Maybe this is the year to go on an adventure or take a business risk. Perhaps you've decided to cook healthier foods or save more money. The beginning of the new year is an opportunity for improvement, from spending more time with the family to elevating your career. But for many on-the-go busy working moms, merely maintaining the home can be a never-ending task. And without regular tuneups, you may face difficult and costly repairs down the road. If you want to make regular home maintenance your New Year's resolution, stay on track with this list, ranging from monthly to annual tasks. Identify tasks to complete every weekend, and your house will be a healthy, happy home for the long term.
Monthly Home Maintenance
- Inspect HVAC filters and replace if dirty. If you're a smaller family without pets or allergies, replacing filters every 2-3 months may be sufficient.
- Clean the kitchen sink disposal by running vinegar ice cubes through the disposal. Vinegar ice cubes help freshen and sharpen blades. Flushing with hot water and baking soda is another option.
- Degrease your range hood vent filter using an auto degreaser and hot water. Rinse the filter in the mixture in the sink for a few minutes to clean the filter.
- Clean out dirt and debris in the sink and tub drains with a drain stick.
- Ensure that your fire extinguisher is in proper working condition, including adequate pressure, intact locking pin, unbroken tamper seal, and no visible signs of wear or tear.
Quarterly Home Maintenance
- Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace batteries if no alarm sounds when you hit the “test” button.
- Check the water heater. Repair any leaks. If you live in an area with hard water, drain 1-2 gallons to reduce calcium buildup. Also, check the pressure relief valve to prevent mineral and corrosion buildup and keep it running efficiently.
- Check the water softener. Add salt if necessary.
- Clean faucets, showerheads, and aerators.
- Inspect weather stripping and caulking around doors and windows. Replace holes and cracks with new material.
- Lubricate hardware to help keep windows and doors in good shape, providing free and easy movement. Rid of sliding windows and doors of dirt, dust, and debris.
Semiannual Home Maintenance
- Give the whole house a proper deep clean. Keep your home in optimal shape by eliminating dirt, grime, and dust buildup from room corner to room corner.
- Vacuum refrigerator coils. As coils get dirty, the fridge will use more energy to run. Keep it running efficiently and save electricity with well-maintained coils.
- Exercise electrical breakers so all moving parts break through any grease and grime buildup and ensure proper operation. (Without opening for an extended time, a circuit breaker can have performance issues.)
- Test Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GCFI outlets), which detect dangerous current flow and instantly shut off the power. These electrical devices may damage or wear out.
Annual Home Maintenance
- Winter: Check for ice dams and remove icicles. Massive icicles can be hazardous to others and damage your home, as well as damage the foundation when melting.
- Spring: Inspect the home exterior for any winter damage. Check drainage and clean out gutters to avoid water damage. Make any necessary repairs, such as chipping paint, damaged siding, roofing leaks, holes in bricks or cracks in the foundation.
- Summer: Treat insect infestation with pest control. Ants, ticks, and termites can be particularly problematic during the summer months. Also, clear cobwebs and make sure after your summer vacation to look for any signs of bed bugs upon your return home.
- Fall: Winterize your home. Hire a pro to inspect your furnace and heating ducts. Trim nearby trees, caulk air leaks, replace the furnace filter, check insulation, wrap pipes and install storm windows and doors to increase energy savings.
What is your best home maintenance tip?