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    Critical Once-a-Year Home Maintenance Tasks that are Easy Enough to DIY

    Posted by Michelle Galvez on Jul 16, 2019 2:42:00 PM
    Michelle Galvez

    Home maintenance can be overwhelming. Believe us, we get it. At times it can feel like there's so much to keep an eye on around the house that you don’t know where (or when) to start. But you may be surprised to learn that the areas of your home with the biggest potential for issues can be thoroughly examined just once a year. That’s it! And most of the fixes are easy enough to do yourself. 

    So get out your phone and set a reminder on your calendar to spend some time inspecting these key areas of your home.


    First up, you’ll need to test your GFCI outlets. Actually, maybe we should first ask whether you have GFCI outlets in the kitchen. If not, that’s a whole other issue that will require your attention.

    Once a year (twice if you have pets who shed), you should vacuum your refrigerator coils. Clear coils are needed to effectively push out heat and keep your fridge nice and chilly. It also helps reduce your electric bill — up to $100 a year depending on the size of the fridge — since it’s one of the top three energy using appliances in your home.

    HM-132 Critical Once-a-Year Home Maintenance Tasks_InsertBathroom

    Inspect bathroom plumbing for leaks and signs of water damage. Look on the floor behind toilets, under sinks, and for cracked tile in the shower. If the sink faucet is shooting water in all directions or there is low water pressure, there’s likely an issue with the aerator, which is an extremely easy fix.

    You’ll also want to repair any damaged tile grout and peeling caulking around tubs to prevent water damage.

    Laundry Room

    A clogged dryer vent is a fire hazard, wastes energy, and can shorten the life of your machine. For best preventative care, clean your dryer vent once a year. We like these short and simple directions put together by CNET.

    HM-132 Critical Once-a-Year Home Maintenance Tasks_Insert 2Utilities

    If you’ve ever had your AC die in the middle of summer, or your heater conk out in the dead of winter, you’re probably already regularly changing or cleaning filters in your heating and cooling system. If not, this is the year to start. To be on the safe side, we suggest doing an inspection twice a year in the spring and fall.

    Unless you enjoy ice cold showers, experts recommend draining your hot water heater once a year to remove sediment, check the pressure relief valve, and ensure your unit is working properly. And make sure your electrical system is in safe working condition by tripping the circuit breakers and inspecting for frayed cords and exposed wiring.

    Garage Door

    There’s a lot around your garage that needs inspecting — the proper storage of flammable liquids, electrical outlets, ensuring a fire door is installed — but we want to focus on the auto-reverse mechanism for your garage door. There is huge potential for danger if it is not functioning properly. In fact, we’d suggest doing an inspection a few times a year, just to be on the safe side. 

    Testing is simple, just place a large box or 2x4 below where the door would close. Once the door hits the object, it should reverse almost immediately. Then, locate the photo-electric sensors and place something in front of them as the door is coming down. Again, it should reverse immediately. If not, have it fixed as quickly as possible.

    HM-132 Critical Once-a-Year Home Maintenance Tasks_Insert copy 2Home Exterior

    The outside of your home is just as important as the inside, and at the top of the list to inspect are your rain gutters. They should be free from debris and drain away from your home’s foundation. You’ll need to perform at least one cleaning a year. For that reason, we suggest doing it in the fall, after nearby trees have lost their leaves and before the heavy rains start. 

    Next, take a walk around your home and keep an eye out. Peeling paint will need touching-up, wood rot will need repairing, and damaged roof shingles will need replacing. Look for cracks in stucco, brick and pavement, including your driveway. Check for new cracks and re-seal it before winter when there’s potential for water to seep in, freeze, and create greater damage.

    While You're At It

    Since you’re already walking around, take this time to re-familiarize yourself with key spots around your home that you’ll need to access quickly if there is an emergency. That includes the electrical fuse/breaker box, as well as shutoff valves for the gas and water to toilets, sinks, and the washing machine. Replace batteries in all smoke detectors and make sure the needle of your fire extinguisher is still in the green zone. If not, it’s likely time to replace it.


    If you couldn’t tell already, we’re strong believers of the phrase, “A stitch in time saves nine.” Setting aside time once or twice a year to examine these key areas of your home is easy and can save you tons of time and headaches further down the line. But, once you’re done, you may find that the list of work that needs to be completed is overwhelming. That’s where AAA House Manager comes in. From changing the batteries in your smoke detectors to clearing dryer vents, our bi-annual visits help you keep your home running smoothly. 

    Topics: home maintenance, home improvement


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