You have a maintenance schedule for your car. Every 5,000 miles, you get the oil changed. At 10,000 miles, you have the air filter changed. You get your tires rotated. During the life of the car, you change fuel filters, transmission filters, power steering fluid, windshield wiper fluid, etc. It makes sense, since you want to keep driving your car, and you need it to be reliable! But did you know you also need to maintain your house? You want your home to provide a reliable, safe, and comfortable place to live. That means you need to have a home maintenance schedule.
It’s true, you don’t have oil to change in your house, but you do have filters to change! Your air conditioner uses filters to remove dust from the air, but the primary purpose isn’t to keep your lungs clear. They keep dust and particles from clogging the little cooling fins inside your heat pump. A little dirt prevents the system from cooling the air efficiently. When they get really dirty or clogged, air flow will decrease which puts strain on the blower motor and on the compressor. That can mean hundreds or thousands of dollars of repairs! So, first on your list, every month to three months depending on the filters you use, check and change your air filters.
Next on the list, your sink drains. They can easily get clogged with hair, food, grease, and dirt. Rather than wait for a clog, every three to six months, pour 1 cup of vinegar down the drain. Wait 15 minutes, then pour 2 cups of hot water down the drain.
Your range hood also gets clogged with grease. In a restaurant, they have set cleaning schedules for their range hood filters because dirty filters lead to fires. To clean your filter, remove it and rinse it with very hot water. If it is really dirty, soak it in hot water with Dawn soap for 15 minutes, then rinse with hot water.
Every month, check the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Also check your fire extinguishers.
Not everything requires monthly checks. First, back to your air conditioning. Those little fins need to be cleaned every year. You can hire a professional to do it, or you can buy cleaner at a store like Home Depot or Lowes and do it yourself for next to nothing. The fins on your outside unit also need to be cleaned. Spray cleaner on them and hose them off. Be careful not to bend any of the fins!
In the late fall and in the spring, clean your gutters and inspect the shingles and wood near the gutters for damage. Once a year, check all your shingles for damage, so you can catch any roof leaks before things get bad!
In the winter, remove dead tree and shrub branches from your property, especially around your house because they can attract termites.
Once a year, check your pipes under the sink and toilets for leaks. That includes the drain pipes and the incoming water lines. Also check the caulk around your sinks, toilets, and showers for damage and leaks.
Every six months to a year, clean your dryer vent. You’ll want to clean the exterior vent and the hose that runs from the dryer to the port on your wall. Blocked dryer vents are a major cause of house fires. Along this same line, have your chimney cleaned once a year, if you use it frequently, and every few years if you don’t.
Finally, if you live in an area with hard water, flush the hot water heater to remove any hard water sediment that has built up in the tank.
Be sure to look for advice on www.youtube.com for questions you have about doing any of these tasks!
If you keep this regular house maintenance schedule, you can easily prevent costly repairs down the road, while protecting your investment and your family.