On any given day, we have a lot on our minds and a million things to do. Even when the nation is largely on lockdown due to a virus, you likely still have work to do, bills to pay, meals to cook and workouts to push through. And behind the scenes, we all depend on our homes to keep quietly humming along.
But our homes only keep up with us if we take good care of them in return. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we have a tendency to take care of the obvious things, such as wiping down surfaces, vacuuming and taking out the trash, but it’s harder to remember to maintain the things that aren’t in such plain sight.
So when you’re putting together your next to-do list, make sure these six commonly neglected home maintenance tasks make the cut!
1. Change your air filters on time
Depending on your system and the type of filters you purchase, you may need to change or clean your air filters as often as monthly, every three months or every six months. Pay attention to the needs of your system, and be diligent about setting reminders to change the filters on time. Clean filters allow your equipment to run more efficiently, which results in energy savings when it comes time to pay those bills.
2. Clean your dryer vents at least once a year
You probably already clean your lint filter regularly since it’s advised to do so between every load of laundry you run. However, the dryer vent is another story; have you ever cleaned that thing out? Well, you should. Not only does buildup in your dryer vent prevent your machine from properly drying your clothes, but it is also an extremely dangerous fire hazard!
It’s not too difficult to clean the vent out yourself — there are tons of DIY videos and articles about it — but you can always call in an appliance pro to do the job instead if it makes you feel more comfortable.
3. Do a monthly check on all your safety devices
It’s great that we have technology such as smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to alert us in the unfortunate case of an emergency, but those items only come to the rescue if they are functioning correctly. Once a month, test the batteries in all of your alarms and detectors, and change them if necessary.
If you have a fire extinguisher, you should check it monthly as well for any signs of damage or leaking. Make sure all members of your household know where the extinguisher is and how to use it. Depending on the type of fire extinguisher you have, it may require maintenance checks from a professional. Research your model to ensure you are up to date.
4. Inspect seasonally for cracks, holes or other openings
Gaps that allow air in or out of your home cause your heating and cooling systems to work harder to maintain a constant temperature. Any openings can also welcome in critters you probably don’t want inside. An easy way to tell if you have vulnerable spots is if any light is shining in from outside around your door or window frames. To keep pests out and your energy bills low, replace any failing weatherstripping and use caulk to fill in holes and gaps.
5. Tend to your plumbing
You should regularly check under all your sinks and around your faucets to make sure you don’t have any leaks. Water damage causes mold growth that can pose a significant health threat. If you notice any irregularities, call a plumber to help.
While you’re checking out all the plumbing fixtures, take the opportunity to clear out any drains that draining slowly. Skip the store-bought, chemical drain cleaners, which can be too harsh on your pipes and cause problems down the line. Opt for an all-natural mixture of baking soda and vinegar to dissolve any clogs.
How do you do it? Run some hot water down the drain first. Next, pour a half-cup of baking soda down first, and follow it up with a half-cup of vinegar. Let stand 5–10 minutes, and then flush it through with some boiling water. (Use the time the mixture is sitting in the drain to boil the water on the stovetop).
6. Pay attention to your outlets
Keep an eye on your wall outlets. If any of them become discolored, make noise or omit an odor, they may be improperly installed or putting you at risk of an electrical fire. Get an electrician in pronto to inspect anything out of the ordinary.
In addition, don't forget to purchase a Cinch home protection plan, which covers a majority of your built-in home systems and appliances you use most to help save serious time and money on repairs and replacements. Get a quote today!
The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.