After several years of living in the same house, you know every inch of it like the back of your hand. You can pretty much list the causes of every stubborn stain in the kitchen, know which stairs to avoid if you’re trying to sneak around, and have a mental list of all the things that have needed to be fixed for the past few years. Your house doesn’t have to be in a state of disrepair in order for you to preserve the memories of your years living in it. In fact, regular home maintenance is needed to prevent bigger problems from popping up and costing you a lot of money. Here are some simple repairs you can do yourself to make your house look just as it did when you first moved in.
Does it feel like you’re spending too much time fixing a leaky faucet? If so, you may need to replace the washer completely. The washers inside the faucet handles are rubber and tend to wear out quickly. Replace them by turning off the main water supply, unscrewing the leaky handle that controls the flow of water to the spout, removing the old washer, and dropping in the new one.
Washing Machine and Dryer
One of the top reasons for insurance claims is for water damage caused by leaky washing machine supply lines. Save yourself the trouble of calling an emergency plumber by inspecting your washing machine water supply hoses for leaks at least annually. If they are made of plastic, you should make a note to replace them every three years. They must be replaced immediately if, during one of your inspections, you notice that the metal ends of your water supply lines are rusty or discolored.
Faulty washing machine drain hoses are as important as the water supply lines when it comes to keeping water off of your floor and in your drain where it belongs. As with supply lines, regularly inspect the ends of your washing machine drain lines for discoloration or rust, and replace them immediately if you find evidence of leaking.
As for your dryer, it is important that you regularly clean your lint screen. Not only will a clean lint screen prevent fires, but it will also increase the life of the heating element. Physically remove the lint from the screen between each load of laundry. Also, be sure to remove fabric softener residue by washing the screen with warm water and dish detergent once per week.
Range Hood Filter
Whether you use your range hood every time you cook, or only when the kitchen looks a bit too steamy and you’d rather not set off the smoke alarm, there’s a good chance you’ve never thought about cleaning it too often. But if you stop to think about how much kitchen grease it must have collected over the years, you suddenly won’t want to wait much longer. If it hasn’t already, over time it will become blocked from too much grease to do its job effectively. Thankfully, you won’t need to buy any special products to get the filter properly clean. Simply soak the filter in a solution of boiling water, baking soda, and a good degreasing dish soap. Once you’ve cleaned it this way once, you can save yourself some effort by sticking the filter in the dishwasher at least once a month.
Despite what you tell your guests, there should not be a secret trick to getting hot water into your shower. Water heaters, like other appliances, need maintenance to increase longevity and reduce the possibility of damage.
Water has sediment suspended in it, and as the water sits in your water heater, these particles will often settle to the bottom of the tank, causing damage to the floor of your water heater. Although you may be tempted to call a professional, there is no reason why you can’t maintain the heater yourself. You must simply drain the water from your water heater and clean the inside surface of its floor, at least once per year.
To drain your water heater, first turn off the water supply and power to the water heater. For electric water heaters, turning off the power means that you simply flip the circuit breaker to the “off” position. For gas water heaters, turn the thermostat setting to the pilot position.
Next, connect a water hose to the drain fitting at the bottom of the tank and put the other end in a place, such as your driveway, where the draining hot water won’t cause any damage. A typical garden hose is a direct fit to the drain fitting. Turn on all the hot water faucets in your home and then open the drain valve on the water heater. Turn the water supply back on with the drain valve still open to remove any built up sediment in the bottom of the tank. Then close the drain valve, refill the tank, and turn the power back on.
As well as the usual deep clean of the house interior, spring is also a good time to focus on the exterior of the house. The house may have sustained some damage due to the cold elements of winter, so it’s best to sort those out before it can suffer from the brutal humidity of summer. Check for any chipping paint, or holes in the sides of your brick. Clean out the gutters and make sure the rainwater will flow away from your house. Trim any trees or shrubs to prevent plants growing into the cracks of your home. Should they get in, this will cause a lot of damage and shorten the longevity of the house.
General Interior Maintenance
Every once in a while you should re-grout the bathroom, silence squeaky floorboards, dust your air vents, and generally make sure your appliances are in good condition. General maintenance will save you from having to make any major upgrades for a good few years.