Maintaining a home is crucial to ensure its longevity and comfort. Whether you’re a new homeowner or have been in your place for years, essential home maintenance can save you from future headaches and costly repairs. Here’s a practical guide to help you keep your home in top shape.

Essential Home Maintenance: Monthly Tasks

  1. Maintain HVAC Filters: Many experts recommend changing the filters monthly, but that’s not always necessary. For smaller families without pets or allergies, you’ll likely be okay changing the filters every 2-3 months. If the filter is dirty, change it; otherwise, inspect it again next month.
  2. Clean Kitchen Sink Disposal: There are a few ways to do this, but the simplest is to freeze vinegar in an ice cube tray and run the cubes through the disposal. The ice helps sharpen the blades, and the vinegar cleans out old food particles.
  3. Check Fire Extinguishers: Make sure the gauge shows adequate pressure and has no visible signs of wear and tear. If it’s been discharged, schedule a refill or replacement.

Quarterly Tasks

  1. Test Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Test all the detectors installed in your home to ensure they work, and replace batteries as necessary. It’s a small task that can be the difference between life and death.
  2. Test Garage Door Auto-Reverse Feature: Modern garage doors should automatically go back up if they sense an object in the way. Place a block of wood on the ground where the door would close. It should reverse after a second of hitting the wood. If not, call a professional to repair it.
  3. Flush Toilets in Unused Spaces: This can help prevent grime from building up in the system.

Biannual Essential Home Maintenance

  1. Deep Clean Your Home: Take a day or two every six months to deep clean your home. This can involve dusting all your blinds, washing the windows, cleaning the oven, and dusting ceiling fans and light fixtures.
  2. Vacuum Refrigerator Coils: The refrigerator can use up to 15 percent of your home’s total power, so you want it running as efficiently as possible. Dirty coils can cause the fridge to work harder, leading to a shorter lifespan for your appliance.

Annual Tasks

  1. Inspect the Roof: Check for damaged, loose, or missing shingles that may leak during storms or melting snow. Contact a professional if you notice anything suspicious.
  2. Check Gutters and Downspouts: Clear debris from the gutters and downspouts to prevent water damage to your roof, siding, and foundation.
  3. Service Your Heating System: Before the winter season, hire a professional to check your heating system to ensure it’s clean, in good repair, and can achieve its manufacturer-rated efficiency.

As Needed

  1. Check for Leaks: Pay attention to moisture in places it shouldn’t be or foul odors. Small leaks can lead to big problems, such as mold, rot, and damaged ceilings.
  2. Repaint and Seal Exterior Woodwork: Any wood (including decks and fences) exposed to the elements should be repainted or sealed every few years to protect it from the weather.
  3. Maintain Drains: Avoid chemical cleaners for clogged drains; use a mechanical snake or plunger instead. This is more effective and better for your pipes in the long run.

Home maintenance may seem daunting, but it can be manageable if broken down into seasonal tasks. By keeping up with these maintenance items, you can ensure that your home remains a safe, clean, and enjoyable place to live for years to come.

Encompass Home Inspection Service offers inspection services in Southern New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania. Contact us to schedule an appointment.