Your home is probably your greatest personal asset. A pro-active maintenance schedule for keeping it in tip-top condition is worth any time and money invested. Taking care of little things while they’re little can save you thousands of dollars and dozens of headaches in the future.
Some items should be tackled monthly for optimal upkeep, while others might only need attention once a year. Creating a maintenance schedule and marking it on your calendar will ensure that nothing gets overlooked.
Consider the following items for your calendar:
- Air conditioner/HVAC filter: Replace monthly for maximum efficiency.
- Garbage disposal: To freshen, disinfect and sharpen blades, make ice cubes from vinegar and grind them up in the disposal.
- Clean range hood filters: Soak in hot water with a de-greasing dish soap and ¼ cup baking soda.
- Inspect fire extinguisher: Make sure it is visible, unobstructed and in designated location. Make sure locking pin is intact and tamper seal is unbroken. Check for damage or corrosion.
- Test smoke & carbon dioxide detectors. Hold the test button until it beeps, then release. If sound is weak or absent, replace the batteries.
- Test garage door auto-reverse feature. Place a 2×4 under it and close it. The door should stop and reverse when it encounters the obstruction.
- Inspect water softener. Check for leaks and add salt if needed.
- Inspect gutters, downspouts, & scuppers. This should be done once in the spring and throughout fall to clear debris. Be sure downspouts are directed away from foundation.
- Flush A/C unit primary drain line. A build up of algae or debris can block the line.
- Test water heat pressure valve & drain. Pipes and unit can be damaged if water pressure is too high. Drain build up of sediment to prolong the life of the unit.
- Replace batteries in smoke & carbon dioxide detectors. Don’t wait until your batteries die. Replace twice a year.
- Vacuum refrigerator coils. If coils are not enclosed, removing dust buildup will improve efficiency and prolong the life of your fridge.
- Check/clean dryer vent. A build up of lint in the dryer vent will greatly reduce its efficiency and create a potential fire hazard.
- Check/replace exterior caulk. Inspect between siding & foundation and around vents, outlets, pipes and faucets. Apply fresh caulk on a regular basis to keep moisture out.
- Inspect roof. Catching potential problems before they start can save thousands of dollars and add years to the life of your roof.
- Clean chimney. If you use a fireplace during the winter, clean the chimney at the beginning of the season to prevent a chimney fire.
- Test sump pump. This pump prevents water buildup in a basement or crawl space. If it quits working, considerable damage can be done to your home’s foundation.
- Clean carpets. Vacuuming is great for the day-to-day cleaning but having them cleaned removes deeply embedded dirt and allergens.
Most of the items on the maintenance schedule are easy enough for a homeowner to do. Consider calling a professional if you’re in doubt about anything. Caring for your home will keep it in good condition for years to come without making unnecessary dents in your bank account.