There is a lot more that goes into being a responsible homeowner than just writing a check to your mortgage company every month. Among those responsibilities is a substantial list of maintenance tasks, some of which need to be tackled seasonally or every couple of years, and some monthly home maintenance tasks that you need to be doing much more regularly.
Effective home maintenance is important for a couple key reasons. For starters, staying on top of maintenance can help you discover any burgeoning issues in their earliest stages, instead of when they become costly emergencies. It can also extend the lifespan of your home’s essential systems and features, potentially allowing you to get many more years of use out of them before repairs or replacements are needed.
Whether you’re new to homeownership or just looking for a refresher on what home maintenance tasks you need to keep on your radar, use the checklist of monthly home maintenance tasks below to stay on track of important to-dos and keep your home in the best condition possible. Your future self will thank you—and so will your wallet.
Checklist of Monthly Home Maintenance Tasks
Making sure to stay on top of crucial monthly home maintenance tasks is part and parcel of keeping comfortable and maximizing your home investment. Here are 10 that you don’t want to skip out on.
Clean or replace your furnace filter
Depending on the furnace filter you have in place, you may not need to fully replace it every single month—but you should still be giving it a once-over every month and removing any build up of dust or other debris. Doing so will ensure that you get the best possible air quality circulating throughout your home. It will also go a long way toward helping you keep energy costs down.
Check air conditioner refrigerant lines for leaks
While you’re doing your monthly HVAC filter check-up, go outside and take a glance at those two copper lines that connect your air conditioner to the indoor evaporator coil. Check the lines for any leaks, which are pretty common occurrences that cause your AC to have to work a lot harder than it should be. If you find any, you’ll want to call in an HVAC tech to address the problem.
Look around your sinks and toilets for leaks, too
Small leaks have a tendency to turn into big problems. In addition to having AC line leaks on your list of monthly home maintenance tasks, make a point of checking around your sinks and toilets as well. Any sign of water should be looked into further, even if it’s just a few drops. Not only do leaks generally get worse over time, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the average household water leak can lead to nearly 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year.
Remove any hair or debris from your drains
Cleaning out drains is definitely not a fun task, but it is an important one. One a month, inspect your tub and sink drains for efficiency. And if they’re not draining correctly, unclog the drain using boiling water, baking soda and vinegar, a drain snake, or any other method that helps you get them working in full again.
Clean the garbage disposal
The garbage disposal tends to be an “out of sight, out of mind” system—or at least until it acts up in some way. To prevent any odors or other frustrating problems from happening though, it’s a good idea to make garbage disposal cleaning one of your monthly home maintenance tasks. To do it, pour half a cup of baking soda into it and then slowly pour in half a cup of vinegar. Alternately, you could drop a bunch of ice cubes down there, grind them up, and then follow up with a half cup of baking soda and a flush of boiling water.
Test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
The best time to ensure that your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in tip-top working order is before you actually need them to be. So as you go through your monthly home maintenance tasks, make sure to add a quick test of these systems to the list. All of your alarms should have a test button on them that you can press to ensure they’re running smoothly, but check the owner’s manual for your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors just in case to see if there’s something else you should be doing. If you have smart detectors, you may be able to test them right from your phone.
Check on your fire extinguishers
Hopefully you already have fire extinguishers located throughout your home in easily accessible areas (and if you don’t, go out and purchase some). To ensure they’ll be ready for you if and when you need them, take a quick inventory every month of your extinguishers and make sure that they’re (a) located in a handy spot and (b) aren’t damaged in some way. Most fire extinguishers don’t have precise expiration dates but do become less useful over time. If you notice that your extinguishers are old, dented, or showing low pressure, it’s time to replacement them.
Give electrical cords a once-over
Take a stroll through your home and take a quick look at your exposed electrical cords to check for any wear and tear. Worn or otherwise damaged cords can be extremely dangerous, and should be repaired right away with either electrical tape or a full replacement cord, depending on the extent of the damage.
Clean your kitchen vent hood filter
The exhaust fan filter over your stove is designed to catch grease, which means that it gets quite grimy over time and, if it’s not cleaned regularly, can get so blocked up that it can’t do its job anymore. To clean it, simple remove the filter from the hood and give it a scrub down in the sink with hot water and a de-greasing dish soap, then let it dry and pop it back into place.
Walk around your home’s exterior
Take a lap around the outside of your home and look for any issues such as cracks in the foundation or standing water. Ideally you’ll find nothing of note, but if you do, these are problems that can quickly become major headaches, so you’ll be glad that you noticed them right away.
Make Maintenance a Priority
Keeping up with monthly home maintenance tasks is guaranteed to save you time, money, and stress during the years that you spend in your home. And by keeping your property in good condition, it also increases your chance of scoring a great price if you go to sell it later on.
In addition to your monthly tasks, make sure that you also stick to a schedule with your seasonal and yearly maintenance must-dos. Things like winterizing your home and inspecting your gutters and roof after everything thaws in the spring are just as essential as your monthly maintenance tasks when it comes to reducing your risk of expensive repairs.
The longer you stay in your home, the more these tasks will become rote parts of your month, your season, and your year. Stick with them, and call in a professional at the first sign of a problem instead of trying to wait it out.
Mueller, L. (2020, November 25). 10 monthly home maintenance tasks you should be doing. Moving.com. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from https://www.moving.com/tips/10-monthly-home-maintenance-tasks-you-should-be-doing/