These five home maintenance tasks are among the most commonly forgotten – be sure to remember them.
Once you become a homeowner, you quickly learn that house maintenance never ends. There’s just so much that goes into the upkeep of your home, on the interior and the exterior, that even with a detailed checklist, you’re going to miss some things.
But it’s important to make sure you take good care of your house, and the systems and appliances within it. Good maintenance can mean fewer home repairs and lower house maintenance costs overall – and it means more than just keeping the place clean, mowing the yard and changing the furnace filters. These five home maintenance tasks are among the most commonly forgotten – be sure to remember them.
1. Flush Your Water Heater
Flushing your water heater is one of those DIY house maintenance chores that slip many homeowners’ minds. It can extend the life of your water heater, and it needs to be done once a year. If it’s not done often enough, mineral sediment can build up inside the tank, causing banging, popping or rumbling noises as water bubbles up through it. That layer of sediment will make it harder to flush your water heater. Eventually, the sediment layer will cause the bottom of the tank to rust out, and you’ll need a new water heater much sooner than you otherwise might have.
2. Inspect Your Roof
Another house maintenance task you should do at least once a year is inspecting your roof. Many homeowners do this while cleaning their gutters. Your roof is your home’s first line of defense against the elements, and damage to it could cause moisture to leak into your home, creating mold, rot or other problems that might not be apparent until extensive damage is done.
You can inspect your roof yourself, looking for cracked, broken or missing shingles, or black grit in the gutters signaling that your asphalt shingles need to be replaced. Moss or algae growing on the shingles is a bad sign, too, as is dry rot, rust or damaged caulk.
3. Clean Your Dryer Vent Duct
Lint build-up in dryer vent ductwork is a leading cause of house fires, and that’s why cleaning your dryer vent ductwork every six months should be at the top of your house maintenance list. Even if a blocked duct doesn’t burn your house down, it can extend drying times or make your house smell weird.
If the ductwork is extensive, you might need the help of a professional to clean it out, especially if it has a lot of bends and turns. But if the ductwork leads pretty much right outside from where it connects to your dryer, you can probably clean it out yourself. Disconnect the ductwork from the back of your dryer and use a shop vacuum to suck built-up lint out of the duct. Check the vent where it exits the house, too. Sometimes, birds or other small animals nest in the opening of the duct outside, so make sure it’s covered so they can’t access it.
4. Clean Your Windows’ Weep Holes
Do you know what weep holes are? If not, you probably haven’t thought to add them to your house maintenance schedule. Weep holes are the row of tiny holes along the bottom of your window frame on the outside. They’re there to provide a drainage mechanism for water that leaks into the window frame’s inside channel. Dirt and debris can collect in these holes, and insects often find them an ideal place to live. Use an unbent paper clip to clear debris out of the weep holes every six months. Check to see if they’re clear by spraying water on the outside of the window and watching to make sure that it seeps out through the holes. If it doesn’t, open the window and check to make sure the water is actually getting inside the tracks – if your windows are still new and well-sealed, they may be keeping water out so well that the weep holes aren’t really needed.
5. Dust Your Refrigerator Condenser Coils
House maintenance extends to your major appliances too, especially your refrigerator. Your refrigerator condenser coils remove heat from the refrigerant to cool the inside of the refrigerator. But when those condenser coils get dusty, they can’t do their job as well. Unfortunately, dusty condenser coils can shorten the life of one of the most expensive components of your refrigerator, and if you don’t clean them off every three months or so, you could end up buying a new refrigerator much sooner than you need to. Fortunately, cleaning them is easy – simply pull your refrigerator away from the wall and wipe them with a dust cloth.