In this series of articles, Ownersite Technologies looks at the tedious, but necessary, and wise art of home maintenance. The articles provide an in-depth examination of what you can do on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, biannual, and annual basis so that you leave no stone or unturned or repair left behind. All of these tips are geared at helping you maximize the value, reliability, and safety of your home. Of course, these are just general guidelines and many may not be applicable for your particular property. Home maintenance can vary based on the age, location, type of use, and materials used.
Compared to weekly, monthly, and quarterly maintenance tasks, twice-per-year projects sound pretty nice. Biannual projects are designed to tackle some of the larger aspects of your home that do not need as much micro-maintenance. This does not mean that they should be completely overlooked because their level of importance is still mission-critical to enhancing the safety, reliability and value of your property.
Not Half as Bad: Tasks to Attack Every Six Months
Here is a list that was developed based on what those in the home maintenance and repair industry believe are important areas to focus on. Of course, not all of these may be applicable to your area of the country, so be sure to adapt the list to fit your needs:
- Inspect the attic and basement. Be on the look-out for leaks as well as critters and pests. Measure the level of insulation and add as necessary. Any areas that you feel are beyond your skill set, it is best to call in a professional to handle these matters.
- Hire a professional carpet cleaning service. Depending the on the size of our family, number of indoor pets, and type of reoccurring stains, you may want to do this more than twice per year. Their heavy-duty equipment can do a much deeper clean of carpets, rugs, and upholstered furniture as well as treating the carpet with a water-resistant stain fighter that will tide you over until the next cleaning service.
- Clean all drains. These drains include sinks, showers, and bathtubs. Inspect and treat these drains by pouring baking soda and warm water down them to dislodge anything that might be blocking the drains.
- Check over all visible plumbing for leaks. Leaks will need to be repaired and insulation might also be a good idea to help those pipes that are vulnerable to the winter freeze. Again, plumbing is one of those activities that may be best tackled by a professional.
- Replace all smoke detector batteries. Whether they are beeping at you or not, all the batteries should be removed from each smoke detector and replaced with fresh ones. This recommendation on doing this every six months comes from the National Fire Protection Association.
- Change out your refrigerator water filter. Be sure to write down the installation date on the refrigerator water filter so you know when to change it. However, you may be lucky enough to have one of the latest appliances that have an onboard computer that tracks how many months you have left on the filter and then sends a message that it is time to replace it. At the same time, you probably will want to vacuum the refrigerator coils located on the back side or underneath the appliance as suggested by the manufacturer.
- Inspect your dishwasher. Every six months is also a good schedule to check over your dishwasher. Look for any leaks that may be apparent in the front or underneath the appliance.
Not to Be Forgotten
There are other tasks that might be good to handle on a biannual basis:
- Review any family emergency plan as well as practice a fire and/or earthquake drill with those that live at home with you.
- Take on a heavy-duty cleaning, which most people prefer to do in the spring. This project involves much more detailed cleaning processes than you would do as part of your weekly maintenance.
- Go through your garage and “weed” out broken yard tools as well as prepare chemicals or paint cans for a trip to the special recycling yard for these items.
- Have a good clean out of items that are creating clutter so you can simplify your life. Do not keep stuff just to have it because you will never use it. Hold a yard or garage sale or give the extras to those who really need them by donating everything to a charitable organization.
- Take on a major project like painting or resealing a wood deck.
- Reseed and fertilize the grass as well as put in new plants and flowers that work well with the particular season.
As mentioned in other articles in this series on home maintenance, it is important to weigh the costs, time, and skill involved before you dive into certain maintenance, repair, or replacement projects. No matter how good you are at rolling up your sleeves, a trained professional might be the best bet.
It’s that Time Again: Creating an Online Reminder and Tracking System
Twice a year may be nice but trying to remember to do something that only happens every six months is not as easy. You may forget from year-to-year just what you are supposed to be doing or what the last check-up showed on that particular part of the home. That’s why it pays to have a home maintenance journal that can be kept online so it’s easy to access straight from your computer or cell phone. This record will remind you what’s been done and what has yet to be tackled. You can store information about the house, your belongings, the appliances, the costs, and service contacts. Having all this information in one place will keep you organized and on task.
Better yet, the online maintenance system from Ownersite Technologies will not let you off the hook. If you have typed in a specific schedule, email reminder notices can be set so you do not forget. After all, your partner in home maintenance realizes just how important it is to maintain your property and build the investment potential of your home.