Who Gets Excited About Doing Home Maintenance?

Really, I Thought I Was the Only One Who Hated It

Hate might be a bit too strong of a word for how I feel about home maintenance. It’s not that I necessarily hate it…it’s just that when doing it, it feels more like work than the feelings I associate with HOME.

The cool wintery weather today got me to thinking about winter officially starting in a month. There is some winter maintenance that needs to be done.

Home should be a place of comfort and security. It’s where I want to rest and be rejuvenated. It should provide peace and comfort. When everything outside is falling apart…

Home should be warm and comforting, like a mother’s hug.

The problem is ignoring maintenance will eventually become bigger more expensive repairs. Out of sight and out of mind is not a good plan. Don’t ignore the elephant in the room. A plan makes it much more manageable.

It’s easy for the busy activities of everyday life to consume us and maintenance to get overlooked. This is why I prepared a Home Maintenance Plan and Check List. This is available for free at our Solution Building website. Just follow the links, fill out the form and download it for free.

This includes plans for monthly, quarterly, annual and seasonal maintenance including a seasonal check list.

Here is the winter portion of the plan:

WINTER –

Clean faucet aerators and shower heads – Dirty aerators on the end of your faucets and in shower heads can mean limescale and sediment are blocking the flow and water pressure. Unscrew the aerators and shower heads, remove the aerator and/or screen, soak them in a 50/50 vinegar/water mixture for 30 minutes or until clean, rinse and reinstall. Be careful to pay attention to the order and direction the parts come apart so that you can put them back together correctly.

Clean sink, tub, shower and dishwasher drains – Rid your sink traps of built up hair, soap and limescale by pouring a mixture of vinegar and baking soda (1/2 cup of each) in the sink, stop the sink, let it set for 15 minutes. Boil some water, unstop the sink and pour the boiling water down the drain. While you’re waiting the 15 minutes, look under the sink at both the pipes and the cabinet floor for any evidence of leaks or drips.

Check caulking and/or grout in and around showers, tubs and sinks – Loose, cracked or missing caulking should be resealed or replaced as needed. This will prevent water from getting behind these surfaces and damaging the wood and/or drywall behind.

Vacuum refrigerator and freezer coils and empty drip pans –Refrigerator coils, sometimes called condenser coils, resemble your car’s radiator. They will be found on the back or bottom of your fridge and freezer. To clean the coils, use the brush attachment on your vacuum to loosen and extract the lint and dirt. If you can’t get to the coils with your vacuum, you can simply use a brush to clean coils and then vacuum it up. Also remove the drip pan from beneath your appliance and empty, clean and reinstall it. This process should only take 15-30 minutes.

Clean dryer vent – Disconnect dryer hose, use the brush attachment on your vacuum to loosen and extract the lint and dirt from inside and outside of hose, dryer and vent going through the wall.

Clean bathroom exhaust fans – Remove cover from bathroom exhaust fans. Clear away any dust and cobwebs from around fans using the brush attachment on your vacuum. Reinstall cover.

Inspect attic – If you have an attic, go up there and check for evidence of leaks or daylight showing up through cracks or openings to the outside. Check to see if the insulation has been moved or disturbed, this could be evidence of rodents.

Home maintenance is less daunting with a plan.

Get your own Home Maintenance Plan and Check List and enjoy your home.

How to Make Home Maintenance Manageable

 

 

 

A Home Maintenance Plan Complete with Checklist

 

 

I don’t think anyone likes it when something plugs up, leaks or quits working, especially at home. Home is supposed to be the place where we go to get away from the troubles, not deal with them.

 


Routine maintenance is a good way to minimize these costly disruptions.


Nothing is permanent. Everything wears out and deteriorates over time. Regular maintenance will help extend the life of your home and that sizable investment. Closing your eyes or looking the other way doesn’t make it go away.


Last week we discussed the importance of having an intentional plan. Today we will look at an excerpt of what this plan should include and why. (Get the full plan here)

 

Home Maintenance Plan


Home maintenance – Prevents breakdowns, saves money and keeps your home in the best possible condition. This regularly scheduled review can expose conditions that might not otherwise be found. This reduces mental, physical and financial stress and strain.


Seasons happen every year and are a natural part of life. Each of these seasons presents different weather conditions and temperatures which effect your home in varying ways. We also use calendars to schedule our lives. Combining these two things into a seasonal Home Maintenance Checklist breaks a big responsibility into small manageable scheduled tasks.


MONTHLY MAINTENANCE – These tasks should be done every month. You might prefer to schedule one day to do them all or spread them out over the month doing one or two items periodically throughout.

 

Clean garbage disposals – Put a little vinegar in an ice cube tray, add some water and freeze, then run some cubes through the disposal. Follow up with a little baking soda and warm water. The ice cubes will sharpen the blades, the vinegar and baking soda will break down food and grease build up and will leave it smelling fresh and clean.

 

QUARTERLY MAINTENANCE – These quarterly tasks, like the monthly ones, can be scheduled for one day each quarter or disbursed through out the quarter at monthly, weekly or other intervals. The important thing is to schedule them and do them.


Change HVAC and/or water filters – How often you change the filter of your furnace / air conditioner will be determined by how much it runs, how many people live in your home, whether you have animals in the house and the geographic location. Also, if you use thinner less expensive filters they should be changed more often.

 

ANNUAL MAINTENANCE (By Season) – Annual tasks are more seasonal than monthly or quarterly. There is still some flexibility that can be determined by your own preference or life schedule. Some of them are not specific to the season but have been placed as they have, to spread them more evenly throughout the year.


WINTER


Clean faucet aerators and shower heads – Dirty aerators on the end of your faucets and in shower heads can mean limescale and sediment are blocking the flow and water pressure. Unscrew the aerators and shower heads, remove the aerator and/or screen, soak them in a 50/50 vinegar/water mixture for 30 minutes or until clean, rinse and reinstall. Be careful to pay attention to the order and direction the parts come apart so that you can put them back together correctly.

 

SPRING
Service central air conditioner – It’s a good idea to have your central air conditioner serviced annually by a professional. Depending on where you live this will generally cost between $100 and $300.

 

SUMMER


Lubricate and test overhead garage door – Garage doors have moving parts that should be lubricated. With the door closed clean dirt and debris from the track. Use a lithium-based aerosol and spray rollers, bearings and other moving parts of the door and opener (chain or threaded rod). Your garage door should have stop and auto reverse motion detection to sense if an object is in its path. Get a 2×4 piece of wood and place it underneath the open door, then close the door using the opener button. The door should stop closing once it detects the wood and go back up. Also test the photo-electric sensors by moving something in front of them while the door is coming down, it should reverse direction and go back up.

 

FALL
Service central heating system – It’s a good idea to have your furnace serviced annually by a professional. Depending on where you live this will generally cost between $100 and $300.

 

The complete list is long and there are still more things that could be added. Keep in mind that everyone’s individual lifestyle, type of construction, geographic location, etc. will determine specifics to your individual plan.

 

 

The complete list can certainly seem overwhelming. This is a big part of why routine maintenance gets overlooked. If you break it down into the individual tasks, spread them out and schedule them, it’s doable, like eating an elephant one bite at a time.

 

(Get the full maintenance plan here)

How to Be Intentional About Home Maintenance

 

 

Out of Sight, Out of Mind Is Not A Good Plan

 

 

Your home is far more than just a place to reside, it’s where you live. It provides a feeling of safety and security, like a mother’s hug. It’s the place you want to be when everything around you is falling apart.


If your home is a place of shelter you don’t want it to be the thing falling apart.


Whether you rent or own your home, it’s one of your biggest investments. It’s where you spend much of your time, money, and life. With it being this important, you need to take care of it.


If our homes are so important, why are they neglected?


We are creatures of habit, whether good or bad. We preform our daily routines of coming and going and rarely bother to look around. Unless a doorknob falls off in our hand or there’s no hot water for our shower, or the sink gets stopped up, or the AC doesn’t work, or any number of other problems occur, we just go through life without giving any thought to the condition of our homes.

 

 

Maintenance isn’t going to prevent every big problem from happening, but it decreases the likely hood. Having a scheduled maintenance plan will also help you find needed repairs before they become major.

 


Having an intentional plan is important, but it won’t work if you don’t use it.

 

With everything else going on in life, how can we remember one more thing? We don’t have to if we have a scheduled plan. First you need to decide if home maintenance is important enough for you to bother with. If it doesn’t bother you when you’re forced to deal with a big problem, then don’t worry about it. You’ll know the sump pump has quit working when you replace the carpet, baseboard and lower portion of the sheetrock in your basement.


The most important part of the maintenance plan is having a system in place that works for you. I use my computer calendar for this. I can set reminders for different time periods and it will automatically remind me. Just this last weekend I was reminded that is was time to clean the coffee maker. If it hadn’t been for the reminder it wouldn’t have gotten done. Whether you use a computer, a paper calendar or something else, you need to follow through regularly.


The overwhelming maintenance mountain becomes manageable if you break it down into shovel size amounts.


Your home and life are specific to you. Your maintenance plan needs to be designed to fit those specificities. Different manufacturers of appliances and home equipment will have their own recommendations, so you should schedule your plan around that. If you have hard well water you might need to clean faucets, shower heads, coffee makers, etc. more often than recommended. If you don’t use some things regularly, they might need less maintenance.

 


Next week we’ll dig deeper into the specifics of what a maintenance plan includes, complete with a downloadable Home Maintenance Checklist for you to use.