Homeownership is an exciting endeavor. Many people save up for years in order to buy their first home. The sense of accomplishment once you finally have it is a pretty good feeling. Unlike renting or apartment living, where someone else generally takes care of maintenance problems, homeowners have to stay on top of that themselves. Here are some of the little-known home maintenance tips that will keep your home in working condition and save time, money, and grief down the road.
15+ Home Maintenance Tasks That Most People Don’t Think About
There are certain tasks that come along with home ownership that is obvious and hard to forget. For example, re-doing your driveway every couple of years power washing the deck ahead of the summer season. These tasks, after all, are right in front of our eyes. We see them and they’re pretty hard to forget about. There are certain home maintenance tasks, however, that are less obvious. Unfortunately, if neglected, they can lead to big problems (and big costs) in the future. Follow these tips and save your future self a lot of trouble. (1)
1. Drain the Sediment From Your Hot Water Heater
Having your hot water heater stop working on you is highly unpleasant, especially considering this usually happens just when winter is giving you its worst. No one likes a cold shower when the temperature is already below freezing. Water heaters often stop working because of sediment build-up on the bottom of the tank. Prevent this from happening by draining some of the water out of the tank once a year.
2. Clear Out Rain Gutters
Cleaning up your roof’s rain gutters before winter is a very important part of home maintenance. If you don’t, leaves will clog up the downspout, preventing rain and melting snow water from flowing through. This will cause many issues, some of which can cause damage and a pretty big headache for you. Prevent those issues simply by cleaning them out before the bad weather strikes.
3. Check Out Your Shingles
Solving roofing problems is never a quick, inexpensive fix. Regularly inspecting your shingles for damage will prevent major problems from happening. If you notice broken, damaged, or missing shingles, replace them. If you don’t think you have the expertise to either inspect or repair a few shingles yourself, hire a professional. Even if you have to hire someone, you will still save yourself money in the long run from neglecting your roof.
4. Clean Your Dryer Vent
Most of us know to clean the lint off of the dryer’s lint trap after each use. What can also be a fire hazard, however, is the lint that gets caught in the dryer vent. This can burn your clothes and even start a full-on fire. To avoid this, periodically clean the vent using a flat vacuum and a large brush.
5. Furnace Upkeep
Not only is a cold shower not fun in the winter, but a broken-down furnace is arguably worse. The name of the game here is filters. Take the filters out and clean them off before your furnace gets going in the fall. This will prevent your furnace from breaking down so that your house stays warm when the weather gets cold.
6. The Air Conditioner
There is a filter on your air conditioner that is crucial to its proper functioning. Particularly after winter, it is very important to clean it off before you try turning it on for the warmer months. Whether it is an indoor or outdoor unit, you need to make sure that the screen filter isn’t clogged with dust, dirt, weeds or otherwise. These will cause the air conditioner to break down or not function properly just when you need it the most.
7. Test Your Smoke Detectors
The test button on your smoke detector really just makes sure that the machine makes some noise. To really test them, light a match underneath to make sure that it is actually detecting and alerting for smoke. Once that loud warning goes off, you know that your detectors are in good working order.
8. Clean Your Toilet Siphons
The toilet siphon is the u-shaped tube that connects the toilet bowl to the sewer or cesspool (aka lower reservoir) of the toilet. It’s a good idea to clean this every once in a while. All you need to do is fill the tank with one gallon of pure vinegar. The vinegar will naturally travel from the tank into the rim. Allow the vinegar to sit there for 24 hours before flushing and clearing it out. (2)
9. Reseal Stone Surfaces
Stone countertops in kitchens and stone flooring in bathrooms are beautiful and almost always on-trend. Unfortunately, they do require a certain amount of upkeep, otherwise all that spent money will go to waste. You have to reseal your stone countertops and floors every year. Purchase the right sealer for your type of stone and apply it with a rag. Once it’s dry, use a dry towel to wipe away extra sealer. Follow the instructions on the bottle for more specific directions.
10. Clean Your Chimney
If you have a classic wood-burning fireplace, then you need to clean it every once in a while. If you don’t you´ll have a dusty, smoky, fire hazard. Hiring a professional once a year is probably your best bet, however, you can try doing this on your own. You will need a ladder, protective goggles, plastic sheeting to block off the fireplace from the rest of the room, and a large chimney brush. Whether you hire someone or do it yourself, always make sure you clean it ahead of the winter and don’t use it until it’s been cleaned.
11. Clean Your Refrigerator Coils
You likely clean your fridge once or twice a year, at minimum. While that will help the inside of your fridge look and smell nice, it has nothing to do with the functionality of the appliance. The coils on the back, however, do. These tend to get covered in grease, dirt, pet hair – you name it. This causes them to have to put in extra effort to keep the refrigerator at the right temperature. The more energy they put out, the more money they put out. They could also eventually break down and stop working. Clean them off once every couple of months and save yourself a lot of money over time.