DIY Home Maintenance Tasks
Just like an automobile needs regular maintenance to keep it running well and prevent major problems, a home also needs regular attention.
Listed below are the top 21 DIY home maintenance items that you can do to prolong the life of your place and keep costly expenses at bay.
Clean away Dirt from Refrigerator Coils
Most refrigerators have a series of coils on the back of the refrigerator. If they become clogged up with things like dust, pet hair, or even cobwebs, it can cause some serious troubles.
The coils release heat, which allows the refrigerator to continue working properly. The excess dust and dirt cause the motor to get too hot and work more than necessary. This can cause the machine to stop working completely.
It is a simple job to use a vacuum to clean them off. Aim for two times a year to keep them clean and working efficiently.
Get Rid of Sediment in the Water Heater
The water that pumps through a water heater contains sediment. Over time, the sediment can build up at the bottom of the heater.
If the heater is powered by gas, the sediments can form a hot spot. This spot can cause the water heater to fail.
For an electric-powered water heater, the sediments are notorious for interfering with the heating element.
These issues can be avoided by simply removing the sediment once a year. Helpful YouTube videos show the proper steps to getting rid of the debris.
Avoid Fires by Cleaning Out The Dryer Vent
The same bit of lint that is common in the clothes dryer filter near the dryer door is also deposited in the exhaust vent of the dryer. Over time, the accumulation can clog up the entire vent and lead to a fire.
If the laundry room is near the middle of the home, this can be an ideal situation for a potential fire. The long duct that works its way out of the home to the exterior can be a place for lots of it to pile up.
Also, the flapper at the end of the duct that connects to the outside can become clogged. If the flapper or the duct line gets clogged up, it can cause the dryer to run longer to dry clothes.
To clean out the dryer duct, simply disconnect it from the dryer and use a vacuum to remove the lint. A flapper can be easily cleaned with a paper towel and an all-purpose cleaner.
Add Oil to Springs on Garage Doors
Springs need a bit of oil periodically to keep them moving well. The constant pressure and metal-to-metal rubbing can deteriorate the spring over time.
Adding a bit of oil to the springs will allow them to work more freely and extend their usefulness. Most hardware stores carry various types of grease or oil specifically designed for the springs used in garage doors.
Prevent Rain Leaks by Clearing out Weep Holes on Windows
If your home has sliding windows, there likely are weep holes at the bottom of the window frames. The holes allow excess rainwater to drain on the exterior side of the home.
However, if the hole gets covered by debris or dead bugs, the heavy rain can leak into the place.
Check around the bottom of the frames of the windows and locate the holes. Make sure they are clear of any foreign matter. This should be done at least twice a year, ideally once every 3 months.
Check Water Pressure
If the pressure of the water flowing through your plumbing pipes gets too high, it can cause damage to the dishwasher and the refrigerator. Not to mention, it could cause a huge, wet mess.
Thankfully, checking the pressure is relatively simple. A gauge from a hardware store can be purchased inexpensively. Then it is simply a matter of connecting the gauge to your faucet in your kitchen or bathroom and reading the pressure.
If the pressure is too high, you may need the help of a licensed plumber to replace a high-pressure valve.
Replace the Furnace Filters for HVAC System
This is another simple job that can save lots of headaches and money. Some furnace systems use a filter that can be cleaned and reused. Others employ a disposable type.
For disposable ones, simply throw out the old filters once a month and replace them with a new one. For the reusable ones, follow the instructions to clean them.
Some larger, disposable filters only need to be replaced twice a year. In that case, set up a schedule so that you change it around the same time each year. Changing it at the beginning of spring and fall will make it easier to remember.
Check for Water Around the Base of Toilets
The presence of water in the wrong places can be a sign of major issues, like a worn toilet seal. Look for puddles of water around the base of all toilets at least once every other month.
If you spot any presence of water damage, ask a plumber to check it out before the issue becomes too serious.
Inspect for Roof Damage
Any minor damage to the roof can eventually turn into a catastrophe. What appears to be a tiny hole can cause damage not only to the roof shingles but to the sub-structure of the roof and even the ceiling joists.
Check over the roof at least once a year and after any major storm. Look for misplaced or damaged shingles. These should be fixed right away.
Give extra attention to the shingles that are near the structure like a chimney, heating duct, or any other place where the shingle has to be cut to form around an object. This is the most likely area for a leak.
Clean The Gutters
While Gutters seem to go unnoticed, they have a major responsibility. They collect water and push it away from the foundation. This keeps the foundation strong and allows the house to withstand the elements. Clogged gutters can lead to serious foundational problems that are extremely expensive to repair.
Depending on the number of trees in your yard, you may need to clean the gutters more than once per year. The idea is to remove any leaves, twigs, and other items that may be in the gutters that prevent the flow of water.
Also, check to ensure the gutters are all properly attached to the home. Inspect the boards and replace any damaged or loose boards that are connected to the gutters.
Avoid Drafts from Windows
Faulty windows can allow too much air from the outside. It can also allow too much heat from the home to escape during winter months and the cool air from the air conditioner during hotter temperatures.
Inspect the caulk around the window once a year. If the caulk is cracked or too dry, simply remove it with a putty knife and then apply a new line of caulk.
Add Insulation to Doors with Weather Stripping
Just as windows can leak out air, so too can doors, which can cause your home to lose energy efficiency.
The easiest way to combat this is with new weather stripping.
Adding fresh weather stripping around exterior doors will add insulation and allow your heating and air conditioning system to work more efficiently.
Facelift with Paint
Re-painting the interior of your home can give a fresh new look to the place. It can also take a lot of time and create stress with moving furniture, having things misplaced temporarily, and disrupting your schedule.
It is much easier to simply do a touch-up on areas that have a stain or other spots.
First, make sure you have 100% matched the new paint to the old. The best way to do this is to have some of the old paint on hand and get it matched at the local paint shop or hardware store.
Then, paint over the needed spots. This will make the wall look fresh and new, with only a fraction of the work.
Check out the Air Conditioner
An air conditioning unit can be extremely expensive to replace or repair. That is why it is so important to inspect it periodically for any signs of neglect.
Start with the condensation hose. The water should be exiting this hose freely, with no obstructions.
Next, make sure the protective screen that surrounds the unit is clean. Leaves, twigs, animal hair, and other objects can block the flow of air, making the unit work harder.
Perform a Test on Smoke Detector
A smoke detector, as well as a carbon monoxide detector, can save your life. Make sure the equipment is ready to do its job by performing regular tests.
Every month do a test on the detectors to see if they are working properly. Replace the batteries every 6 months, without fail.
Inspect the Sump Pump
If your home has a basement, it is possible that you also have a sump pump. The pump is designed to remove the water before it gets to your floor.
To test out the pump, pour a bit of water into the pump’s crock. This should force the pump to turn on and pump the water out.
Make sure that the reserve battery connected to the pump is in good shape. The Spring thaw is the most likely time for a leak in a basement, so don’t wait to get this job completed.
Remove Small Limbs Near Home
Over time, small trees become large trees. Large trees carry heavy limbs that can break away during a storm and damage your home or vehicles.
Look around the exterior of the home and identify the tree branches that are close to the structure. If they are small enough, trim the branches back to the base of the tree to prevent them from continuing to grow.
Inspect Vents Along the Foundation
If your home has either a crawl space or a basement then you likely have vents along the foundation wall. These vents allow air and moisture to escape the home, which prevents the buildup of mold.
First, make sure the vents are all in good shape. Birds and small varmints like to use the vents for nests, so clear out any debris.
Next, make sure the entire vent is intact. Mice and rats can push through tiny openings, so it’s also a good idea to patch any holes that you may find.
Prevent Rodents and Mold with Foam
Rodents and mold share a common trait; they sneak in through the smallest of openings.
Between the air conditioner, dryer, plumbing, and electrical lines, there are lots of holes in every home. These holes are ideal spots for a small mouse or a bit of moisture to get in and create mold.
To fill up these holes, your best friend is expandable foam. The product is cheap to buy at local stores and is easy to apply. The foam will fill up the hole and deter away any varmints.
Clean out Sink Drains
Exposing your plumbing drains to harsh chemicals can lead to wear and tear over time. While the chemicals are good for getting rid of a clog, a better alternative is to routinely flush out the drains with natural ingredients.
Most plumbers swear by a mix of baking soda and vinegar. This combination will keep lines clean and prevent the build-up of material. Flush with hot water and you should be good to go.
Keep out Insects with Proper Window Screens
A well-designed home with large windows adds a sense of beauty to the neighborhood. But that beauty can be tarnished if the windows allow in bugs like ants and termites into the home. That is why most windows have some type of screen.
Bugs and birds have a way of finding the damaged areas of a screen and making a small problem a whole lot messier. Inspect all the screens around the house and look for any sign of damage. Either patch up the area or replace the whole screen to protect your home.
Summing Up Top Annual Home Maintenance Checklist
With this information in hand, you are now armed with actionable annual home maintenance jobs to keep your home well-maintained. By setting up a schedule to handle these tasks periodically, you can maintain the function of your home and continue to enjoy living in your biggest asset.
Additional Homeowners Resources:
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About the author: This article on “Home Maintenance Tips” was written by Luke Skar of MadisonMortgageGuys.com. As the Social Media Strategist, his role is to provide original content for all of their social media profiles as well as generate new leads from his website.
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