The latest statistics show a U.S. homeownership rate of a little over 65%. It’s great owning your own home but it does come with responsibilities.
If you own a home, maintaining it in good working condition is a priority. While home maintenance feels expensive at times, neglecting it can cost you even more down the road. Keeping your home in good shape also ensures your resale value.
Make yourself a monthly home maintenance checklist so you get tasks done and avoid costly future repairs. Here are 10 tasks that are important for your checklist!
- Check HVAC System
Your heating and air-conditioning system is an expensive household appliance. Keeping it in good running condition makes the system last longer, saving you big on replacement expenses.
All HVAC systems eventually need replacing, but a well-kept system can last years longer than one that’s not well taken care of. Get your system checked by a professional in the spring and fall seasons.
Change the filter on your HVAC system when it’s dusty and dirty which is about every 30 days depending on the filter type. Not changing the filter is one of the most common home maintenance mistakes. Make sure you change yours regularly!
- Clean the Gutters
Your gutters are an integral part of your roof. They keep rainwater off the roof and divert it away from your home’s foundation.
Dirt, debris, and leaves cause clogging in your gutters which can lead to backups that damage the roof. Cleaning the gutters twice a year in the spring and end of fall keeps them clear of clogs.
Use a ladder and avoid walking around the roof while cleaning the gutters. Walking on the roof puts added wear and tear on the shingles.
If you’re unsteady on a ladder, hire a professional. Depending on the size of your home, it’s not super expensive and could save you a lot in medical bills if you fall off the ladder!
- Inspect the Roof
While you’re cleaning the gutters twice a year, inspect the roof for damage. Look for broken or missing shingles. Buckled or curling shingles can also indicate a problem.
Is there a lot of a black gravel-like substance in your gutters? This could be from old shingles that will soon need replacing.
Note any areas of sagging. Is there a lot of moss or algae on the roof? That can lead to damage and leaks if left untreated.
Do you have an attic? Go up in the attic and inspect the roof from underneath. Look for water spots and signs of moisture.
Unless you have some prior roofing experience, leave roof repairs to the professionals.
- Inspect the Home Exterior
Look for water damage around the foundation and make sure water has an avenue for flowing away from the home. Water shouldn’t pool around the home for more than about 24 hours.
If water runs toward the house, try grading with some dirt. If you can’t get the water flowing away from the house, call a professional.
Check for chipping paint, holes in the brick, and any holes where rodents and other pests can get in. Check for cracks in the foundation. You can usually fix these yourself with silicone caulking.
- Testing Smoke and Carbon Dioxide Detectors
Change the batteries and test your smoke and carbon dioxide detectors at least twice a year. An easy way to remember is to do this when the clocks change to and from Daylight Saving Time.
There is a low-battery alarm on your detectors but it’s safer to change them every six months. Don’t wait until you hear that obnoxious beeping noise.
If you live in Arizona or Hawaii where they don’t change the clocks, leave a reminder on your calendar.
- Test the Garage Door
Do you have an automatic garage door? Testing is crucial and could save a life so do it once a month.
Garage doors must have an auto-reverse feature as required by federal law. This law went into effect in 1993, since multiple children died from crush injuries from the doors.
The auto-reverse feature detects something in the way of the door, and the door goes back up on its own. Put a 2×4 board on the ground where the door closes. As the door hits the wood, it should go back up without you pushing the button.
If the door doesn’t go back up on its own, have a professional repair it immediately.
- Clean the Stove Hood Filters
You didn’t know there were filters in the stove hood? You’re in for a “treat,” but you might not like it!
Pull the filters out from the hood. Mix hot water with a degreaser and let the filters sit in the mixture for about 10 minutes. Rinse well.
If you’ve never done this before, you might need to scrub a little since the filters will be full of grease.
- Clean Garbage Disposal
Do this about once a month. Freeze some distilled white vinegar in ice-cube trays. Once frozen, run cold water in the sink while putting the ice cubes down the disposal.
The ice sharpens the blades while the vinegar freshens any lurking bad smells.
- Flush the Hot-Water Heater
Flush the water heater once a year to avoid damaging mineral buildup. Also, Test the water heater’s pressure relief valve twice a year. Look for instructions in your owner’s manual.
If you’re worried about doing this yourself, call a licensed plumber.
- Clean the Chimney
Do you have a fireplace that gets regular use in the winter? Make sure you have it professionally cleaned once a year.
Creosote is a byproduct of burning wood in the fireplace. Creosote buildup can start a fire that goes up the flue and ends as a dangerous house fire.
Home Maintenance Keeps Your Home Safe and Secure
Home maintenance is crucial for keeping your home safe and secure for many years. Avoid costly future repairs by following the tasks in this article.
From servicing your HVAC units to cleaning the chimney, keep your home running trouble-free for years. Don’t neglect your most valuable asset. Do the maintenance and avoid the headaches.
Looking for more home improvement tips? Keep reading the blog!