Your home is one of the biggest investments you make in your lifetime. But, while renovating and remodeling is typically preferred because it adds value to the home (in most cases), it is actually more important to make sure your home runs like a well-oiled machine. That’s where a monthly home maintenance schedule comes in handy. Here are a few things that you should take a look at on a monthly basis in order to ensure your home runs as smoothly as possible. These projects are pretty easy and don’t take a lot of time, so you’ll be able to move on to much more exciting projects before you know it.
Testing the Smoke Detectors
Obviously, the smoke detectors are one of the most important safety features in a home. Without functioning smoke detectors, many different issues can arise, including carbon monoxide buildup or death.
Be sure to clean and dust these units, inside and outside the smoke detector housing unit, on a monthly basis. This ensures that the dust or grime doesn’t trigger false alarms, which can be pretty annoying. After all, we’ve all heard the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” story.
If you hear non-alarm beeping coming from the units, replace the battery. This may seem unnecessary because most building code says that smoke detectors have to run off power from the house, these batteries serve as backup for when those pesky power outages happen.
Cleaning the Gutter
When I talk to clients about their least favorite things to do when it comes to home maintenance, they usually tell me that they hate cleaning gutters. But… it’s important!
Cleaning out your gutters on a monthly basis helps prevent clogging and allows proper draining. It also prevents ice damming.
A few safety tips: Use a sturdy ladder to reach the gutters and be sure to move the ladder where you never have to extend farther than an arm’s length away from yourself. Also, do not do this chore during the cold winter months or after it has rained. Ladders are prone to slipping, which can mean big hospital bills for you.
You’ll also want to clean out the strainer in the downspout with a screwdriver and water. Once you’ve put it back in place, use a hose to clear away all the remaining debris.
Testing the GFCI Outlets
This is just a fancy word for your typical outlet. You can check out the functionality of the outlet by plugging a light in, and then hit the “test” button and the light should turn off. Hit the “reset” button to turn the light back on. This helps you stay on top of short circuits or overheating of electrical wiring. If there is an issue with the outlets, be sure to call a licensed electrician.
Checking the Water Heater
Oh, water heater maintenance… I recently wrote for this site on how to drain your water heater, and while this is an important part of water heater safety and efficiency, it only needs to be done once every year or so.
What needs to be checked on a monthly basis is the water heater’s safety valve. All water heaters have a Temperature Pressure Relief valve on top of the tank. This helps prevents explosions and other water heater disasters. The valve is labeled “test”. Turn it. When you do, water should rush out down the tube mounted on the side and into a drip pan (the one you’ve placed there) or into a drain. If nothing comes out, or very little comes out, it’s probable that this will need to be replaced by a professional plumber.
Cleaning Drains and Sinks
Cleaning your drain or sink goes well beyond just getting rid of clogs when they happen. Minerals from hard water, coffee grounds (if you’re into that type of thing), hair, and other contaminants begin to slowly clog pipes and your disposal, which can do a lot of damage. If you dump 1-2 cups of pure white vinegar down the drain each month, you can prevent these issues from piling up.
The same goes for regular sinks. All sorts of things can get caught in the mesh wiring and the drain itself, so cleaning this is imperative to healthy plumbing. Use a nylon brush and vinegar to clean the mesh cover, and then wash away the vinegar with water once the piece is back in place.
Taking care of these home maintenance areas can save you a lot of money in repair bills and electricity bills. It may not seem like it, but much of this has a direct effect on your home’s energy use. Not only will you save a little money, you’ll also have the peace of mind in knowing that your house has been maintained for the month.
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