We all have busy lives. However some of us have started to neglect essential home maintenance tasks because of our busy lives. Well, I’m going to make getting back on top of your home a little bit easier. Whether you are new to around the house work or a long-time homeowner, we could all use a reminder on tasks that may fall to the wayside. If we are not careful this ignorance could have detrimental effects long-term. Start with these simple tasks, some DIY – some for the professionals, and you’ll be on your way to a sound mind in a comfortable home instead of a home you must fret about what may go wrong next in.
Clean or Replace Gutters
Clean gutters can make a home owners life very easy, however many ignore the importance of this task. If gutters are not cleaned and water overflows from the gutters, it can fall along the foundation of the building. This can soften the soil under and around it which will lead to foundation cracks. In extreme cases, water damage can cause structural failure in a building.
Just as clogged gutters can damage a building’s foundation by allowing water to collect close to the base of the structure, this water can also infiltrate basement walls. When water collects in large quantities against a basement wall, it is almost inevitable that it will find its way into the basement causing black mold, smells, water damage and flooding.
Another issue with gutters that are clogged, is that water will overflow onto the ground, the building or sit in the gutters and cause rot in wood fascia and soffit boards (the wood near where gutters are attached). This wood rot can spread to adjacent areas, such as the attic, and provides an easy point of entry for rodents. The debris in gutters, is also a very attractive habitat to insects. These insects will then be attracted to the inside of the house when the weather changes.
Cleaning your gutters can be as simple as climbing a ladder and scooping out the debris, then rinsing with a hose. Such a simple task yet, many home owners allow it to build up and cause these issues. Replacing gutters should be contracted out to a company specializing in gutters so that you can avoid foundation issues from improper drainage.
Check Detectors, Monitors and Change batteries if Necessary
We should first start with being sure that your home has smoke detectors, and that there is the proper amount for your home. The National Fire Protection Association recommends homes should have smoke alarms installed inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. So that means a 2 story, 3-bedroom house needs a minimum of five smoke alarms. As a simple rule of thumb, you should check and change the batteries in smoke detectors each year and replace the detectors after ten years.
Carbon monoxide alarms are also extremely important for the home and they monitor when levels may get too high and lead to poisoning. Because carbon monoxide is an odorless colorless gas, it is undetectable without proper equipment. We are very susceptible to poisoning if your alarms batteries are low or if they are outdated. CO alarms should be installed on each level of the home and outside sleeping areas. Most Carbon Monoxide filters have an average lifespan of five to seven years and need battery checks every year.
Front Door Replacement
Replacing your front door is one you want to leave to the professionals. While replacing a front door may seem easy, it is not for the untrained. However, a front door replacement can lead to increased safety and energy savings. Its estimated that about a third of the energy we waste goes out the door – literally. With the need to reduce our energy usage becoming more important to our future, a new front door may be just the upgrade you need. A new front door can also revitalize an older home. Our entryways take a beating throughout their lives but getting a new door free of all those dings and scrapes will make them appear brand new.
Furnace and A/C Filter Maintenance
Another easy home DIY task is to replace your heating and cooling filters. These filters oversee making sure the air we breathe while running these devices is clean and free of toxins. Living in highly polluted areas such as a city suburb, these filters can provide a significant difference in the quality of air in your home. Both air conditioner units and furnace units should have their filters cleaned or replaced yearly.
This is one of those tasks that seems to get ignored for how simple it is. For your furnace, it is easiest to clean you filter in the summer as you must first shut off power to the furnace. Then, remove the filter from its labeled door and observe whether it has a plastic or cardboard frame. If it is plastic, simply rinse it off and allow to air dry, if cardboard you must replace the filter, as these cannot withstand being washed. For your air conditioning units’ cleaning will vary on the style of air conditioner. Window units have removable rinseable filters while central air systems are like furnace filters and need to be replaced when dirty.
Clean your carpets
Can you remember the last time you got your carpets professionally cleaned? Or even when your carpets were installed? For many home owners the answer can be past 5 years. While vacuuming regularly is a good way to keep your carpets free of debris, it is not an efficient way to clean the actual carpet itself. Most household carpets are made of fibers secured to a mesh underlay, which makes then just large pieces of fabric.
We all wash our clothes, bed linens, and towel and other fabrics, it should be no different for your carpets. Allergens, discolorations, pet stains, food spills, and even mold can build up in our carpets overtime, so they require more attention than we give them. Depending on whether your room is a high or low traffic area determines the frequency of the cleaning. Low traffic areas can last up to 18 months without a cleaning while high traffic areas like your living room or bedroom should be cleaned about every 6 months. The times lower if you have pets in your home or allow shoes to be worn on your carpets.
These are just a few of the important routine maintenance tasks that will keep your house looking and feeling like the beautiful home you love, for years to come. What are some other important upkeep tasks that shouldn’t be left to fall by the wayside? Leave a comment with your thoughts in the section below.