It doesn’t matter whether you live in a tiny condo or a palatial mansion; you need to maintain your home. Without proper attention, various systems around your home will start to break down, failing to provide the efficient service you expect. While you might think that your home has unique needs due to its size, age or location, there are plenty of maintenance tasks that all homeowners need to complete on a regular basis. Get out your calendar and write these chores down, so you can keep your home humming healthily.
In addition to chores like cleaning the bathrooms and changing the sheets (which should probably be performed weekly) you need to do these maintenance tasks often to ensure your home is safe and efficient:
Change HVAC Filters
HVAC filters collect dust, dander, hair and anything else floating around in your air, so it doesn’t recirculate around your home. You need to install a clean filter about every month, either by washing a reusable type or replacing a disposable type.
Clean Range Hood Filters
Speaking of filters, you might not have known that there is one in the hood above your range. This filter also traps dust and dirt as well as grease from cooking foods. Most range hood filters are made of metal mesh, so you can wash yours with soap and water instead of buying an all-new one.
Inspect Fire Extinguishers
While rental properties must have a fire extinguisher on the premises, there is no such law saying homes must come equipped with one. Still, it’s a good idea to buy one and to check that it is accessible and works as expected.
As the seasons change, you should be shifting your home to fit the temperature and mood – but you should also be performing these oft-forgotten maintenance duties:
Test Smoke Alarms
In a life-or-death situation, you need to be able to trust your smoke alarms. That’s why you should verify their functionality every few months by pressing and holding the test button for a few seconds. If the sound is in any way not jarring – if it is weak or inconsistent – you need to change the batteries.
Run Water in Unused Spaces
You should go around to sinks, showers, toilets and faucets you don’t often use and run water through them for a brief period. This flushes away grime that might be developing somewhere in that plumbing line, so you can be certain they will work when you need them to.
Twice Per Year
Biannually – which in this case means twice per year, not once every two years – you need to make sure your house is as clean as it can be. These might not be the quickest, easiest maintenance tasks, but they must be done.
Dust and Vacuum Deeply
You might dust and vacuum every week like clockwork, but there are probably spots you frequently miss. Twice per year, you should perform a deep clean, moving furniture and getting on hands and knees to scrub – or else hiring someone who will.
Test Water Heater
Every six months, you should test the temperature and pressure relief (TPR) valve on your water heater. Over time, this valve can become stuck with mineral salt and rust, which could result in an explosion should your water heater malfunction. You can test the valve by operating the lever and looking for a gush of hot water through a drain pipe nearby.
Vacuum Fridge and Freezer Coils
The condenser coils that work to cool your fridge and freezer can attract dust and grime, making them work less efficiently and slightly increasing the risk of fire. You should use your vacuum’s hose attachment to suck the gunk up twice per year.
Spray for Insects
Every home is plagued by some kind of creepy crawly. Most pesticides are good for about six months; after that, you need to reapply or face insects invading your home.
These could be the most important maintenance tasks of all, even though they only need doing once per solar cycle. If you don’t do anything else – which is a bad idea, we might add – you should mark your calendar for these chores:
Renew Homeowner’s Insurance and Home Warranty
Your insurance and warranty policies are typically only good for one year. After that, you need to renew. You should take the opportunity to scope out other options; you might find that another company offers the best home warranty at the best price. Even if you don’t change providers, you might need to update information if you have made any additions or renovations within your home.
If you don’t clean your gutters, water won’t be effectively channeled away from your home, and water damage will occur. Fortunately, this is a job that can easily be outsourced to a neighborhood teen for $20 (or less, if you negotiate well).
Clear Dead Plants
Throughout the year, plants will pass on due to temperature changes or poor care. Whatever caused their demise, you need to clear dead plants out of your yard, especially if they are close to your home. They pose a fire hazard, they can attract pests, and they just plain don’t look good.
Tighten Knobs, Handles, Etc.
Take your handy-dandy screwdriver and visit all the things in your home that need a tighten or two. Door and drawer pulls, chair legs, outlet covers, etc. all get loose over time, and you can spend an hour or so searching them out and screwing them back in.
Home maintenance isn’t hard; it just takes time and a good memory. If you make a home maintenance binder, filled with a timeline for completing your home maintenance tasks, you can remember what you need to do and do it before it’s too late.