HELLO FEBRUARY! A new month means a new home maintenance checklist. Here are the 8 tasks we recommend homeowners do this month to stay on track with maintenance tasks for the year:
Clean or replace HVAC filters
HVAC filters are essential components in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. They help remove contaminants, dust, and other particles from the air before it is circulated in the home. To clean or replace HVAC filters, follow these steps:
- Locate the filter: HVAC filters are usually located in the ductwork or near the unit itself.
- Determine the type of filter: There are several types of filters, including fiberglass, pleated, and HEPA filters. Make sure you know which type of filter you have.
- Remove the old filter: Turn off the HVAC system and then carefully remove the old filter by either pulling it out or releasing it from its slot.
- Clean the filter: If the filter is not too dirty, you can clean it using a vacuum cleaner or a damp cloth. If it is heavily soiled, it’s best to replace it.
- Replace the filter: Insert the new or cleaned filter back into its slot, making sure it fits securely.
- Turn the HVAC system back on: Once the filter is in place, turn the HVAC system back on and check that it’s running smoothly.
It’s important to clean or replace HVAC filters regularly, as dirty filters can reduce the efficiency of the HVAC system, leading to increased energy bills and potential damage to the unit.
Clean the kitchen drain/garbage disposal.
Cleaning a kitchen drain and garbage disposal can help keep your sink and kitchen smelling fresh and reduce clogs. Here are the steps to clean your kitchen drain and garbage disposal:
- Fill the sink with hot water and add a few drops of dish soap. Turn on the disposal and let it run until the water and soap have cleared the pipes.
- Clean the drain: Mix equal parts baking soda and vinegar, then pour the mixture down the drain. Let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse with hot water.
- Scrub the disposal: Use a scrub brush or an old toothbrush to clean the interior of the disposal, removing any built-up grease or grime.
- Deodorize: You can also sprinkle a small amount of baking soda and lemon juice down the disposal and let it run for a few seconds to freshen up the smell.
- Turn the power back on: When finished, run the disposal for a few seconds to make sure it’s working properly.
Inspect each fire extinguisher in your home.
If there is ever a time you need to use your fire extinguisher, it’s important to have it in working condition. Here’s how to inspect your fire extinguishers to make sure you are prepared for a fire emergency:
- Check the pressure gauge: The pressure gauge should be in the green zone, indicating that the extinguisher is fully charged and ready to use.
- Check the pull pin: The pull pin should be in place, and the safety seal should be intact.
- Check the hose and nozzle: Make sure the hose and nozzle are not clogged and that there are no signs of damage or corrosion.
- Check the expiration date: Fire extinguishers have a limited lifespan and should be replaced after a certain period of time. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific lifespan of your fire extinguisher.
- Check for any visible signs of damage or leakage: Look for any dents, cracks, or signs of corrosion. If you see any of these, the fire extinguisher should be replaced.
- Clean the exterior: Wipe down the exterior of the fire extinguisher to remove any dirt or grime.
Vacuum your refrigerator’s coils.
The coils, located either at the back or bottom of the fridge, can accumulate dust and debris over time which can reduce the efficiency of the cooling system. To clean the coils, you’ll need a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment. Here are the steps to follow:
- Unplug the refrigerator: To avoid any electrical hazards, make sure to unplug the fridge before starting the cleaning process.
- Locate the coils: Look for the coils at the back or bottom of the fridge. They are usually covered by a metal grille or a plastic panel.
- Remove the grille or panel: Remove the grille or panel covering the coils. This may involve unscrewing screws or pressing clips.
- Vacuum the coils: Use the brush attachment of your vacuum cleaner to carefully clean the coils of any dust or debris.
- Replace the grille or panel: Once the coils are cleaned, replace the grille or panel and secure it in place.
- Plug the refrigerator back in: Finally, plug the fridge back in and turn it on.
By regularly cleaning the coils, you can help to keep your fridge running efficiently, reducing energy usage and extending its lifespan.
Clean your kitchen exhaust hood and air filter
A kitchen exhaust hood and air filter play a crucial role in removing smoke, grease, and odors from your kitchen while cooking. Cleaning them regularly helps maintain their performance and prolongs their lifespan. Here’s how you can clean them:
- Turn off the power: Before starting the cleaning process, make sure to turn off the power to the hood. This is usually done by flipping the switch or unplugging the unit.
- Remove the air filter: Most air filters are easily removable, either by pulling them out or releasing a latch. Depending on the type of filter you have, you may need to wash it in warm, soapy water or replace it.
- Clean the hood: Use a damp cloth to wipe down the exterior of the hood, including the fan blades. For heavy grease build-up, a degreaser may be necessary. Avoid using abrasive cleaners as they can damage the finish.
- Clean the interior: Use a damp cloth or sponge to clean the interior of the hood, including the ductwork and light fixtures. If there is heavy grease build-up, a degreaser may be necessary.
- Reinstall the air filter: Once the hood is clean, reinstall the air filter and turn the power back on.
By following these steps, you can help ensure your kitchen exhaust hood and air filter are functioning properly and removing smoke, grease, and odors effectively.
Check sinks and toilets for leaks, and make any necessary repairs.
Checking for leaks in your sinks and toilets is a simple and important step in maintaining your home. A leak can waste a lot of water and potentially cause damage to your home, so it’s important to identify and fix them promptly.
To check for leaks in your sinks, make sure the faucet is turned off and no water is running. Look under the sink for any signs of water damage or dripping. Also, check the faucet for any drips.
To check for leaks in your toilets, place a few drops of food coloring into the tank. If the color starts to show up in the bowl within 15 minutes, it means you have a leak. Another sign of a leak is a constantly running toilet.
If you find a leak, it’s important to have it fixed as soon as possible to avoid any further damage or waste of resources.
Check the hoses on your washing machine, dishwasher and ice maker for leaks, and replace as needed.
- Turn off the water supply: Before you start, turn off the water supply to the appliance. This will help prevent any water from spilling out and causing damage.
- Locate the hoses: Find the hoses that connect the appliance to the water supply. They are typically located at the back of the appliance.
- Look for signs of wear and tear: Check the hoses for signs of cracking, bulging, or other damage. This can indicate a potential leak.
- Check for leaks: Turn the water supply back on and check the hoses for any leaks. If you notice water spilling out or a steady stream of water, it means the hose is leaking and needs to be replaced.
- Replace the hose: If you find a leak, turn off the water supply and replace the hose. You can purchase a new hose from a hardware store.
By following these steps, you can keep your appliances in good working order and prevent potential water damage.
Test GFCI outlets in kitchens, bathrooms and laundry room.
A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is a safety device that protects people from electrical shock by detecting any loss of current in an electrical circuit and shutting off the power to that circuit if necessary. To ensure your GFCI outlets are working properly, you should test them regularly. Here’s how to do it:
- Locate the GFCI outlets in your kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room.
- Press the “test” button on each outlet. The outlet should shut off power immediately and the “reset” button should pop out.
- Press the “reset” button to turn the power back on.
- If the power does not come back on or the “reset” button does not pop out, the outlet is not working properly and should be replaced by a licensed electrician.
It is important to test your GFCI outlets regularly to make sure they are working properly and to protect yourself from electrical shock.
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