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15 Things Homeowners Need to Do Once a Month

Doing these tasks just once a month can go a long way towards protecting your greatest investment — your home.

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Monthly Home Maintenance Saves Time and Money

Whether you’ve purchased your first home or have decades of homeownership experience, one thing remains the same: timely maintenance is key. Keeping up with your home’s needs prevents bigger problems later on. When left unchecked, some issues snowball rapidly — like a roof leak, for example. A minor roof or gutter issue is a pretty easy fix, but after enough time, you’ll be dealing with mold growth and water damage as well. If you remember these monthly home maintenance tasks, you’ll save money and time down the road.
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Robert Maxwell

Check Monthly Electricity Cost Appliances

Determine how much electricity each appliance uses in your home and how much it costs each month. Knowing that helps you better manage your electricity use, decide which appliances you really need, and which could be switched off more often. Use a device like the Kill-A-Watt to calculate a dollar figure for your plug-in appliances. Test a different appliance every month, and get a sense of your electricity usage.

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Inspecting AtticAstrakan Images/Getty Images

Inspect Attic For Leaks When It’s Raining

“Go into your attic to spot any leaks during a rainstorm,” says John Bodrozic, co-founder of HomeZada. “Roof leaks can go unrepaired for a long time, creating damage to insulation, and can be a source of mold growth, which is harmful to your health.” It’s also a good idea to inspect your attic for insulation and airflow issues, which can increase your heating and cooling bill.

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HVAC filterISTOCK/GALINAST

Check HVAC Filters

According to Bodrozic, you should replace your air filters at least four times a year, but it’s best to check them once a month. Make sure they’re not clogged with debris or dust. That keeps indoor air quality healthy and your system running efficiently.

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Garage Door OpenerSeanPavonePhoto/Getty Images

Inspect Automatic Garage Door Safety Shutoff

Test the safety features of your automatic-opening garage door to be sure they’re still in good shape, Bodrozic says. That includes the safety beams, which should stop the door from closing if it detects anything in the door’s path.

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garage door hingeISTOCK/LEX20

Lubricate Garage Doors

“Your doors are probably a series of panels that are connected with hinges and have either metal or plastic rollers on each side,” Bodrozic says. “Use an appropriate lubricant, depending on metal or plastic rollers, to keep your garage door operating smoothly and prolong its useful life.” This quick garage door tune-up ensures the door opens as smoothly and quietly as possible.

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trim shrubsISTOCK/MILICAD

Trim Shrubs Around Your Air Conditioning Units

Shrubs often grow around your A/C unit, which blocks free air flow, says Bodrozic. “This causes the unit to work harder and can cause damage, so it is important to trim shrubs and remove leaves from the surrounding area,” he says. With the right pruning tools, you’ll be able to shape your shrubs for a more pleasing yard while maintaining an efficient air conditioner.

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shovel snowISTOCK/PIXEL_PIG

Clear Snow From All Outside Vents, Meters and the Oil Fill Pipe

In the winter, snow removal becomes one of the biggest chores. Outside vents blocked by snow can lead to carbon monoxide buildup inside your home — a crucial safety issue. Check your dryer, furnace and water heater vents monthly, and especially after a snowstorm. Also make sure your gas and electric meters are accessible, and your oil or propane company has a way to deliver fuel in the snow — ideally a cleared path.

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clean refrigeratorISTOCK/BRIANAJACKSON

Clean Your Refrigerator Grille

“The top or bottom of your refrigerator has a grille that you can detach to get access to the compressor and cooling coils,” says Bodrozic. “This builds up dust over time and blocks air flow, which can burn out your refrigerator’s cooling system.” Keeping it clean prevents future refrigerator repairs.

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fridge handleISTOCK/LOLOSTOCK

Organize Your Refrigerator

“Whether you live in an apartment by yourself or you have a family of five, somehow food always piles up in the fridge,” says professional organizer Christina Giaquinto, owner of Christina Giaquinto Organizing LLC. At the beginning of every month, take out all the containers and perishable items and decide what is still good and what needs to be thrown out.

“If you have a little extra motivation,” she says, “I suggest wiping the shelves down and doing a thorough clean after you finish de-cluttering.” Cleaning your fridge and keeping it organized also helps prevent wasted food.

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woman on phoneISTOCK/GRADYREESE

Digitally Declutter

Physical clutter is more obvious; the pile of junk mail on the coffee table is hard to miss. Digital clutter is easier to ignore, but it’s just as important to organize. With all the digital information we send and receive daily, things can get messy and storage can fill in a hurry. What’s the point of having a camera phone if you let your precious memories simply sit there?

“During the last week of the month, empty your phone pictures (and your regular digital camera) onto your laptop or computer,” says Giaquinto. “Organize them into folders, so you’re not overwhelmed with endless photos.”

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hand typingISTOCK/DUTKO

Evaluate Your Finances

“Take a bird’s eye view of your finances to see where you spent your money, how well you budgeted, and how well you saved,” Giaquinto says. “It’s very easy to spend without purpose, which leads to overspending and wondering where everything went.” It takes discipline, but doing so will help you manage your money better the next month. And that does wonders for your stress level. Monthly financial planning will help you stick to a home renovation budget when the time comes.

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tub drainISTOCK/SB-BORG

Inspect Sinks and Tub Drains

“If you notice that your sinks or tubs aren’t draining as quickly, there may be a buildup causing a blockage,” says Kyle Gesuelli, a home improvement expert at handy.com. “The first thing to do is try to remove anything that is obstructing the pipe manually using a pipe cleaner to pull debris through the plughole. Second, pour a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by some hot water, which should clear things out.” Unclog kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, bathtubs and any other drains before the clog becomes a problem. It’s easy to unclog a drain without chemicals.

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garbage disposalISTOCK/-OXFORD-

Clean the Garbage Disposal

“The best way to clean out your garbage disposal is with baking soda and white vinegar,” says Gesuelli. “Take half a cup of baking soda and a cup of white wine vinegar, and put both down the sink. After a few minutes, pour some boiling hot water down, too. Next, fill the drain with some ice cubes, and add a cup of salt, which will help to remove debris. Finally, add lemon halves to the disposal and keep both the water running and the garbage disposal on.” Cleaning a garbage disposal with ice is easy, and the lemon halves leave your kitchen with a refreshing scent.

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range hoodISTOCK/PAULPRESCOTT72

Clean Your Range Hood Filters

“The purpose of the range hood filter is to collect grease, so over time it will become less effective as the grease builds up,” Gesuelli says. To clean it, remove and place in a sink filled with hot water, dishwashing liquid and baking soda. “Leave to soak for 10 to 15 minutes,” he says. “If needed, scrub the remaining grease off with a brush, and then rinse clean. Dry the filters with a paper towel before replacing them.”

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cell phoneISTOCK/RIDVAN_CELIK

Keep a Monthly Home Maintenance Calendar

“Staying on top of all the preventative maintenance tasks throughout each month of the year is important to reduce energy costs, avoid early replacements costs, and keep the home healthy and safe for the family,” says Bodrozic. He suggested HomeZada, a helpful app that creates these tasks and many others automatically for homeowners. Remember your yearly home maintenance too. It can be helpful to break it up by season, for spring, summer, fall and winter home maintenance tasks.

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