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Financial responsibility is usually first on your mind when buying and right after you’ve purchased a home, but there’s also time and labor required in the form of home maintenance. Keeping up with these tasks will keep you from future headaches and wasted money. As a new homeowner, it can seem intimidating or totally overwhelming—but, you can accomplish most of this lengthy list of tasks on your own without much experience.

Maximize your efficiency by creating a home maintenance calendar for yourself. Set regular tasks for each weekend to even out the pace. Tackle them in the manner that fits you and your schedule, so your home will be as worry free as possible for years to come.

MONTHLY

  • Inspect, and possibly change out HVAC filters. Experts will say to change the filters monthly, but that depends on the type of filter you use. Small families without pets or allergies only need to change them every 2 or 3 months. Check the filter thoroughly. If it’s very dirty and clogged with dust or pet hair, change it. If doesn’t look much different than when it was installed, inspect it again next month
  • Clean kitchen sink disposal. There are several methods, but the simplest solution seems to be vinegar ice cubes. Mix a 50 percent vinegar to 50 percent water solution, about one cup of each, and pour it into an ice tray. Let it freeze, then run the ice cubes through the disposal. The vinegar will clean and freshen the disposal overall, but as a bonus, ice sharpens the blades.
  • Clean range hood filters. If you’ve never thought of doing this, the first time will be the worst and least pleasant. This is a task you don’t want to skip, as the buildup in the vent hood filter is a fire hazard. Use a degreaser from an auto parts store mixed with hot water. Let the filter sit for a few minutes, rinse it off, and you’re good to replace it.
  • Inspect your fire extinguisher(s). This inspection doesn’t require much: ensure the extinguisher is quickly and easily accessible, that the gauge shows adequate pressure, and that there are no visible signs of wear and tear.
  • Wash and rinse the clothes-dryer lint screen. Like with the range hood, build up can be a fire hazard. Brush off any remaining lint before washing. A quick soak in a vinegar and water solution should clear it of build up and debris.

QUARTERLY

  • Test all smoke/carbon dioxide detectors. The detectors should have a test button. If the alarm sounds, then it’s working properly. If the alarm doesn’t sound, replace batteries and test again. If the alarm still doesn’t work, it’s possible there’s simply corrosion on the battery terminal, and it won’t detect new batteries. Clean it and try again. You’ll likely need a new detector, if it’s still not working.
  • Test the auto-reverse of automatic garage door openers. In 1993, federal law required all garage doors to have this feature after multiple child deaths, so you’ll want to test the garage door’s auto-reverse feature. Do this by placing a 2×4 on the ground where the door meets the ground. When the door hits the wood, the door should reverse and slide back open. Also test the photo-electric sensors if your model has them by placing an object in front of them. If the door doesn’t immediately go back up, you have a problem.
  • Run water through sinks and flush infrequently used toilets. This is for guest rooms or other spaces that aren’t used regularly. You want to prevent grime or any other kind of build-up, as that can lead to potential plumbing issues. Regularly running a little bit of water through will prevent this.
  • Check water-purification and water-softener filters. If they are in need, change them. If your softener requires more salt, add what’s necessary.

BIANNUALLY

  • Test your water heater’s pressure relief valve. This will prevent mineral and corrosion buildup, which safeguards against leaks. It will also help your heater run more efficiently.
  • Give your house a deep clean. Take one day every six months with and give the whole house a proper deep clean. Appliances, windows, walls, baseboards—the whole 9 yards. Keeping things clean and not letting dirt, grime, and dust build up will help keep your home in shape.
  • Replace batteries in smoke/carbon dioxide detectors. Don’t just assume you replace batteries when you hear the low battery beeping noise. With a device as important as this, you can’t be too careful, and batteries won’t break your bank. Change them out every six months.
  • Vacuum your refrigerator coils. Your refrigerator can use up to 15 percent of your home’s total power, so you want it running as efficiently as possible. Over time, the coils get dusty and dirty and require more power to operate. You can save up to $100 a year by doing this, and it’s not at all a difficult task.