Last week, my wife smartly scheduled a company to come and clean out our dryer duct. She noticed that the dryer wasn’t as efficient in drying our laundry and that there were linty remnants raining down the side of the house beneath the duct vent. Upon a quick inspection, the technician said it was clear that we were long overdue for a cleaning. That got me thinking… what other routine maintenance should I schedule to be performed on the house? After all, regular maintenance on a home is so important in keeping a house at its optimal condition. When it comes time to sell, it’s easy to see which houses have been well maintained and which ones have been neglected. Deferred maintenance can cost a seller a significant amount when it comes time to negotiate the price.
Here is a checklist of maintenance to be mindful of from time to time:
Change out HVAC filters: Experts say to change out the filters monthly. If you are a pet-free home and have minimal allergy issues, you can change them out every 2-3 months. Look up at your vents and see if there’s a collection of dust along the grates. If it’s visible on the outside of the grates, then the filter is likely to be maxed out.
Have your dryer ducts cleaned: Having the ducts cleaned increases the efficiency of your dryer. The filter in the dryer that you clean out every time you use the dryer catches only 10% of all the lint. The rest gets built up inside the ductwork that vents to the outside of your house. Not only will a cleaning reduce your monthly utility cost, but it may actually prevent an accident as a clogged ducts can lead to a fire inside your dryer.
Test smoke/carbon dioxide detectors: Good rule of thumb is to test these every 6 months. Push the text button on each detector to see if it emits the alert signal. Better yet, just replace the batteries every 6 months so that you won’t have to deal with a low battery warning signal at 4am!
Clean out the gutters: Spring is a good time to clean gutters and rid them of the grime and sediments from the winter weather conditions.
Have your AC serviced: For single family homes with central air conditioning units, getting it routinely serviced by a professional is a really good idea. If you don’t, inevitably on the hottest day of summer, the AC will cease to work and a technician will be hard to come by during their peak season.
Have your heating units serviced: Conversely, in preparation for the winter, get your furnace inspected and serviced annually. Make sure all heating vents are venting properly and not blocked by furniture.
Have the chimneys cleaned: Getting your chimney cleaned once a year before cold weather sets saves you from surprise issues for that moment when you actually go to use your fireplace.
Conduct a quarterly pest control: There are many companies that come out on a quarterly basis and spray the exterior of your house to rid you of common household pests such as spiders, silverfish, ants, earwigs, etc. More difficult insect problems such as cockroaches, fleas, termites and bees might require more specialized pest control services. Routine applications decrease the presence of these bugs and prevent future infestations from occurring.
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.
We are lucky to live in California, and in Southern California no less, where we experience less volatile seasonal changes so we can be a less vigilant about protecting the home from weather extremities. But do be mindful and conduct visual checks on the exterior of your house looking for cracks in the pavement, damage to window frames, proper drainage function and potential issues on the roof. And while this is not a comprehensive list, this is a good place to start. Lastly, if you are like me, always get your outdoor BBQ serviced and cleaned in time for Memorial Day to kick off the summer right.