If you’re a homeowner, you’re well aware that home maintenance is part of the package. When it comes to maintenance it can range from simple to tedious.
As we roll into the new year, we’re listing some of the simple resolutions you can set for yourself around your home, helping prevent costly repairs, giving your home a fresh feel, and even keeping you and your family healthy.
Just a heads up, some of these tasks should be done more frequently than once a year, but we understand if it slipped your mind, it’s been a hectic year!
Clean And/Or Change Filters
Each home is fitted with different equipment and appliances – various brands and models ranging from, well, ancient to brand new. For example, a furnace from 1995 will likely require different maintenance procedures than a furnace replaced in 2015. In order to keep this equipment in tip top shape and to prevent costly repairs, or replacements, it’s critical that you clean and/or replace filters, based on manufacturer recommendations. Below are a couple types of common types of filters you likely have in your home:
- Air conditioner/furnace filter: When it comes to your air conditioning system, think of all of the dust and dander that accumulates inside of it. It shouldn’t take more than a couple minutes to swap the old filter in with the new and it not only enhances efficiency, but can also make a big difference in air quality.
- Refrigerator water filter: Nowadays, many refrigerators have the capability to dispense water and ice. While this is convenient, the water and ice must be filtered for contaminants and small particles. This will not only help keep you and your family healthy, but it can also help with unpleasant tastes and odors. Refer to your owner’s manual for recommendations.
Other appliances and equipment that may contain filters include dishwashers, air purifiers, range hoods, dehumidifiers, and window air conditioner units.
Ensure Your Smoke And Carbon Monoxide Detectors Are In Working Order
It doesn’t take much to spark a fire… a wire could be frayed, a space heater could be too close to a blanket, the possibilities are endless.
Same goes for a carbon monoxide leak, a faulty piece of equipment could be to blame, leaving you and your family at risk.
While it’s not something that usually crosses our minds, it’s important that we’re prepared if the unthinkable were to happen. Replace the batteries and perform a test to make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order. Think of it this way, spending a few dollars on new batteries and sparing a few minutes of your time could save lives.
Cut Down On Utilities
Maybe another one of your resolutions in the new year is to get your finances in order and set a budget for yourself. Is your gas bill out of control? Or your water or electric bill? Maybe all three? Now is the time to evaluate your usage and see where you can cut back. If your windows are older, consider placing weatherstripping along the edges to cut back on drafts. And it goes without saying, turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth. Leaving the water running for two minutes straight adds up over time. And when you walk out of a room, turn off the lights or the TV. These small, easy changes can make a huge difference when it comes to saving money on utilities.
If these changes don’t seem to do the trick, you may want to look further into the problem and see if repairs or upgrades need to be made.
Steam Clean Your Carpets
Have you been wondering what that weird, lingering, not so pleasant smell in the corner is? Or maybe that stain in the middle of the living room has been eating at you for months now, but you haven’t brought yourself to get rid of it. Pets, kids, and everything in between – they can wreak havoc on our carpets. But having fresh, clean carpet is a fairly simple task.
If you want to pass the task off to someone else, you can hire a professional to come in and clean your carpets, which will usually run you a couple hundred dollars. If you find that your carpets are in need of cleaning on a regular basis, it may be in your best interest to take matters into your own hands and invest in a carpet cleaning machine. These can be found online or at any big box retailer, for a couple hundred dollars. Lastly, if your carpets don’t need to be cleaned as often but you’d still rather do it yourself, renting a steam cleaner, such as a Rug Doctor, may be in your best interest.
Clean Your Washing Machine/Dryer
This is something most of us likely don’t think about it considering our washing machine is supposed to WASH and CLEAN our clothes. But think about it, all of the dirt, sweat… well you get the point, goes through your washer on a regular basis, which can create a breeding ground for germs.
Next time you pay a visit to the grocery store, check out the different products intended to clean your washing machine. You may also want to do some research online and check out some of the common everyday household cleaning products that can be used to clean your washer.
When it comes to the dryer, cleaning the lint trap out after each drying cycle is highly recommended. It’s also suggested that you do a thorough cleaning to ensure there is no lint buildup in places it shouldn’t be. Lint buildup may not only lead to decreased efficiency, but it may also pose a fire hazard.
Clean The Buildup Off Your Sinks, Showers, And Anywhere Else It May Collect
It’s unsightly, but inevitable. Whether it’s from soap scum or hard water, buildup on your sinks, showers, and everything in between can be tackled. When it comes to calcium buildup, hard water may be the culprit. If you don’t have a water softener, it may be in your best interest to invest in one. Along with your showers and sinks, your skin will thank you as well.
If you find yourself shaking your head at excessive buildup, next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up a bottle of CLR or something likewise. This will help cut through the buildup, making your sinks and showers buildup free!
Paint… Or Just Do Some Touching Up
Painting a room, or your entire house, can completely change the atmosphere. Now that we’re in the winter months, this is a great time to give your home a fresh new coat of paint. On the other hand, maybe your home doesn’t need a whole makeover, but there are some nicks in the walls that need to be patched and painted. Again, this is an easy, inexpensive fix that will not only make your home look better, but it will likely make you feel better.
Freshen Up Your Garbage Disposal
Let’s face it, your garbage disposal has likely been through the ringer, seeing its fair share of food scraps, liquids, and everything else that it’s capable of getting rid of. After awhile, any left over scraps may begin to smell. Lucky for you, cleaning your garbage disposal is a simple task. It’s recommended that you run a tray of ice cubes through it, along with baking soda or lemon rinds (yes, lemon rinds). And just like that, your garbage disposal will be nice and fresh.
Do Some Dusting And Wipe Down Your Baseboards
Dust tends to accumulate rather quickly, and we may not realize how dusty our homes are until the sunshine beams in through our windows and brings it to our attention. Whether you use a duster, paper towel, or whatever method you may have, dusting your home can make a huge difference. And if you’re finding yourself stuffed up ad sneezing, dusting may rid some of those allergens.
When it comes to baseboard, these also tend to gather dust and grime over time. Giving them a fresh scrub can do wonders!
Clean Out Your Basement
Depending on your situation and how much stuff you have, this could be an easy project, or it could be a complete overhaul. Consider going through your stuff to see what you’d like to keep and what you’d like to get rid of. When it comes to the things you’d like to keep, you may want to store them away in plastic totes versus cardboard boxes. The reason – basements tend to hold moisture and if your basement is at risk of flooding, a disaster could be on the horizon, ruining your possessions. Also, be sure to label these boxes so when you’re in need of something, you don’t find yourself tearing through each box.
Once you get things in order, consider doing a deep clean. And just like that, so long are the days of dreading going down to the basement!