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A Home Maintenance Checklist

Being a homeowner comes with a lot of responsibility. The financial aspect is the responsibility that most homeowners dread and are most aware of. Having to pay for the home, furnish the home, pay for the utilities, pay the property tax, and all of the other expenses that are included is challenging. But another responsibility that comes along with being a homeowner is keeping the home maintained. A home does not stay in good condition on its own. A home wears and tears when people are living and using the home on a regular basis, but it also ages when people are not living there on a regular basis. A home needs to have people caring for it. In order to make sure that you are completing the right tasks in taking care of your home, here is a home maintenance checklist.

Maintenance to be done on a monthly basis:

  • Replacing HVAC filters. This is a simple task that, if not done, could result in more serious damage to the HVAC system and to your health. A dirty HVAC filter risks causing the HVAC system to overwork itself, which could result in it eventually failing. Then, a dirty HVAC filter can get damp, spreading mold throughout the system, eventually affecting the health of the inhabitants. To prevent this, buy new filters. The majority of filters are going to be disposable and fairly inexpensive to purchase new. Be sure to replace your filters with the same type of filter. Using the wrong filters can also cause more serious damage to the HVAC system.
  • Cleaning the garbage disposal. A sink disposal is a handy tool in a kitchen. Have scraps left over from dinner? Just put them down the sink instead of having to smell up your garbage. But just like any appliance, it has to be taken care of in order to stay useful. Two of the most helpful and cheap ways to clean a sink disposal are through using salt, ice, and water or vinegar, ice, and water. The salt/vinegar and water are going to help clean the disposal, while the ice is going to sharpen the blades.
  • Cleaning the range hood filters. This is one of those items that most people are not aware of. A range hood filter is found in the hood of a stove. It is used to collect grease. However, as it does its job, the grease and grime it collects can easily plug the filter. You will want to use an ingredient that is going to degrease the filter: dish soap or a degreaser from an auto store are both good options that will help your stove run more effectively.
  • Check the water softener. A water softener is used to make hard water soft. Hard water contains unwanted levels of lime, calcium, magnesium and iron. A water softener removes these unwanted minerals from the water. In order to function well, a water softener is going to need salt added to it on a regular basis. Every month, you should be adding salt to the softener, trying to keep the salt level above 50%.

Maintenance to be done on a quarterly basis:

  • Testing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are an inexpensive way to make your home safer. But these tools are useless if they are not functioning properly. To test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, first you need to inform any security system that may be linked to your detector that you are going to be testing these tools. Test both the alert noise and the ability of the tool to detect smoke or carbon monoxide. Set the alarm off using the “test” button and have someone in the farthest area of your house listen to see if they can hear the alarm easily. Test the smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector with test kits designed to test the systems.
  • Test the garage door reflexes. Everyone has heard of the horror stories where a young child is stuck between the floor and a closing garage door. In order to prevent this from ever happening, it is important to test the auto-reverse feature on your garage door. Open the garage door, place a box under the area where the door closes, and then close it. When the door comes down on the box, it should automatically start opening up again. Every garage door should be able to do this.
  • Use unused features. Items in a house that are supposed to be used regularly, but are not, need to still be turned on or used every couple of months in order to be maintained. This is especially true of any features that use water such as sinks, showers, and toilets. The water needs to flow through the drains and pipes in order to keep the systems functioning properly.

Maintenance to be done on a bi-yearly basis:

  • Change the batteries on the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Though you will be testing the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every month, every six months you should change the batteries on the detectors. Rather than waiting until you find the smoke detector or carbon monoxide detector out of battery power, changing the batteries every six months will ensure that you never reach a point where the detectors are off.
  • Clean the refrigerator coils. Not all refrigerator coils require cleaning. Black coils on the back of a refrigerator do not need to be cleaned. Standard refrigerator coils do. Cleaning the coils on a refrigerator is going to make your refrigerator more efficient, saving the amount of energy required to keep the refrigerator cool, which in return will save you money. Make sure to turn your refrigerator off, and then use a vacuum or a coil brush to clean the coils.

Maintenance to be done on a yearly basis:

  • Check the exterior of the home. The main areas to look at are going to be the drainage and the structure. For the drainage, make sure that when it rains, water does not head towards your house, but away from it. If the water is heading towards your home, you could have some serious problems with the structure of your home. For the structure, go around the house and make sure that there are no cracks or damage on the walls. If you do find damage, you may want to call in a professional to assess the severity.
  • Clean the gutters. With a year of collecting leaves, dirt, and twigs, your gutters are going to need to be cleaned out. It is important to do this before the rainy season comes. If your yard has a couple of trees near the roof, you may want to consider cleaning your roof twice a year. You will want to clean the area in front of the gutter and the actual gutter. This will prevent water damage on your roof.
  • Check the roof. Look on the roof to make sure that there is no damage. If there are cracks in the roof, you risk having damage on the inside of your home caused by leaks. To repair any damage you do find, consider hiring a professional if you have no previous experience fixing this type of work. Repairing the roof can be dangerous.
  • Clean the dryer. Though you may be cleaning the lint tray on a regular basis, that is not the only location that lint is collected. Every year, you should take the time to thoroughly clean your dryer, getting rid of the lint and grime that finds itself in other compartments. Excess lint risks causing a fire. Unplug your dryer, and then clean out the inside, the vent, and the motor by using a vacuum. You will have to remove the panel in order to reach all of these compartments.
  • Clean the washer. The dirt from your clothes and the residue from the detergent will build up in your washing machine. First, you should clean the dispensers. Second, for both a front loading and top loading washing machine, soak the inside of the machine with a full load of hot water and bleach for an hour. Start a cleaning cycle. When the cycle finishes, fill it up with hot water again, but this time with vinegar. Start the second cycle. If you have a front-loading washer, you will also want to clean the seals of the door as well. They easily collect grime that could eventually cause mold and a stench. It is best cleaned with bleach.

To make taking care of your home easier, consider planning specific days or times of the year that are always dedicated to taking care of the home. And make those dates a family affair. Having children be a part of maintaining the home will teach them to cherish the home that they live in. It does not have to be an annoying aspect of having a home. Divide the responsibility, have snacks, play music, and have everyone involved! By keeping up with your home maintenance, you are increasing the lifespan of your home.

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