It’s easy to take our home systems for granted. They may seem to just hum along in the background, but they’re an integral part of keeping our everyday lives running smoothly. Make sure you take a little time at the start of each season to give your systems the TLC they deserve to help prevent breakdowns at inopportune times.
HVAC system maintenance
Taking care of your HVAC system helps keep your A/C healthy in the summer and your family warm in the winter. Follow these guidelines throughout the year to keep your system in tip-top shape:
- Get two professional maintenance checks a year—one in the fall and one in the spring.
- Check outdoor units for nearby debris and ensure the area around them remains clear.
- Clean or replace your air filters at least once every three months. Depending on the type of filter your system uses, you may even need to change it as often as monthly to ensure your system is running most efficiently.
- Adjust programmable thermostat settings for optimal efficiency. It’s best to set it to decrease energy use while you’re out and return to more comfortable temperatures only when you return home.
- Seal any openings that may be letting air in or out of your home.
- In the summer, use curtains, shades, or blinds to prevent sun from beaming in and heating up the house, which causes your A/C to work harder to regulate the temperature.
- Rotate your ceiling fan blades clockwise in cool months and counterclockwise in warm months to keep heat moving in a direction that minimizes the effort of your HVAC system.
Don’t fall victim to leaks, clogs, or burst pipes. Stay on top of your plumbing system’s health to ensure you always have running water and your home remains free of water damage.
- Watch what you put down the garbage disposal. Discard any stringy vegetables, fatty meats, and cooking oils elsewhere before rinsing pots, pans, and plates in the sink.
- Set your hot water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (or a little less) to conserve energy and prevent scalding.
- Clear any drain clogs with an all-natural mixture of equal parts baking soda and vinegar. Pour a half cup of baking soda down the drain first, followed by a half cup of vinegar. Avoid abrasive, store-bought solutions that can corrode pipes and cause damage over time.
- Use drain strainers in your showers and tubs to catch hair and prevent future clogs.
- Remove mineral deposits from shower heads by filling a plastic bag with vinegar and securing it over the shower head with a rubber band. Leave it to soak for several hours or overnight, and when you remove it, you should be able to successfully wipe the buildup away.
- Check inside under-sink cabinets for any leaks or stains, which may signal water damage or mold issues. Call a professional plumber if you find anything.
- In the winter, disconnect outside water hoses to prevent any water in the hoses from freezing and breaking pipes inside your home.
- Insulate pipes in areas that don’t receive heat. There are several types of insulation that are very easy to install yourself, but you can always reach out to a plumber if you’re unsure about how to go about it.
Electrical system maintenance
Your home’s electrical system should always be functioning properly so you can keep living comfortably, minimize potential surge damage, and prevent any electrical shock injuries.
- Do a sweep through all your exposed wires or cables. If you notice any damage, it’s time to replace them.
- Inspect your wall outlets and all appliance cords and plugs to ensure everything is in good working order.
- Test your circuit breaker a few times a year to make sure it’s working correctly so you and your home remain protected.
- Replace any burned-out bulbs. Check that you choose replacements with the correct wattage to keep your bills low and prevent premature burnout.
- Always keep electrical items away from water sources. Store appliances in areas that never become damp.
Caring for a home is a huge responsibility, but if you remember to take proper maintenance measures throughout the year, you’ll likely enjoy your sanctuary without too many hiccups. Enlist roommates or family members to help tackle the items on this list so you can all live happily, safely, and comfortably—no matter the season.