Here are this months tips for keeping your home in shape, and remember, these are just some broader, forgotten items on your list as a homeowner. For smaller and more regular items, see Keeping Up Your Home. And as always, if there’s something I’ve missed that is a November regularity at your house, I’d love to know in the comments below or on social media. Enjoy!
- Clean and check dryer vents and hoses. This is a huge fire hazard and with static from dry winter air, this is a huge safety precaution. 34% of all house fires are caused by dryers according to the US Fire Administration.
- Clear debris from air ducts. With your heater kicking up in the cold, debris and gunk can also be a fire hazard, and if anything it just makes your house smell musty and gross. Get out the vacuum hose and get to work on cleaning out your vents. And for goodness sake check your air filters! I check mine every month just to see how they are since we have dogs.
- Inspect hoses on your washer, dishwasher, and ice maker. This can apply to other hoses as well such as water softener, etc. This is to double check before things start to stay cold that nothing is dry rotted or busted. The last thing you need anytime of the year is a water leak, and it’s a sure fire way to ruin the holidays.
- Check your sink and toilet plumbing. Most people’s homes are more heavily used in the colder months and during the holidays. You don’t want visiting family members to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, so make sure you’re plumbing is running smoothly. And in case you haven’t noticed, there’s definitely a theme here for the winter with the water and fire, two of the most common causes of home destruction that increase in the winter.
- Clean out those holiday decorations and donate what you don’t use. This doesn’t protect your home, but it may help your organization. Halloween is coming down, thanksgiving and Christmas are coming out. During this time, I like to go by the rule of thumb that if I haven’t used it in 2 years (aka this year and the year before) then it gets donated. Plus it’s fun to keep your decorations refreshed from year to year!
For many people, July is a month of vacationing, plus it’s just so dang hot outside, so this month’s list is pretty short.
- Check the locks and deadbolts on doors and windows. Burglars love it when you go on vacation, so you want to make sure your locks work. A tip that my inspector taught me: for your door jambs, replace the itty bitty screws that come with the strike plate (the part that actually goes onto the frame) with 3 inch screws. It’s scarily easy to kick through a door that has the standard screws, but switch those babies out and that strike plate ain’t going nowhere.
- De-clutter your garage or shop and donate items. I added this one for July because it’s a good break in the summer while you’ve been using all your outdoor equipment to get a little more organized. You now know what you have and what you need, so take the opportunity to get things straight. It’s also a great time of the year for early morning yard sales.
- Exterminate and stay on top of pest prevention. In North Carolina, it’s hot, it’s buggy, and fall will be here before you know it. Stay on top of pest prevention during this season when the ticks, mosquitoes, spiders are multiplying. You’ll thank yourself in the fall when you realize how much less buggy your yard and home are.
If you have any more July suggestions, please let me know! And of course in the blazing heat there’s plenty of things you can do to keep your home’s interior clean and maintained. Personally though, I’d rather be by the water or gardening in my spare time. What are your favorite things to do or get done during July?
From my home to yours,
Oh June, my favorite month. And no, it’s not only because it’s my birthday month. Fireflies, barefoot weather, beach trips, pool days, long evenings, and bright mornings. I love everything about this month. Here are a few tips for making your home cookout ready and as magical as fireflies in a jar.
- Repair and paint any fences. Spending lots of time outdoors means your pets probably are too. To keep your kids and fur children in, and to keep the critters out, check your fences and make any needed repairs. This is also a good time to paint or re-stain anywhere that is needed. Need someone to help you out? Contact me for service recommendations.
- Clean fridge pan, vents, fans, and coils, and check your door seal. Just like your AC, in the summer months your fridge is working extra hard to keep things cool. Another forgotten task, fridge cleaning is just as important as changing your air filters. Dust and grime can build up in the back of your fridge (you’d be shocked at how disgusting they can be) which makes it run even harder, causing your fridge to burnout. Your door seal is also a major factor in keeping the cold in, and every once in a while you should give it a few good swipes with a Clorox-water rag to get rid of any stickiness or mildew. If you think your fridge temps seem a little off, it’s always good to call a technician. When that happened to us, it turned out to be a manufacturer issue, so they fixed it for free (always call the warranty company because they’ll send out their technician who won’t charge if the issue is under warranty or a manufacturer problem!).
- Wash your area rugs. Outdoor time also means tracking more of the outside inside, so washing your area rugs is a good idea. They’ll dry quickly in the warm sunshine, and it’s a good way to keep allergens out of your house. Plus it’s not cold outside so you won’t miss those little heat traps while they’re outside as much as you would in the cooler weather.
- Remove old paints and flammables from your garage. Heat plus heat plus flammables equals danger. Anything that is expired or old or pressurized, dispose of it at the proper hazardous waste center.
- Clean the faucet aerators. What’s an aerator you say? When you look at your sink where the water comes out, you’ll notice there’s maybe 3/4 of an inch or so and then a seam. That end piece unscrews and is made up of a bunch of little parts that make up the aerator. It’s functions include but are not limited to: conserving water, regulate pressure, prevent splashing, even the water flow, and reduce noise. Just like any other fixture that experiences water flow, there can be buildup of moldy gunk or hard water deposits, so it needs cleaning every once in a while. I like to clean ours this time of year after we’ve gotten a lot of rain (well water life). It can be easily disassembled and cleaned, but if you have questions here is a great article on how to do it. You may also want to do the same to your shower head.
This month’s list is shorter, but keep up with your regular home and yard maintenance in addition to these bigger, frequently forgotten items. Did I forget something that is a June staple for you? Let me know in the comments or reach out to me directly! I love y’all’s feedback. Enjoy your summer, and I hope you make the most of every long summer day!
From my home to yours,
Welcome May, when the peonies are blooming, the weather is heating up, and backyard barbecues begin! That also means a new set of tasks to maintain your home. Here are this months tips for getting your house summer ready:
- Power wash your home’s exterior. Now that you cleaned the gunk out of your gutters in the previous month and pollen season has ended, it’s time to give your house a good bath. This is a crucial but often forgotten part of a homeowner’s upkeep. Prevent your siding from looking dingy and worn by either renting a power washer or hiring someone. I’m glad to give you some affordable suggestions.
- Wash and clean your windows inside and out. This goes hand in hand with the power washing! The weather is beautiful, and it helps to enjoy it when you can see through your windows clearly. I like to give ours a brief swipe around the edges with Clorox to prevent mold spores from moisture, and then a spritz with a peppermint oil and lemongrass mixture to deter spiders and other creepy crawlies.
- Clean, repair, and apply sealant to your deck or patio. Now that the weather is nice enough to stay outdoors, you want to make sure that the outdoor extensions of your home are prepared for the heat and activity. Last week actually, my doggo actually discovered a few railings that needed replacing when he was laying at the edge and rolled through the railing and off the deck because they were loose… it was hilarious and could have been way worse, but just an obvious example of why it’s important to keep your deck or patio in good shape.
- Inspect and clean your outdoor lighting. The spiders tend to like ours, so I also do the peppermint mixture spritzing here. There’s nothing like an electrical fire to put a damper on your memorial day party, so give your lights a thorough check.
- Oil your garage door tracks. Post power wash, this is also a great item to add to your maintenance list. Grit, grime, and heavy use are not friends to mechanical devices, so give your tracks some slide to keep things in good working order.
- Maintain the new growth in the yard. They say weed eaters are a man’s best friend, right? Keeping things tamed, keeping your yard mowed, and keeping growing plants pruned can alleviate a whole world of problems. Snakes, hornets, fire ants, moles, groundhogs, mice, spiders…need I say more? Plus, who doesn’t love a freshly mowed lawn and beautiful flowers?
- Check and clean range hood fans. Grease and dust buildup can burnout your system, so don’t neglect your interior tasks.
- Seal your tile grout. Moisture expansion and contraction can do a number on your home, and so does living life in general. This is a good thing to do once a year, although most people don’t. Resealing your grout can keep your tile cosmetically and functionally in good shape before the wear gets too bad to fix.
- Have your air conditioning system serviced if you didn’t do it in April. In NC we all know that an HVAC technicians busiest seasons are in the late spring and late fall. Don’t wait until your system goes out to get it repaired. Regular service and care for your system can mean the difference in thousands of dollars in the long run. And for goodness sake, change your dadgum air filter AT LEAST every 3 months!
Remember, these are all just suggestions. I try to break up tasks by month so that my husband and I aren’t slammed with them all during one month out of the year. Many of these we do ourselves, but I know how difficult it can be to keep up with home maintenance when life is busy and pulling you in 1,000 different directions. I’d be glad to share some great, affordable resources with you for these tasks if you need some direction. Feel free to reach out to me anytime with questions, comments, or suggestions on what you’d like to know more about! I’d love to meet you, coffee on me.
From my home to yours,
Spring is in full swing, and before you know it summer will have arrived. Is your home ready for AC weather and outdoor living? Here are some April suggestions for how to stay ahead of the maintenance required as a homeowner:
- Clean out your gutters and downspouts. Make sure the drainage is flowing away from the house so that April showers don’t create a mess or trap water around your foundation.
- Check plumbing for leaks on supply lines. Now that the last of the freezing weather is on it’s way out, it’s a good time to test the waters, literally.
- Have your air conditioning system serviced. One of the most dreaded occurrences of warmer seasons is having your AC give out when you need it most. In NC, we know that the temperature can go from 55, to 85, to 35 in a matter of days, so your system needs to be ready.
- Remove dead plants, brush, and leaves. Time to freshen up your yard so new growth and blooms can get through. Clearing the debris also helps ensure that the creepy crawly creatures coming out of hibernation have fewer places to hide.
- Test sprinklers and set irrigation systems. Your lawn needs TLC too. Being proactive before the heat waves come will keep you from panicking when your landscaping is on the brink of death.
- Clean the garbage disposal. What’s that smell? The sink disposal is frequently forgotten until it’s stinking up your kitchen. This is a great addition to your semi-regular cleaning routine. Not sure how? Find out here.
- Test your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Do this monthly for your own safety. Enough said.
- Check your water softener. It is suggested that you have your softener system inspected and serviced annually or if you notice something out of the ordinary about your water quality. Typically salt is added quarterly, but should be monitored on a monthly basis.
- Run the water and flush the toilets in unused rooms. For your plumbing to stay in good working order, your pipes need to see some action.
- Have your septic tank inspected by a professional. This isn’t an annual event, but it’s on this list because after spending more time indoors during the winter, it is important to make sure your systems get the care they need after being used more heavily. It is suggested that you have a septic inspection at least every three years, and systems are typically pumped every three to five years. No one wants a puddle of hot poo water baking in their yard when the weather warms up.
Remember, these tips are just a guideline for keeping up with all the tasks involved in keeping your home in tip top shape. If you have more maintenance and cleaning tips that you include in your April routine, I’d love to hear them!
From my home to yours,