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.
Outside of your weekly clean team routine, there are a number of maintenance tasks that can keep your home in tip-top condition, further adding to its value, reliability, and safety as your shelter, your dream, and your largest investment.
While weekly maintenance is more about hygiene with a little bit of preventative measures thrown in, monthly maintenance tasks focus on looking for any possible issues that should be addressed before they get worse and become a major expense. Of course, there are always the “fix on the spot” items that crop up unexpectedly, but focusing on these tasks each month should help eliminate those unwelcome surprises.
There are a number of tasks that need your attention on the inside of your home. These usually help ensure a healthy and comfortable environment through the more severe seasons. Here is your checklist for monthly maintenance:
- Change the furnace filter on a monthly basis during the heating season and the air conditioning filter during the cooling season. Depending the quality and size of the filter selected, these can cost anywhere from $4 to $20 each.
- Clean windows on the inside to remove streaks, spots, fingerprints, and dirt from the glass and window sills.
- Steam clean any spots that you can find in the carpeting or on the upholstered furniture. This will help you determine if your home cleaner is enough or if it is time to call up the professional service with the “big gun” cleaners.
- Check the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on a monthly basis. This tip comes as a recommendation from both the alarm manufacturers and fire department personnel.
- Put in a new vacuum cleaner filter, especially if you vacuum more than once a week or have a lot of area to cover.
- Test the ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) by turning on an appliance or lighting fixture that is connected to the GFCI and press the test button. The unit should turn off. Press the reset button and the unit should come on. If not, the wiring should be checked – most likely by an electrician.
- Inspect and clean out the wood stove chimneys and stovepipes if you have one. This should be done on a monthly basis only through the heating season.
- Clean out the appliances, such as the oven and refrigerator.
- The oven can be cleaned with a cleaner from the store. If you have a modern version, these come with self-cleaning mechanisms that can be set to clean the oven and then all you will have to do is wipe down the inside. Be sure to read all the instructions for doing either of these tasks.
- Remove everything from the refrigerator and freezer, wiping down the shelves and inside compartments. Put in new boxes of baking soda that help with odor reduction.
- Thoroughly clean the inside of the microwave and dishwasher. The dishwasher should be run on empty with a little vinegar to improve its efficiency, especially if you live in an area with hard water.
You will not be short on outdoor activities either even if you have a completely low-maintenance yard. There are always areas of your home that need to be regularly inspected:
- Work on some area of the yard that needs more attention, such as weeding, trimming, pruning, or re-planting. This may also include removing leaves and debris that can cause problems during the rainy season.
- If you have a swimming pool, you will want to keep the tile sparkling by cleaning it once a month with a pumice stone and tile cleaner. This will help diminish any signs of calcium build-up due to hard water.
- Walk around your property and just do an overview for any signs of repairs or areas that need a little bit more cleaning or TLC.
- Lubricate the garage door frame, using light household oil, such as WD-40. Do not put this oil on any nylon rollers as this could cause damage.
There are other tasks that should be addressed as well that will help ensure that minor issues do not become large problems that come with even greater price tags. The list below has tips that are quick and easy, saving you time in the long run:
- Pour boiling water down drains that are not used too often to make sure that they are still in working order. Use baking soda to help unclog any pipes or resort to vinegar if you are not getting the results you want.
- Use vinegar on faucet aerators and shower heads to get rid of mineral deposits left by particularly hard water.
- Look for any leaks around the house, such as the kitchen and bathrooms.
Structuring a Monthly Maintenance Schedule
Go paperless with your monthly maintenance checklist by putting it online with a company like Ownersite Technologies. They offer a low-cost annual membership that provides you with a Web portal where you can keep all the information on your home, including task lists, photographs, and documentation of maintenance.
The service includes an e-mail alert system that you can set that will remind you when the month has passed and it is time to address some of the tasks that need to be handled throughout the calendar year. With this type of reminder service, you will have no excuse about being too busy or letting it slip your mind. While the system cannot force you to complete the monthly list, it does provide some sense of motivation in that you can check off what you have accomplished and know that your home will be that much better off from the effort you have invested in it.
Ownersite Technologies is happy to offer a free 30-day trial of Home Ownersite, the comprehensive, web-based tool that simplifies home inventories and recordkeeping. With plans starting at only $29.95 per year, Home Ownersite is the perfect tool to manage the complete ownership lifecycle for your home and valuables. To start your free, no-obligation trial or to review the different plans available, please click here.