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October 03, 2019 | home-buying

Keep Your House in Tip-Top Shape: A Handy Home Maintenance Checklist


Anyone who’s ever tried to fit a home repair project into their busy lifestyle knows that things always go smoother with a schedule. The same can be said for around-the-house tasks, too. Even the most simple home maintenance tasks—from cleaning out your sinks to tidying up your garage—can sometimes fall by the wayside without a proper place in your calendar. That’s why we put together this helpful house maintenance schedule for those homeowners who need a little extra help taking care of their investment. We break down a year’s worth of activities into monthly, quarterly, and annual maintenance tasks that will help you get your home ready for summer (and beyond).

MONTHLY

  • Inspect, and Possibly Change out HVAC Filters. Many experts will say to change the filters monthly, but that’s not always necessary. For smaller families without pets or allergies, you may be okay changing the filters every 2-3 months. If the filter is dirty, change it out; if not, inspect it again next month. Go with cheaper filters and replace them more often versus going with the expensive filters.
  • Clean Kitchen Sink Disposal. When it comes to sink disposal, the best all-around solution seems to be vinegar ice cubes. Put some vinegar in an ice tray and let it freeze. Once frozen, run the ice cubes through the disposal system. Not only will this freshen the system, but the ice will also actually help keep the blades sharp!
  • Clean Range Hood Filters. If this is your first time cleaning your range, you’re in for a real, ah, treat when you get that filter off the hood. Don’t panic, though! Use a degreaser from an auto parts store mixed with hot water. Let the cleaner sit for a few minutes, rinse it off, and you’re good to go.
  • Inspect Your Fire Extinguisher(s). This one should be pretty straightforward: ensure your extinguisher is easily accessible (i.e., not blocked by a garbage can); check to see if the pressure on your gauge is adequate; make sure there are no visible signs of wear and tear.

QUARTERLY

  • Test Smoke/Carbon Dioxide Detectors. Most detectors should have a ‘test’ button. If the alarm sounds, you’re good to go. If not, replace the batteries in the device immediately and test again. If it still doesn’t seem right, there may be corrosion on the battery terminal, preventing it from detecting new batteries. Clean it and try again; if it still doesn’t work, you’ll likely need a new detector.
  • Test Garage Door Auto-Reverse Feature. In 1993, a new federal law required all garage doors to add this feature after multiple child deaths. Test your system every month by placing a 2×4 on the ground where the door would close. It should reverse after a second or so when the door hits the wood. You should also test the photo-electric sensors by placing an object in front of them. If the door doesn’t immediately go back up, you have a problem.
  • Run Water and Flush Toilets in Unused Spaces. This mostly applies to guest bathrooms or any other water sources you don’t use regularly. Regularly running water through these systems will help you prevent grime or any different kind of build-up.
  • Check Your Water Softener and Add Salt (If Needed). You shouldn’t need to add salt every month, but better to check anyway. It should only take you five seconds.

BIANNUALLY

  • Test Your Water Heater’s Pressure Relief Valve. This will prevent mineral and corrosion buildup, which safeguards against leaks. It will also help your heater run more efficiently.
  • Give Your House a Deep Clean. Designate one Saturday every six months for your family to perform a deep clean of your whole house. Include appliances, windows, and those hard-to-get places you usually avoid (like the basement or the crawlspace). Keeping things fresh and not letting dirt/grime/dust build up over years and years will help keep your home in tip-top shape.
  • Replace Batteries in Smoke/Carbon Dioxide Detectors. You may be tempted to wait until your detector starts beeping to make a change. Change them out every six months. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • Vacuum Your Refrigerator Coils. The fridge can use up to 15 percent of your home’s total power, so you want it running as efficiently as possible. You can save up to $100 a year by keeping your coils clean, and it’s not at all a difficult task.

ANNUALLY (BY SEASON)

Spring

  • Check the exterior drainage;
  • Clean out your gutters;
  • Get your air conditioning system ready for summer;
  • Repair/replace damaged window screens;
  • Clear dead plants/shrubs from the house;
  • Check trees for interference with electric lines.

Summer

  • Landscape your lawn and garden;
  • Check and repair tiles throughout your house;
  • Inspect plumbing for leaks;
  • Clean aerators on faucets;
  • Take care of any insect problems you may have;
  • Clean and repair deck/patio as needed;
  • Clean out window wells of debris;
  • Check and clean dryer vent (and other exterior vents);
  • Clean your garage.

Fall

  • Flush water heater and remove sediment;
  • Winterize air conditioning systems;
  • Get heating system ready for winter;
  • Turn off and flush outdoor water faucets;
  • Get chimney cleaned, if you have one;
  • Check driveway/pavement for cracks.

Winter

  • Test your electricity to the extent that you can;
  • Tighten any handles or doorknobs;
  • Check all locks and deadbolts on your doors and windows;
  • Check caulking around showers and bathtubs;
  • Remove showerheads and clean sediment.

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