While owning a home is part of the American dream, it’s also a big responsibility. There are several monthly maintenance tasks you’ll want to complete to make sure your home stays in top shape. Put the following tasks on your checklist, and be sure you cross them off at the beginning of each month.

Clean Garbage Disposal

Image via Flickr by Dean Hochman

Scraps of food can get lodged in the crevices of your garbage disposal and start to create a bad odor if you don’t clean them out. You’ll find a variety of garbage disposal cleaners on the market, but the most effective cleaner is one you can make yourself. Simply pour some vinegar in an ice cube tray, let it freeze, and then run the ice cubes through your garbage disposal. Not only will the vinegar clean and freshen your disposal, the ice cubes will sharpen the blades.

Inspect Fire Extinguishers

While you can’t test your fire extinguishers every month to make sure they work, you can inspect them to be sure everything looks fine. First, you’ll want to make sure you still have easy access to them and nothing is blocking your way, like a trash can or a new piece of furniture. Next, check the gauge to see that it still shows the extinguisher has adequate pressure. Finally, inspect the extinguisher itself for signs of wear and tear on the outside.

Change HVAC System Filters

Heating and cooling experts say you should change the air filters in your HVAC system every one to three months. If you have pets or allergies, consider leaning toward monthly filter changes. Otherwise, it’s likely you can get by with changing them every three months. Regardless of your frequency, you should inspect the filters every month. If they look dirty, go ahead and change them. Clean filters help your system run more efficiently and can save you money in energy costs.

Schedule Air Conditioning Maintenance

Since your air conditioning is so important to the comfort of you and your family, it’s important to make sure you schedule maintenance checks. During a maintenance call, your service technician will inspect both the indoor and outdoor unit. He or she will check the electrical wiring, inspect the system components, oil any parts that need to be lubricated, clean off the condenser fins and blower, and check to make sure all the gauges are working properly.

Clean Range Hood Filters

The purpose of the filter in your range hood is to collect grease from cooking. Over time, all that grease can build up and cause the filter to lose its effectiveness. That’s why it’s important to clean it once a month. The easiest way to clean the filter is to let it soak in a solution of boiling water, one-quarter cup of baking soda, and a squirt of de-greasing dish soap. After it has soaked for about 10 minutes, take a non-abrasive brush and scrub it clean.

By making sure you take care of these essential monthly maintenance tasks, you can keep your home functioning in perfect shape.

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