Your house is likely going to be the biggest investment in your life. More than the initial cost and mortgage, according to a survey, a U.S. household spends an average of $13,138 in 2020 on home repair, maintenance, and services, with a $4, 000 increase year-over-year.
The good news is that you can avoid unnecessary expenses with some regular preventive maintenance. By routinely checking your plumbing, water heaters, or other systems, you can avoid repairs and emergencies.
Maintenance can be worked into your budget so you can foresee the costs. But repairs and emergencies are unpredictable, which means they can ultimately draw from the funds that you’ve allocated to other matters.
So, be vigilant in taking care of your property. If you don’t know where to start, here are some pointers to help you.
What To Check Every Month
Kitchen Sink Disposal
Cleaning the sink disposal can be tricky but the solution is actually pretty simple.
Pour vinegar into an ice tray and let them freeze. Once you have vinegar ice cubes, run them through the kitchen sink disposal. Doing this will freshen up your system as well as help keep the blades sharp.
Range Hood Filters
Your range hood has an accessory that filters out grease, dirt, and other contaminants above your cooktop. The three most popular types are:
- Stainless steel baffle filters
- Aluminum mesh filters
- Charcoal filters
Regardless of which one you have, you need to clean it monthly. You can do this by mixing hot water with a degreaser (which you can purchase from an auto shop store). Let the filter sit in this solution for a few minutes.
After rinsing and drying your filters, return them to your range hood and they should be good to go.
Heating Ventilation and Air-Conditioning Filters
Inspect your HVAC filters every month but only change them as needed. Many professionals say that filters need to be changed monthly. However, this may not be the case depending on its size and type.
For smaller households without pets, changing filters can be done every two to three months.
If you do need to change HVAC filters more frequently, it is advisable to use cheaper filters to save some money.
Regardless of your knowledge of how to use a fire extinguisher, the inspection doesn’t require much time or effort. All you need to do is check if:
- It is easily accessible and not being blocked by anything
- The gauge shows adequate pressure
- There are no visible signs of wear and tear
Things To Inspect Quarterly
A water softener is the whole-house filtration system, which filters out hardness-causing calcium and magnesium minerals from your water via ion exchange. If the brine tank runs out of salt, it doesn’t soften the water.
It’s best practice to check it every quarter, although you should only add salt as needed.
Water Sources and Flushing in Unused Spaces
If your home has multiple bedrooms, you’d want to run the water and flush toilets in the rooms that aren’t used frequently. When water regularly runs in these systems, grime and other types of build-up are prevented.
You should also include the following to your routine:
- Checking bathtubs and sinks for debris and unclogging them if needed.
- Removing accumulated sediment in your water heater by flushing out hot water.
Smoke and Carbon Dioxide Detectors
With a working smoke alarm, the risk of dying in a home fire is decreased by at least 50%, so make it a habit to check your detectors regularly — every quarter is ideal.
When checking, look for the test button in your smoke and carbon dioxide detectors. Everything is good if the alarm sounds. If they do not, replace the batteries with fresh ones.
If they still don’t work after that, there may be corrosion in the battery terminal, making it unable to detect the new batteries. This can be remedied by cleaning and testing the detectors again.
At this point, if it still doesn’t work, then you most likely need to buy a new smoke or carbon dioxide detector.
Garage Door and Its Auto-Reverse Feature
Due to multiple child deaths, it was required in 1993 by federal law that all garage doors have a working auto-reverse feature.
You can test your garage door by placing 2×4 wood on the ground. When it hits the object, it should reverse after a second. If it doesn’t, then you need to get your garage door repaired.
When it comes to your home, little things can snowball into bigger problems, and bigger problems lead to bigger expenses. Save money and save yourself from stress by being proactive.