A variety of apps can help you keep track of home maintenance tasks and put a little fun into the tedious side of homeownership.
Few homeowners would consider maintenance the fun part of owning a house. But you know what is fun? Playing with your iPhone. And a slew of apps designed to keep a home running smoothly aim to turn the chore into something of a game.
A home can seem like a mysterious structure, with large systems, pipes and wires that make little sense — and those are the ones that aren’t hidden behind ceilings and walls.
Rather than figure out these baffling systems, homeowners are tempted to ignore them. A Liberty Mutual report found that 80 percent of homeowners don’t have a plan or budget for home maintenance. Instead, they procrastinate.
“Home maintenance can quickly become onerous and overwhelming, especially for first-time homeowners who don’t fully appreciate how much goes into owning a home,” said Dan DiClerico, a smart-home expert for HomeAdvisor.
But load your phone up with enough satisfying checklists and opportunities to swipe right and you may not mind flushing out the water heater.
You can use apps to get alerts about routine tasks; create digital hubs to keep track of inventories and user manuals; use tools to delegate chores; and find information about how to get the work done.
“How do you make it engaging? How do you make it fun? How do you make it part of people’s lives?’” said Adam L’Italien, head of innovation for Liberty Mutual, which launched DwellBeing, a digital home maintenance tool, in June.
To break through the indifference, DwellBeing can create a to-do list tailored to your home, prodding an uninspired owner along with reminders and tips.
Unless something is broken, it can be hard to muster the energy to give it the occasional tune-up it needs. But wait too long and the list of chores around the house can feel endless. A digital ribbon around your finger might help.
HomeZada, for $59 a year, is like a dashboard for your home, with a home maintenance schedule that you can sync with your online calendars. The app provides a place to store photos, receipts, and documents, so you can catalog what color paint you used in the kitchen, how much you spent on all those cans and who you hired to do the work. The app also helps inventory household belongings, organize home finances, track your property value, and manage improvement projects.
Centriq is like a digital file folder for your home, where you can store user manuals, find warranties, and get tips on how to repair and maintain appliances. You can also upload receipts, photos, how-to videos and other household information.
Few of us enjoy doing chores (or nagging others to do them.) But technology can help bring a little playfulness to the grind.
Chore Pad, an app designed for children, lays out their list of responsibilities in a cheery, colorful pallet with plenty of check marks, stars and digital rewards.
HomeRoutines, for the grown-ups, offers daily reminders for all the stuff that needs to get done. You can organize chores by day of the week, time of day (like morning or evening tasks) and create “focus zones” so each room gets its day to shine, or in this case be shined.
GETTING THE JOB DONE
Sure, you may get a reminder that you need to clean the dryer vent, but if you have no idea how to do that or who to call to do it for you, a push alert is just another annoying disruption. In come the apps meant to show you how to do the work, or help you find a contractor who can.
DIY Tip Genius, for the self-motivated homeowner who wants to tackle projects. The app offers tips for painting, woodworking, caulking and even trickier tasks like installing cabinets and countertops.
TaskRabbit, for the times you’d rather hire someone to do the work, connects you with 140,000 vetted professionals.
No matter how many apps you install to send you cheerful checklists and reassuring alerts, when the time comes to change the flapper on the toilet, you still have to roll up your sleeves and do it. For that, there is no app, at least not yet.