Home ownership has long been equated with the American dream — in fact, some 70% of U.S. residents who own their own home say that doing so helps them live that dream. When it comes to indoor home maintenance tasks, however, plenty of people would rather hide under the covers. Luckily, the following tasks only need to be performed once a year. Take a weekend in the spring, and another in the fall, to tackle a few simple chores.
Doing so will drive down your energy costs, help your systems and appliances work better and last longer, and keep your home running smoothly and safely.
In the event of a home fire, your chance of escaping unharmed is doubled if you have a working smoke alarm installed. But it’s not enough to have alarms in place; you need to check that they’re working, and replace the batteries, once a year. The same goes for carbon monoxide detectors.
Give the Appliances Some Attention
You know how grimy the top of your stove can get — so you probably don’t even want to think about what the back of this major appliance looks like. Nevertheless, this is another task that is part of Adulting 101. Enlist the help of your strongest child, or a burly friend, to pull out the oven, refrigerator, washer, dryer, and any other large appliances. Be careful not to knock loose the gas or water lines.
Get behind the appliance with a damp dust rag, vacuum coils and hoses, and be sure to vacuum and mop the floor underneath each behemoth, too. Your reward? Longer lasting appliances, for one. Plus, you might just discover some forgotten kitchen utensils or hidden cat toys.
Help Your HVAC System
The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system in your home is a true workhorse, and you’d be in pretty major trouble without it. So show it a little love during your annual deep clean.
Check all the hoses, valves, and vents. Clean the furnace and air conditioner filters, replacing them as needed. This small act could help you save big on heating and cooling bills; if the filters are clogged, the system has to work that much harder to pump air. This results in a less-efficient process, and more money being siphoned out of your pocket. Want to flex your handyperson prowess and avoid having to call an HVAC repair company? Learn how to clean an EZ trap!
Deep Clean the Carpets
No matter how religiously you vacuum, your carpets are bound to harbor dust, pet dander, allergens, and other stuff that isn’t good for your family to breathe. When autumn rolls around, either have your carpets professionally cleaned, or do the job yourself. If you choose to go the DIY route, you can either rent a steam cleaner from the local big-box hardware store or supermarket, or invest in one to keep. While you’ve got the machine out, use it to steam clean your upholstery too (and maybe even your car’s floor mats!).
Let Some Sun Shine In
This annual home maintenance tasks are better suited for spring, when you really need that burst of bright sunlight to lift your spirits! Make sure to clean both sides of the window if possible, to really help them sparkle. As for the best way to wash windows? It’s probably the same method your grandmother used: white vinegar and crumpled newspapers. It’s also a good idea to give your window treatments a thorough freshening as well. Check to see if your draperies can be machine-washed, or take them to the dry cleaner’s.
Blinds really filthy? Take them down, then swish them in a bathtub filled with warm water and mild detergent. If they’re not that bad, you can leave them in place, and dust them with a rag lightly sprayed with a gentle cleaning solution.
Wash the Walls
The last big task on our lists is washing the walls. First, take your vacuum to them — use the brush attachment, and pay particular attention to the baseboards, the moulding, and corners where the walls meet the ceiling. You know, the places where spiderwebs and dust like to collect.
After that, it’s a matter of running a cloth, either spritzed with an all-purpose, or dunked into a bucket of water and gentle suds, over the walls. Notice if there are any spots where paint has chipped, and touch those up.
There You Have It!
These maintenance and cleaning chores might not be your idea of a fun way to spend a weekend, but they’re important to do. They’ll extend the life of your appliances and systems, keep the air your family breathes cleaner, and generally spruce the place up, so you’ll enjoy it more! Get started with your home maintenance tasks as soon as possible.