Whether you just moved in or have been living in your home for years, your home has so many regular maintenance needs that it often gets pushed to the bottom of your to-do list in the chaos that is everyday life. But to avoid huge costs down the line, it’s important to make a schedule and set reminders to keep your household running smoothly and cost-effectively. Here’s your guide to can’t miss home maintenance markers and how to handle them.
Replace Furnace and HVAC Filters
If you're a new homeowner, you especially need to check your furnace and HVAC filters upon moving in. Construction, pets and lack of maintenance can leave these filters filled with who knows what, including dangerous pollutants and misery-inducing allergens. They can also wreak havoc on your energy costs. Filters are easily checked and installed once you turn off your system, and they are available at the local hardware store. Just be sure to write down the make and model of your system before you head to the store, or order a new one and a few backups online. You should replace them every year.
Don't Forget About Pest Control
It’s easy (and sometimes necessary) to forget about that roach or mosquito you fought off in the bathroom this morning, but if you see one, there are more hiding just beneath the surface. Ignoring the early signs of an infestation can lead to disastrous and lengthy hotel stays down the line. Unfortunately, problems like termites can be hard to detect before they become a serious issue. There are ways to reduce your risk and check for early signs every three months, but your best bet is to have a professional check annually and get sprayed every three to five years.
Seal up Gaps and Cracks
Re-caulking windows and door jams can equal incredible energy savings and make for much more comfortable summer and winter months at home. Look for quality caulking that has movement capability between 25 and 50 percent. A hardware store employee should be able to help you select the right caulking for your particular windows. The best time to replace caulking (remove old caulk with a razor blade) is at the end of the summer when the climate is dry.
Check Smoke Detectors
Checking smoke detectors has always been as easy as pushing a button, but, as it turns out, not quite so effective. Consumer Reports found that smoke detectors, even when they still detect smoke, should be replaced every 10 years. It’s a small price to pay to avoid a huge risk.
Increase the Lifespan of Your Fridge
A little bit of knowledge and maintenance can vastly increase the lifespan of your refrigerator. Keeping spills cleaned up helps keep door gaskets from ripping and compromising the integrity of the seal, causing cold air to leak and your fridge to work overtime to compensate. It may not seem like a big deal, but gasket repairs can run in the hundreds of dollars. Clean the condenser fan and coils in less than 20 minutes with the an easy guide from thefamilyhandyman.com and little more than a screwdriver. Do this at least once a year (twice if your have pets).