15 home maintenance tips
Fun, right? We know: not so much. But here’s the good news. Tackling home maintenance in 10-minute bursts is the smart way to get it done.
Here’s our checklist of 15 things you can keep on top of, each in 10 minutes or fewer. Killing time before Lost? Cross off one of these tasks.
1 Vacuum the condenser coils at the back of your fridge annually.
2 Replace your furnace filters seasonally.
3 Polish your natural wood front door. If painted, surface wash it.
4 Clean the air conditioner grill and register.
5 Dust and test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors (twice a year).
6 Replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors (annually).
7 Self-clean the oven (Okay, technically this takes hours, but it only takes a few minutes to set it up).
8 Clean your coffeemaker. Technically this takes more than 10 minutes, but each step itself takes only a minute or two. Tackle each step during commercial breaks in your favourite show.
Commercial break 1: Fill up the coffeemaker reservoir with one-part white vinegar to two parts cold water and "brew."
Commercial break 2: Pour the heated vinegar-and-water combination back into the reservoir after it "brews" the first time and run it again.
Commercial break 3: Discard, then fill reservoir with cold water. Run through.
Commercial break 4: Discard used rinse water and repeat with fresh water.
9 Clean your kitchen exhaust hood. Clean or replace the filter.
10 Check your water heater for signs of leakage or rust.
11 Look for worn extension cords. Replace them.
12 Inspect your furnace. Any signs of rust or scale? Any weird noises? If so, book a professional inspection.
13 Pick a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet (GFCI) and test it. Push the Test button, check that this has popped out the Reset button and that anything hooked up to the outlet will no longer power on. Push Reset and you’re good to go. Test a different GFCI outlet next time.
14 Conduct a garage door safety check.
• Put it into manual mode and lift it: it should glide smoothly and stay open on its own three feet from the ground: if not, have a pro counterbalance it.
• Put a pet- or child-size object on the ground (a small cardboard box or lightweight plastic laundry hamper, for example) and close the door. It should pop up as soon as it meets the obstacle. If not, call a pro.
15 Check your emergency flashlight. Do the batteries work? If not, replace them, or consider upgrading to a non-battery powered, manual wind-up model.