Pay Your Bills, Check Your Home

By HomeAdvisor

Updated October 19, 2016

Well maintained kitchen

In order to maintain your home, you have to pay for its monthly utilities, but that’s not the only thing you want to do every month to make sure your home is operating smoothly. To stick to the utility and minimize any costly repair bills, a simple and easy self-maintenance schedule can reduce the possibility of expensive and frustrating headaches down the line. Here’s a basic rundown of the most essential things you should look at every month in your home.

Safety First

As cliché as it is, the first thing you should do is check your home’s safety. This should include:

  • Smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Check to make sure the batteries are still good; clean them and/or the indicator light if necessary.
  • Fire extinguishers should be fully charged and you should have one installed in each high-risk place in your home—the kitchen, garage, and basement.


Keeping your drains unclogged is extremely easy and can save tons of money, time and aggravation. Flush your drains with hot water and baking soda, especially sinks and bathtubs. This will help keep the pipes clear and reduce the likelihood that you will have to call a professional plumber.

You should also take a look at your garbage disposal every month. Check the safety valve and all gauges, such as the steam pressure and water level gauges. Add water if needed and drain water until clear of sediment.


Even the most reliable heating and air conditioning systems need maintenance to ensure they’re running properly. Whatever system you have installed will determine what maintenance checks need to be run, but four kinds of systems are particularly important.

  • Steam heating system should have their relief valve tested and replaced as needed; check the pressure gauge and expansion tank.
  • Forced warm air heating system should have their blankets checked and replaced as necessary; check air flow; clean or repair unit.
  • Evaporative air conditioner should have their air filter cleaned or replaced; clean condenser, evaporator coils and condensate drain; outdoor portion of unit should be free of snow and debris.
  • Heat pumps need to have their filter cleaned or replaced; clean condenser, evaporator coils, and condensate drain.

Additional Monthly Maintenance

Along with these standard maintenance items, you should also make a list of home features that you will check annually. Divide these items up into specific months that you can add to the core list. Try to put items in months before their heaviest use and spread the rest out over the year so you don’t feel overwhelmed in any given month. Making this monthly maintenance manageable will help you stick to it and help your home avoid any major, unexpected problems.

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