't put starchy or fibrous food in the disposal. Do watch the kiddos during a potty break (food, money, even socks seem like a toilet magnet to a three year old).
Finding $ in the washer isn't always awesome
I'll be the first to admit, finding a handful of quarters in the washer and/or dryer makes my day! Bus as with so much else, too much of a good thing isn't always a good thing. Objects made of metal (think easily pocketed things like nuts, bolts, washers, and yes, coins) can overload your appliance and cause unnecessary wear and tear. Don't forget to clean out the dryer's like trap as well. Not only will it cause unnecessary wear and tear but it could also increase your home's risk of a fire.
Porous countertops need to be loved
It may be just the right look, but porous countertops, like marble, granite, or concrete, need to be maintained to stay gorgeous and gleaming for years to come. While some don't require it, many porous countertops need to be re-sealed every so often. The best way to keep it clean between sealings is with warm, soapy water and a soft cloth. When you need to do a more thorough cleaning, the best option would be to use a cleaner made for natural stone. Just make sure you do not use acidic or abrasive cleaners, as they can cause damage to the stone.