13 Commonly Overlooked Home Maintenance Tasks to Add to Your Calendar
by Ed Machart
on Friday, March 12th, 2021 at 9:00am.
Did you know that almost 50% of North Americans have a tendency to leave home repairs undone? Are you one of them? For many homeowners, it often comes down to simply not knowing everything that needs to be done to maintain their home. For others, it is a matter of putting it off again and again.
While little problems can be fixed quite easily, if caught in time, those same issues could become more complicated and possibly even disastrous later, especially when it comes to marketing your home to buyers. Clogged gutters could turn into water-damaged walls, chipped paint could lead to wood rot, and dirty filters could shorten the lifespan of your furnace.
Maintaining a home can be quite a bit of work, especially if you don't know what needs to be done. That's why I've put together an easy list of common home maintenance tasks that are often overlooked to help you protect your largest investment with a routine maintenance schedule!
Regrouting & Recaulking Bathroom Fixtures
Whether your bathroom tiles are filled with grout or caulk, it is entirely normal for them to develop wear and tear over time. And if you see any peeling, crumbling, or mildew, it's probably time for a touch-up. To easily take care of moldy grout or caulk, mix together a quick bleach solution to kill off the nasty bacteria in the meantime. But plan to regrout or recaulk about once every five years.
Clean Exhaust Fans to Prevent Mold
Fans in your home help keep smells and moisture at bay, but if they aren't able to perform their job efficiently, you could end up with mold growing in your home. Every year, take the time to remove and clean the exhaust fans throughout your home. This will not only keep the hardware running smoothly but will also help to control the moisture levels in your home.
Change the Direction of Ceiling Fans
Did you know that you should be changing the direction of your ceiling fans' rotations twice a year? This helps to increase energy efficiency while also putting less strain on your furnace and air conditioning systems. By changing the direction of the fan, you are changing the way the air moves, helping to heat or cool the room more efficiently!
In the summer, you will want a counterclockwise rotation to help push cool air down, and vice versa in the winter.
Flush Out Your Water Heater
Every year, your water heater will need to be drained. This can either be done yourself or by a professional plumber, depending on your preferences, but should really not be avoided (even when you're busy running the kids around). By draining your water heater, you will flush out any mineral or debris buildup in the system, allowing it to run more efficiently.
Catch Leaks Early by Tracking Your Water Consumption
It can be hard to detect a water leak until the stains appear on the walls or ceiling. But did you know that by simply keeping track of your water bill, you can catch the telltale excess of water usage early on? Every month, take a look at your water bill and compare it to past bills. If the number is higher than expected, consider calling in a plumber to investigate.
Test Your Sump Pump
If you have a sump pump in your home, it should be tested twice a year. A sump pump's lifespan is typically about ten years. But with proper maintenance, it could be even longer!
Every six months, check the pump's water levels—if it's overflowing, it's probably not working properly. If that is the case, clean the pump of any surrounding debris to ensure that it can do its job efficiently. While you're at it, you'll also want to restart your sump pump by unplugging it, then plugging it back in. This will let you know whether its energy source is working properly.
Check For Early Signs of Foundation Damage
When the weather warms up in spring, take the time to do a thorough inspection of the exterior foundation of your home. Cracks in the foundation can reduce value by as much as 15% when it comes time to sell your home. But by taking care of these issues as you see them, you can prevent more costly repairs in the future. Remember to always have any cracks in your foundation inspected and addressed properly by a structural engineer.
Clean Off Outdoor A/C Units
When you're doing your yard work in the spring and fall, take a few minutes to clean off your outdoor air conditioner system. Gently remove large chunks of debris by hand, using the soft-brush attachment from your vacuum on the fins, and spraying off loose debris with the hose. A clean unit will use less energy and may even have a longer lifespan.
Change HVAC Filters
Changing air filters can prolong the life of your air conditioning unit by allowing it to work more efficiently. Plus, it will even help to maintain higher air quality in your home.
Clean Out Fridge Coils
To keep your refrigerator running smoothly, plan to vacuum out the coils every six months. Simply remove the cover on the back of the fridge and vacuum away dust and debris.
Wash Your Washing Machine
Though it may seem silly to wash something whose whole purpose is to wash clothes, that constant influx of dirt can build up. And that gunky buildup can lead to mold and mildew that can even transfer to your supposedly "clean" clothes! If you notice any foul odours or signs of mold and mildew when you load and unload your laundry, it's time to give your machine a clean—yes, even if that means every month!
While you're at it, you'll also need to clean your washing machine's filter every three months. This water inlet filter prevents minerals and debris from getting into the machine and damaging it, but that can all build up and cause problems later on. To clean, just turn off the water, remove the filter, and rinse in warm, soapy water.
Inspect Seals on Doors & Windows
Once every six to twelve months, take time to inspect the sealing around windows and doors. Small cracks and fissures can cause the warm and cold air meant to heat and cool your home to leak, leaving your furnace and A/C systems working overtime.
Clean the Dryer Ducts
Every three months, disconnect the dryer and vacuum the ducts and clear away any lint buildup. This will not only help them to work more efficiently, but it can also prevent a house fire, as well!
Home maintenance can seem like a mountain of to-dos at first, but remember, it doesn't all have to be done in a day. Use a home maintenance calendar, or create a spreadsheet of tasks to complete month by month. The key is not waiting until there's an issue to do something—a little prevention can go a long way!