10 Tips to Save Your Home, Health & Money

April Peveteaux
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home maintenanceBeing a grown-up means taking care of your business. Whether you rent or own, your home has a load of things that need cleaned, replaced, and fixed so things don't fall down around your ears (or give you an asthma attack).

Your house doesn't come with an instruction manual, so here's one! Print it, live it, love it.

Here are the 10 things you need to know about basic home maintenance:

1. Testing the Smoke/CO2 Alarm

The U.S. Consumer Protection Agency is hardcore. They say to test your smoke alarm once a month. If you don't buy the 2-in-1, check your carbon monoxide tester at the same time.

2. Cleaning the Windows

Nobody wants to do windows, but if you're in an urban environment or a forest where lots of pollen and grime cover the glass, clean those windows once a month. If you're in a less sticky locale, you can do it every two months.

3. Painting

From various sources, the average house needs an exterior coat every 5 to 7 years. You know it by looking at it, and the frequency depends on the quality, color, and climate. As for the inside -- you really know it when you see it.

4. Cleaning the Gutters

According to the gutter guys, gutters should be cleaned four times per year. Late spring, mid to late summer, early fall, and late fall. This allocates for appropriate draining and keeps your home safe from larva infestation and erosion. And expensive repairs you can't do yourself.

5. Changing the Sheets

Changing your sheets every week is the general rule of thumb, but you can use less detergent if they're not soiled. To be prepared, always check the washing instructions on the tag, so you don't ruin the fabric or colors.

6. Mowing the Lawn

You can argue with your housemate about who does it, but roughly once a week from May through July (depending on where you're located -- in SoCal we're still mowing it) will do the trick.

7. Air Conditioning Filter

While most ACs need a new filter or a thorough cleaning at the beginning of the season, some require more mothering. Depending on what type of filter you have and how often you run your AC unit, you might need to clean the filter every month to extend the life of your AC, and save you from an early and expensive replacement.

8. Chimney Maintenance

According to National Fire Protection Association Standard 211: "Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary." You should really hire someone for that, instead of going DIY.

9. Vacuuming

Vacuum the high traffic areas at least twice a week, according to the Carpet And Rug Institute. Yes, it really exists.

10. Dusting

You don't want to know what comprises the dust on your shelves; just know that you need to dust every week or two to keep your allergies at bay, and the ickies out of your air. 

 

Image via Oracio Alvarado/Flickr

 

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