With the never-ending to-do list of daily chores, it can be tricky to keep track of the larger tasks that keep your home in top shape. There are a lot of things you can do to make sure your home stays orderly and your appliances are at peak performance -- and most of them only need to be performed once a month, every three months, or twice a year! We weeded out the five must-dos, all of which will help keep your home clean and safe. This list isn’t exhaustive (if you have some extra time, tasks like checking on your fire extinguishers or repairing grout is a great way to go to the next level!) but if you’re looking for ways to make a noticeable difference in your home, keep this list handy!
1. Inspect, and possibly change out HVAC filters
Every month, give your HVAC filters a quick once-over to make sure they aren’t too full to function. If you notice that hair and dust has clogged it up, change it out for a new one. You’ll notice the difference in air quality! Tip to make it easier: Keep a few filters on hand, so that you can act immediately when it gets dirty rather than waiting to stop at the hardware store.
2. Test smoke/carbon monoxide detectors
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are often treated as a set-it-and-forget-it feature, but it’s important to make sure they are always working properly. The best way to do that is checking them every quarter, or three months. Every detector should have a “test” button -- simply push it and make sure the alarm goes off. If the alarm isn’t working, check the batteries, clean the battery terminal, or replace the detector all together. Tip to make it easier: Make sure you have the right batteries on hand to switch them out immediately when needed.
3. Clean kitchen sink disposal
If you have a disposal in your sink, chances are you use it often. Keep it fresh and sharp by running frozen vinegar cubes through it once a month. Use an ice cube tray to make the little cubes of vinegar, then run all of them through the disposal. The ice sharpens the blades, while the vinegar clears away any icky odors. Tip to make it easier: Snag a cheap ice cube tray and keep it full in your freezer so that you can run them through in just a minute.
4. Test your water heater's pressure relief valve
It only takes a moment, but doing this will help your water heater run well for longer -- saving you a lot of time, effort, and money. Just flip the relief valve a couple times and make sure that hot water is flowing from the drainpipe, and if it’s not, get a new valve. Doing this will help save you from leaks due to buildup, and will help make sure your water heater is running smoothly. Tip to make it easier: Keep a list of when you check the valve on or near the water heater, so you can easily keep track of when you need to do so again.
5. Vacuum your refrigerator coils
Want to keep your fridge in shape? Grab your vacuum! Twice a year, suck up anything wrapped up in the coils on the back of your refrigerator to make sure it’s running as efficiently as it can. Not only will you help keep it tidy behind the fridge, you can even save money -- up to $100 a year. Refrigerators take up a lot of power, so keeping them running smoothly means less energy is needed to keep things cool. Tip to make it easier: Note on a calendar when you need to knock this out, so that you don’t forget!
These tasks are quick, easy, and will have serious payoffs. If anything feels off as you do them, don’t hesitate to contact an expert. But if you take care of this routine maintenance, you’ll be super on-top of some of your home’s most important appliances and features!