Sears Home Services
appointment lookup logoAppointment Lookup
telephone logo213-596-2538
RepairHome WarrantyHome ImprovementClean & MaintainShop PartsResource Center
RepairHome WarrantyHome ImprovementClean & MaintainShop PartsResource Center
appointment lookup logoAppointment Lookup

Table of Contents

Proactive Home Maintenance Insights

Major Appliance Maintenance

Most Common Malfunctions

Washing Machine Woes

Doing the Dishes and Cleaning the Kitchen

Keeping Up With Your Home

Methodology

Limitations

Fair Use Statement

  1. Resource Center
  2. Maintain

Breaking Down Home Maintenance Bad Habits in 2024: Insights and Solutions

10 min readUpdated Apr. 05, 2024Lyle WeischwillKitchen Appliances
Regular maintenance extends life of appliances

Owning a home extends far beyond the realms of mortgage payments; it demands a commitment to regular upkeep and care to safeguard your investment. This study dives deep into prevalent bad habits of homeowners, ranging from overlooked appliance maintenance to improper handling of laundry and kitchen duties. Our findings offer valuable insights and practical advice for both experienced homeowners and newcomers alike, ensuring your home remains in prime condition for years to come.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • A homeowner's commitment to maintenance directly influences their home's investment value and repair costs before sale.
  • Insights from over 1,000 homeowners nationwide reveal the quality of their home maintenance efforts.
  • Discover the most frequent maintenance oversights and areas of expertise as reported by homeowners.

Owning a home is widely regarded as a wise financial decision, typically yielding returns between 8.6% and 10% annually. However, it's important to note that such potential gains are influenced by several factors, with location being a key component. While the broader market trends are beyond any single homeowner's control, the sphere where you do have influence is in the maintenance and care of your property. The commitment you show towards your home's upkeep not only preserves its value but also significantly affects the financial outlay required for repairs and improvements when it's time to sell.

In our recent exploration, we connected with over a thousand homeowners from various parts of the country to gauge their approach to home maintenance. The insights gathered revealed a spectrum of practices, highlighting areas of common oversight as well as aspects of home care where homeowners feel most competent. Interestingly, the feedback also pointed to differences in maintenance strengths between genders and across generations, offering a nuanced view of contemporary homeownership challenges and strategies.

For those interested in understanding the practicalities of modern homeownership, our findings provide valuable perspectives. By learning from the experiences of a diverse group of homeowners, you can gain actionable knowledge on how to effectively manage and maintain your home, ensuring its long-term value and the maximization of your investment.

Proactive Home Maintenance Insights

In this segment of our study, we delve into the frequency with which homeowners perform regular maintenance for their common household appliances. This exploration not only looks at how often these tasks are performed but also assesses homeowners' initial knowledge and understanding of maintenance requirements. It's important to note that, within the scope of this study, maintenance encompasses a wide range of activities, from cleaning to routine checkups and repairs.

Home Maintenance Bad Habits

Transitioning from renting to owning your own home is a significant financial shift. Renters often have the luxury of relying on landlords or maintenance teams for appliance care, something that changes once you own your property. In fact, ownership is consistently found to be more costly than renting across all 50 states, with maintenance expenses being a notable contributor to this difference. Yet, it's worth mentioning that some of these costs can be mitigated with proactive upkeep.

From the feedback of the homeowners we surveyed, a prevailing trend emerged: the most common approach to appliance maintenance is reactive rather than preventive, with repairs typically made only after a malfunction occurs. A significant portion of participants did not view themselves as well-versed in appliance maintenance upon becoming homeowners. Among the appliances, sinks emerged as the most frequently maintained (45.1%), followed by dryers (40.1%) and washing machines (39.3%).

This sheds light on the importance of not only staying on top of regular maintenance tasks but also the value in enhancing one's understanding of how to care for and preserve the longevity of household appliances.

Major Appliance Maintenance

As our investigation progressed, we shifted focus from the everyday appliances to the heavy hitters of the household: major appliances. These are the units that can pack a punch in terms of replacement or repair costs. We asked our respondents to evaluate their expertise in maintaining these vital pieces of home equipment.

Home Maintenance Bad Habits

A notable insight from our findings is that homeowners were least familiar with the maintenance of water softeners. If you're not up to speed on water softeners, they are essential for removing calcium and magnesium from your water supply, preventing the buildup of hard water that can wreak havoc on everything from your plumbing to your skin and hair. And when things go south with a water softener, repair costs can range between $150 to $735, highlighting the importance of routine care.

Air conditioning systems also surfaced as a critical area where knowledge was lacking. The costs for AC repairs can vary widely, from as low as $20 to as high as $1,900, depending on the nature of the issue. A fundamental aspect of AC maintenance, changing the filters, was notably less common among millennials. Only a quarter of all participants considered themselves to be well-informed on air conditioning maintenance, underscoring a gap in knowledge that could lead to higher costs and discomfort down the line.

Our study underlines the importance of familiarizing yourself with the intricacies of major appliance maintenance. Not only can this knowledge prevent costly repairs, but it also ensures the longevity and efficient operation of essential home systems.

Most Common Malfunctions

Despite the best efforts of homeowners, it's inevitable that appliances will experience hiccups or outright failures over their lifespan. Our study next turned its attention to identifying which malfunctions are most frequently encountered in homes today.

Home Maintenance Bad Habits

Appliance breakdowns are a common part of homeownership. A significant 42% of those surveyed reported experiencing issues with their refrigerator, a situation that can lead to considerable expense. On average, replacing a refrigerator can set an American back by about $1,500, and that's before factoring in installation costs.

Even more common than refrigerator issues are problems with the washing machine. Nearly half of all homeowners, 49.9% to be precise, have faced either substantial repairs or the need for a full replacement of their washing machine. Facing a potential expense of over $2,000 for a new unit highlights the critical importance of regular maintenance to sidestep such hefty outlays.

But what measures are homeowners taking to keep their washing machines in optimal condition? As we delve further, we'll explore the maintenance practices that could either prevent or precipitate these widespread appliance malfunctions.

Washing Machine Woes

Given that washing machines frequently face breakdowns, incurring significant repair or replacement costs, we aimed to dig deeper into how homeowners care for these essential appliances. Our investigation extended to dryer maintenance and overall laundry practices.

Home Maintenance Bad Habits

Surprisingly, over half of the participants admitted to not cleaning out the dryer's lint filter after each use. This oversight not only increases drying times and strains the dryer's components but also elevates the risk of household fires due to the combustible nature of lint.

When it comes to adhering to standard laundry practices, less than half of the respondents were on board. Only 48.3% make it a practice to separate linens from regular clothes, and a similar proportion, 47.8%, sorts laundry by color. While these lapses mainly affect the lifespan and appearance of the clothing, they also introduce unnecessary costs. Engaging in simple actions, such as checking pockets before washing and leaving the washing machine lid open after use, can significantly extend the appliance's life.

Interestingly, our findings also highlighted gender-specific tendencies in laundry habits. Women were more inclined to report leaving damp clothes in the washing machine overnight, necessitating a rewash, whereas men were more apt to neglect cleaning the dryer lint trap regularly. Both habits contribute to wear and tear on the machines, potentially compromising their functionality and longevity.

Doing the Dishes and Cleaning the Kitchen

Once we saw how common bad laundry habits were, we thought we would take a closer look at the kitchen. How were homeowners approaching things like doing the dishes and maintaining their oven?

Home Maintenance Bad Habits

Respondents appeared less responsible in the kitchen than the laundry room. The majority (65.3%) were pre-rinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, contributing to water waste, though 52.4% did admit to some responsibility by making sure to check dishes were dishwasher-safe before running them through the cycle. That said, 27.3% were overfilling their dishwasher — a common source of wear and tear — but baby boomers were the generation most likely to do so.

Where ovens were concerned, millennials actually appeared the most responsible, or at least checked their ovens for hot spots the most often. Hot spots are the areas in the ovens that actually cook the food at a higher heat than other areas. Being unaware of this can not only ruin dinner (wasting food, money, and time), but it can cause melting and leakage of food onto the oven itself. To test your hot spots, you can use a simple and inexpensive sugar trick.

Keeping Up With Your Home

Maintaining a home, as respondent data demonstrated, is no easy task. There’s actually a lot to consider even beyond the structural integrity of the house. Maintenance of everything from dishwashers to ovens and air conditioners is required to keep things running smoothly, though many of our respondents shared a general lack of knowledge about how to do so. However, no matter how responsible or knowledgeable you are, breaks are bound to happen, so don’t beat yourself up.

When you need a repair, Sears Home Services is here to help. We have experienced and trained technicians available locally, who can readily help with your next appliance repair or maintenance project. You can also ask your technician about saving with a home warranty, which covers multiple appliances and systems within your home. We know home ownership can feel like a lot, so feel free to call in the experts anytime you need.

Methodology

We surveyed 1,044 current homeowners about their experiences and habits around appliances and home maintenance. Respondents were 51.5% women and 48.1% men. One respondent identified as gender queer, two respondents were non-binary and one respondent chose not to disclose gender.

For all questions pertaining to specific appliances, only respondents who reported having each appliance answered more detailed questions about them.

Respondents were asked to rate their knowledge of different home appliances when they first became homeowners. They were given the following scale of options:

  • Not at all knowledgeable
  • Somewhat knowledgeable
  • Moderately knowledgeable
  • Very knowledgeable
  • Extremely knowledgeable

Questions about laundry habits, dish washing habits and appliances that have malfunctioned were asked as check-all-that-apply questions, so percentages will not equal 100%.

Limitations

The data we are presenting rely on self-report. There are many issues with self-reported data. These issues include, but are not limited to, selective memory, telescoping, attribution, and exaggeration.

Fair Use Statement

Home ownership often comes with a lot of new responsibilities that can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve never had to deal with a broken water heater or leaking dishwasher. If someone you know would benefit from the information in this project, you may share for any noncommercial reuse. Please link back here so the project and its methodology can be viewed in full. This also gives credit to our contributors, who make this work possible.

Schedule kitchen appliance maintenance now!

Regular kitchen appliance maintenance can help prevent costly breakdowns, reduce energy costs and extend the life of your appliances. We'll help you keep your refrigerator, dishwasher and range in top shape.

Call (213) 596-2538 or schedule online now.

Was this content helpful?

Related Articles

Making a home maintenance plan

Make your home maintenance plan for the new year with Sears Home Services.

8 min readApr. 05Kitchen Appliances
9 Filters in Your Home You Don’t Know About — and How to Clean or Replace Them

There are many filters in your home that often go unnoticed, but they play a vital role in maintaining cleanliness and efficiency.

6 min readApr. 03Kitchen Appliances
Mom and son do laundry together

Looking to reduce your water consumption and make a positive impact on both your wallet and the environment? Explore effective strategies to minimize water usage in your household appliances, from washing machines to dishwashers.

9 min readApr. 02Kitchen Appliances