Checklist: Monthly Maintenance

by Jon Nunan

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When it comes to reducing repair and replacement costs for your property, there is no substitute for keeping up with your monthly maintenance. Many homeowners are familiar with the high costs that can accrue when something goes wrong unexpectedly; performing monthly maintenance is a good way to keep tabs on what's wearing quickly, as well as keep the facets of your home that are working well in good shape. There are many things in your home that need monthly attention. By taking care of these, you're likely to avoid some big headaches (not to mention service bills) in the future.

Monthly Home Maintenance: Fire Safety Devices
Small monthly maintenance for your safety devices is important, and doesn't take much time, at all. Even a small amount of fire damage can be extremely costly to repair, so keeping up with your monthly maintenance on these devices is an investment in your property as well as in your family's safety!
Fire extinguisher — Check that it's fully charged and recharge if necessary, especially if you have used it recently. Be sure you have an adequate number located in kitchen, garage, and basement. Fire extinguisher placement is also important. If it is in an inconvenient spot, it won't be much use when it is needed.

Smoke detector — Another one of those items that is easy to forget about, but can play a huge role in an emergency. Test your battery every month and replace if necessary.

Kitchen and Bathroom Monthly Maintenance
Sink and shower drains often go unnoticed until there's a problem. Taking these steps every month will help your kitchen and bathroom drains running smoothly.
Sink and tub stoppers - Flush with hot water and baking soda.

Garbage disposal — Check safety valve and steam pressure gauge and replace if necessary; check water level gauge and add water if needed; drain water until clear of sediment.

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HVAC Monthly Maintenance
Heating and cooling are two of the most pleasant of modern conveniences. Unfortunately, when something goes wrong, they can be very costly to repair (and very uncomfortable to go without). Make sure your monthly home maintenance includes a quick check of your heating and cooling systems!
Steam heating system — Test relief valve and replace if necessary; check pressure gauge and drain expansion tank if necessary.

Forced warm air heating system — Check blankets and replace if needed; check air flow; clean or repair unit if necessary.

Evaporative air conditioner — Clean or replace air filter; clean condenser or evaporator coils and condensate drain; remove snow and/or debris from outdoor portion of unit.

Heat pump — Clean or replace filter; clean condenser and evaporator coils and condensate drain.

Though monthly maintenance is something that some homeowners might let slide, doing so can make your home less efficient and can lead to higher bills or even safety issues. By taking care of these things once a month, your home will run more smoothly and repairs will be less frequent (and less surprising, too).

Jon Nunan is a freelance writer who draws on his experience in construction, ranging from landscaping to log home building, for his articles on home improvement.