Routine Monthly and Semi-Annual Maintenance Items.

Welcome to Yeah, We Do That’s Tip of the week.  This week I would like to talk about some items around Weekly Tipsthe house that need routine maintenance.  As I list them try and think about when the last time you looked at, changed or had maintenance performed on them.


Monthly Items:

  • Furnace Filter – You should change your furnace filter monthly with the filter size and type recommended by your furnaces manufacturer.
  • Microwave Filter – If you have an over-the-range microwave with a blower it has filters in it that need to be cleaned out for optimal efficiency of the cooktop blower. These are generally metal mesh screens that slide out.  Soak them in warm soapy water and gently wipe off excess grease and dirt, then rinse thoroughly, dry and replace.
  • Test Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Alarms – You should test all your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms once a month and replace any batteries or units that are not working properly.  If you have the type that is hardwired in make sure when one goes off they all go off together.  This type of smoke alarm is designed to give you the most time to get out.  If a fire starts in the basement and the alarm goes off there it will go off upstairs as well rather than waiting for the smoke to reach the alarm upstairs for it to go off.  Make sure these are working correctly and have any that are not working properly replaced.
  • GFI Outlets – You should test your GFI (Ground Fault Interrupter) outlets once a month.  These outlets can be found where you have wet areas and electrical devices like kitchens, bathrooms and garages. They will trip if they detect any imbalance in the flow of electricity through the outlet. For example, you are standing drying your hair after a shower and you are still damp and there is a short in the dryer that could shock you, the outlet will detect this and trip generally before you can even start to feel it. There are two buttons on these outlets, press the one marked test and the button marked rest should pop out and the nothing should work when plugged into the outlet.  Push in the reset button to return to normal operation.   If you do not have these in your kitchen and bathrooms please consider have them installed.
  • Sump Pump – Check your sump pump out on a monthly basis, make sure it is working properly and the motor is not making any unusual noise when running.  If you have a backup battery check the water levels in the battery if it is not maintenance free.  If your water level goes down and exposes the cells the battery will not hold much of a charge or work at all defeating the purpose of the backup system.  If you do not have a backup system you might want to consider one, you can read more about them in my Blog – Do You Have A Back-Up Sump Pump?

Semi-Annual Items:

  • Drain/Flush Water Heater – You should drain and flush your water heater twice a year.  The easiest way to do this is to shut off the maid water valve for the house and open up a couple of faucets to allow air into the lines.  Next attach a hose to the drain valve on your water heater (looks like a hose bib on the side of your house) then open the valve and run the water to through the hose to a floor drain.  It may take a while for the water to drain out. After the water is drained out close the valve allowing the cold water in the heater.  Close the faucets you opened and turn the water to the house back on.  Go back to the water heater and open the cold water valve.  The water will shoot into the tank and hit bottom of the tank and loosen up the sediment at the bottom and go out the hose.  You may have to repeat the whole process several times to get the sediment out and have the water run clear again but you will increase the life of your water heater by keeping it clean.
  • Clean Out Dryer Vent – You should clean out your dryer vent twice a year. If your dryer isIMG_00000090 located on an outside wall this is very easy, you can detach the duct where is meets the wall and just reach in and clean it out.  Look in your duct and if it is full of lint too replace it with a new one.  If your dryer is not on an outside wall there are ducts in the walls leading to the outside vent.  I found the easiest way to clear them out is to use an electric leaf blower, after detaching the duct running from the dryer to the wall place the blower nozzle in opening and turn it on.  You may want to use ear protection for this.  DO NOT use a gas powered blower for this, using a gas powered device inside your home could result in a buildup of fumes and carbon monoxide.
  • Check Your Caulking – Look at your caulking around your tubs, showers, windows and doors for signs of deterioration.  Replace as needed, catching leaks before they start or as soon as they do can save a lot of money from water damage.
  • Vacuum Registers – You can cut down on the dust in your home by removing your register covers and cleaning them as well as sticking your vacuum in the duct and removing everything you can reach.
  • Overhead Garage Door – You should check for smooth operation of your garage doors and apply lubricant to your drive chain or screw and tracks.  Follow manufacturers recommendations for type of lubricant to use.  You can extend the life of your door and opener by keeping it lubed.  The motor does not have to work as hard to open the door when it goes up and down smoothly and easily.
  • Water Filters – You should check and replace your water filters for your house/refrigerator every 6 to 8 months.  Some of your newer appliances will let you know when it is time to order and/or replace the filters.
  • Replace Smoke Alarm Batteries – You should replace your smoke/carbon monoxide batteries every six months, an easy way to remember is to do it when you change your clocks for daylight savings.
  • Expansion Tank – You expansion tank if you have one should be located near your water heater.  This is an important piece of equipment and keeps your water pipes from over pressurizing.  I have covered this item before and you can read the article here. Did You Know Your Expansion Tank Needs Maintenance?


 I hope that you have found this article helpful and feel free to share it with your friends by clicking one or more of the social media buttons below.  You may also ask a question or leave a comment by clicking the comment button.

If you would like to see a How-To guide on a particular topic you can request it by e-mailing me and I will see what I can do.



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