Simple Home Maintenance Checklist To Tackle When Cooped Up At Home
Morgan McBride6-Minute Read
December 10, 2021
Being stuck at home can be relaxing – for about a day. However, without a daily commute or after-work activities like going to the gym or running errands, you might suddenly find yourself with lots of time and no specific way to fill it.
If you are finding yourself cooped up in your home, one way to stay active and busy is to make sure you keep up on some home maintenance.
Why Is Home Maintenance Important?
In short, home maintenance saves you money. Maintaining your home on a regular basis helps to prevent big, expensive problems from occurring in your house. If a problem does occur, you are much more likely to catch it early – when it is likely cheaper to fix – if you are doing regular preventative maintenance.
Many homeowners have long lists of projects that they have been putting off - whether it’s due to not having enough time or just because you don’t really want to do them. Well, if you are cooped up at home, there is no excuse not to finally turn that honey-do list into a honey-done list.
Home Maintenance Checklist
Check Your Filters And Batteries
Having fresh filters helps your home’s systems to run at their most efficient rate and therefore often saves you money on your power bills. Check air filters, water filters, and even vacuum filters and swap them for a fresh filter wherever necessary. Don’t forget to clean out lint from the vent to your dryer while you’re at it.
Also, check any device in your home that uses batteries. Smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, even wall clocks can run dead without you noticing, or worse, start beeping in the middle of the night. It goes without saying that having a functioning smoke alarm can save you tons of money by notifying you of smoke before it becomes a complete house fire.
Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
This is a quick win that really makes a difference in your home. As weather gets warmer, your fans should be spinning counterclockwise. This pushes air downward, cooling you and the room. Having fans run correctly might help you save air conditioning cooling costs.
Deep Clean Appliances
Appliances can get grime and gunk build up over time. Your everyday wipe-down isn’t going to be enough. Most appliance manuals come with cleaning instructions, so don’t throw them away. Start there when cleaning each machine.
If your stove has removable grates or burner caps, remove them regularly and clean them in the sink – sometimes a good soaking really helps with stubborn build-up. Run your oven on “self clean” and then wipe out any remaining residue to eliminate the burning smell during cooking.
Empty your fridge of all food and wipe down each shelf and drawer. Don’t put any expired food back in. Defrost the freezer and dump out old ice. Empty and clean the drip pan in the bottom of the refrigerator. Wipe the exterior with soap and water or stainless steel cleaner.
When cleaning your refrigerator, don’t forget to clean the coils. Condenser coils are located on the back of your fridge. If they’re coated with dust and hair balls, they cannot properly release heat, and the fridge will have to work harder to stay cool. Keeping the coils clean will save you energy, and often money, on power bills. Simply wipe the coils clean to prevent build-up.
Place a bowl or mug of water in your microwave (add a half a lemon if you have it) and heat on high for 3 minutes. Let it sit and steam in the microwave for 3 more minutes and then wipe the inside down with a cloth.
Give your pipes a once-over. Check under each sink and anywhere you have exposed pipes. Put the water on and look for signs of drips or leaks. Also be sure to check toilets to see if any are leaking – often they just need a new flapper for a tight seal. Finding leaks early can save you a ton of money in the long run if something bursts or floods.
Prep Your Lawn For Spring
As the weather warms up, most of the plants in your yard will be entering their growing season. This is the time to do a little maintenance to give them the best possible shot at flourishing this year.
A good place to start is by walking your yard and making note of what looks damaged, overgrown, or just plain dead. Make a plan to handle the work in batches. For example, do all of the raking and bagging of leaves at once, then do all of the weeding and laying of new mulch at a different time. Working on one type of task across your whole yard is often more efficient than conquering zone by zone doing multiple tasks.
Remember to inspect your trees for dead limbs that need to be trimmed. Some might be DIY, but others might require calling a professional arborist. Catching problems with trees early can save you from expensive problems down the line if trees get diseased or fall down and cause damage.
This is the time to reseed your yard or transplant grass from unwanted to wanted areas. Be sure to note any limitations on your grass seed – such as no pets or children for 24 hours after spreading – and time your application accordingly.
Check Your Sprinklers
If you have a sprinkler system, it’s about to be put to work. Before heading into the growing season, do an inspection. Turn the sprinklers on section by section and walk and inspect each head to be sure it’s functioning properly. Look for clogs or leaks and replace valves accordingly so water can properly spray.
Check Your Gutters
If your home has gutters, this is a great time to inspect them. Clogged gutters can overflow and cause water damage and rot to your roof. If you aren’t comfortable on a ladder, this is one maintenance task that’s definitely worth hiring out. Even if you’re comfortable on a ladder, make sure to always have a spotter with you.
Test Your Sump Pump
If your home has a sump pump, it has an important job – preventing your home from flooding. Flood damage can have extremely expensive consequences. It’s so much cheaper to inspect your sump pump annually!
To check, dump water directly into the basin. Everything should be pumped out clearly. If it’s not working, you’ll need to replace any damaged parts, such as the vertical float.
Pressure Wash Your Home
Many homes get dirty and grimy over the winter season, with mildew build-up from less sun exposure. Give your home a bath for a fresh, clean look. Pick a warm, sunny day so your house dries quicker. Rent a pressure washer if you feel that the grime is really caked on – but often, a garden hose is enough to get off loose grime.
Be sure that all of your windows and doors are tightly closed. Remove screens for best results on windows. You can add a bottle of outdoor cleaner that screws onto your hose and soak and then rinse each surface of your exterior.
Purge The Extras
Purging unneeded items is a great way to spend downtime. The garage, shed, attic, basement, closet and junk drawers are all great places to start.
Empty each area completely and wipe or sweep it clean to start with a fresh slate. Sort like items together and decide on what to keep and what you no longer need. When you’re done deciding what not to keep, you can sort your discard pile into piles for trash, recycling, donating, and selling.
Examine the systems that you have in place – such as shelves in your garage – and the items that you decide to keep. Determine the best way to store them. Lots of small items – like cans of spray paint – might be best stored in a box or bin on a shelf, for example. Miscellaneous tools might be best hung on a pegboard.
Keeping your home organized and things displayed neatly actually can save you money in the long run. When you can see what you have already, you’re less likely to accidentally purchase duplicates. Additionally, having an organized space often makes you less likely to bring home unnecessary extras that you know you don’t have a spot to store.
Establish An Emergency Plan
This is a task that many people don’t want to think about, but if your whole family is spending a lot of time at home, it could be a great time to discuss it. Determine multiple escape routes from your home, and settle on a safe meeting place outside your house. Having a preset plan can make a terrible situation slightly more under your control.
Being stuck at home does not have to be a punishment. Make a to-do list of home maintenance tasks you can conquer and try to attack one per day. You’ll feel more productive, and your home will thank you with decreased repair costs down the line!
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