I admit, I am a creature of habit. So, the first of every month (or pretty close to it), I have a short list of things I do to help keep the house in good repair, and everything working as it should. Well, today I was over at a friend’s, and her kitchen sink drain was clogged. Again. So I helped her unclog it. Again. It was then that it occurred to me that there are truly people in the world who do not have a monthly home maintenance to-do list! I know right, it’s inconceivable….Therefore, I decided to share my routine here!
To-Do List for Monthly Home Maintenance
1. Change the air conditioner filters. We have two air intakes in our home, one in the hall, and one in the living room. And you can’t even believe how clogged they get in a month’s time. Part of that can be contributed to pets, and part to Oklahoma dust, but I swear I have no idea where the rest comes from. If you haven’t changed yours in a while, be prepared to be freaked out when you open the vent cover. And if you open the vent cover and there is no filter, it means one of two things: your air filter is on the side of the unit in the garage or attic, OR someone took out a clogged filter and didn’t replace it. If it is the latter, consider having your AC unit serviced, because all the gunk that the AC filters should have caught is now in your AC unit., making it way less efficient. Just sayin’.
2. Check all the drains in your house, and if they are sluggish treat them. This may be TMI, but with teenagers who shave practically every follicle of hair off, in the shower, the drain will clog. The same teenagers will then cram half a cheeseburger into the garbage disposal and wonder why it smells bad. Since both of these are pretty much inevitable, I pour Liquid Plumber down the drains at the first sign of them slowing down. And I pour it into the garbage disposal monthly to clean out the gunk. If you are a chemical-free household, you can achieve adequate results by pouring down 1 cup of baking soda, followed by 1 cup of vinegar, followed by a hot water flush. Use either with caution if you have really, really old pipes. Running ice and dish soap through the garbage disposal also works pretty well. For me, the Liquid Plumber is faster, neater, and more effective. I like drains that drain.
3. Check filters on the refrigerator and washing machine. Until recently, I didn’t even know my washing machine had a filter. But the nice repair man who came out because my washer wouldn’t drain showed me just where it was. $68.00 later, I had one more thing added to my monthly list: Check the filter on my High Efficiency Washer. The filter on the refrigerator is for the water line for ice, so if you don’t have an ice maker, you won’t have a filter, either. On both appliances, the filter is at the bottom of the machine.
4.Clean and Sanitize the Basket of the Washer Most High Efficiency Washers have a clean and sanitize cycle. Because they use a relatively small amount of water, the basket doesn’t necessarily get as clean as it should. If I forget to do this, I am reminded by funky-smelling towels. On my machine, I simply hit the “Basket Clean” button, add 1 cup of bleach, and set the water temp to “sanitize.” The cycle takes about an hour and should be ran with the machine empty.
5. Clean the Ceiling Fans Right now you are thinking to yourself “my fans aren’t dirty.” Yes, they are, but most of it is on the top of the blades, where you can’t see it. That extendable Swiffer thingy works perfectly for this task.
6. Check Smoke Detectors & Fire Extinguishers There is a little button you can push to make the alarm sound, so check to make sure it sounds. If it doesn’t, change the batteries or troubleshoot the problem. Then, check the fire extinguisher.
7. Clean aerators on faucets and showerheads We have pretty hard water here, so ours have actually clogged up enough that the faucets quit running. Now I soak the aerators in CLR and scrub them out. I also scrub the shower heads with CLR.
8.Check exterior lights. Replace if the bulbs need replacing, and clean up the fixture if it’s getting dirty.
9. Sweep out the AC compressor This is the year the cottonwoods are blooming, so the compressor gets full of cottonwood fluff, and it means the compressor has to work very hard to do its job. Usually, a stiff broom will clear out most of the debris. About once a quarter, we clean ours with a power washer to get the stubborn stuff out.
10. De-flea the pets Obviously not home maintenance, but if we do this when we are doing all the rest, we don’t forget it. So everyone gets their Advantix and my house is flea free. That’s it for monthly home maintenance. I timed myself this month, and it took me about 20 minutes to go through the list.Not too bad for a smooth running home! Now, go forth and be handy!