Home maintenance can seem like a daunting responsibility. However, if broken down monthly, maintenance tasks can feel more manageable and in the long run, could save you some costly repairs or replacements.
In our article, we advise on how to identify general wear and tear, the types of deep cleaning tasks to complete and the essential health and safety checks you should carry out for a safe and functional home.
Types of Maintenance Tasks
Some maintenance tasks can be distributed throughout the year and be subject to the season. For example, ensuring leaves are swept away from the exterior of the house to avoid preventable damp during Autumn.
However, in this article, we will discuss and advise on the maintenance tasks you can achieve monthly, regardless of the weather or season.
Regular Maintenance Tasks for the Interior of Your Home
Below are some important tasks to maintain monthly to the interior of your home. Some are considered essential for health and safety reasons.
Test Smoke Alarms
A quick and easy procedure; to test your smoke alarm, push and hold the test button located on the detector. An active smoke detector will make a sound. It may also set off other connected smoke detectors in your home.
When Should You Replace Smoke Alarms?
It is advised that the batteries of smoke detectors should be changed yearly if it is not a 10-year alarm. The smoke detector itself should be replaced every 10 years.
Also Test Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Similarly, if you have them, carbon monoxide detectors should also be checked each month. As with a smoke alarm, hold down the test button on the device. This will trigger a beeping noise to signal it is working.
Check Over Fire Extinguishers
If you have fire extinguishers in your household, they should also be checked monthly, at a minimum.
What to Check For
Firstly, ensure the fire extinguisher is in its located spot and not hidden or obstructed.
Next, check the seal, pin and nozzle for damage or interference. Hold the extinguisher to check it feels weighty and full. Then look at the pressure gauge is at its proper positioning. Anything that is not correct will require immediate replacement.
Ensure the fire extinguisher is in date on the labels. Ideally, they need to be replaced every five years and CO2 extinguishers each decade, even if they have never been damaged.
Check the Boiler Pressure
The boiler pressure should be looked at once each month, at least. To do this, you first must find the pressure gauge belonging to the boiler.
Correct and Incorrect Pressure
For a correctly pressurised boiler, the hand of the gauge will sit between one and two bar. However, please check the guidance given by the boiler’s manufacturer.
Anything below one indicates the pressure is too low. To fix this, the system will need to be topped up. To ensure you do this correctly, refer to the model-specific instructions of the boiler.
Anything more than two means that pressure in the boiler will need to be released. Again, this is model specific, but usually means you will need to bleed one or more radiators.
Deep cleaning each month can work wonders for the general upkeep and maintenance of the home. Taking the time to clean each room thoroughly is essential.
See below for specific places in the home which may require extra attention as well as how to detect other problems as you go.
Professionally Clean Curtains and Carpets
Ensure your curtains and carpets have been thoroughly cleaned. Review their condition and consider if they require professional cleaning this or month, or in the near future.
You may also consider the investment of an at-home carpet cleaner, dependent on what is required.
Thoroughly Clean Showerheads
To avoid severe build up in your showerhead, it is recommended you clean it thoroughly once a month.
A natural way to do this is to use vinegar, and a couple of spoonful’s of baking soda for more substantial limescale, and ideally leave it overnight. You may be able to detach the showerhead for this too. If not, filling a plastic bag and placing it around the showerhead to soak is also a favourable option. Remember to rinse after.
Review Areas for Leaks
Looking out for leaks is essential to home maintenance, as the sooner you find any source of excess water, the more promptly it can be dealt with. Places to check include, loose pipe fittings, pipe valves, taps, showerheads and tired toilet flappers.
One mainly for the kitchen and bathroom, take a look at the sealant. A worn or damaged sealant can cause issues in your home, so it should be taken seriously.
It is also important to check the tile grout in both the bathroom and kitchen, which are regularly splashed with water.
Check For Any Signs of Damp
Three main reasons cause damp in homes. These are condensation, penetrating damp and rising damp. Whichever the cause, it is better the sooner they are exposed, as damp can cause a series of expensive problems if left undetected and untreated. For more information on dampness, take a look at how to avoid structural damp.
Places and parts in the home to review and look out for include:
• Windows and the surrounding walls (which can often accumulate mould through condensation)
• Peeled wallpaper and plaster
• Spoiled skirting boards
• White powder on walls
• Dark areas on ceilings and walls which look wet
Regular Maintenance Tasks for the Exterior of Your Home
Below are some essential tasks to maintain the outside of your home.
Care For Your Doors and Windows
Look after your doors and windows by keeping them polished and painted. Hinges should also be examined and lubricated where necessary. Leaks caused by unsealed windows can cause problems, so ensure these are also undamaged.
Check the Condition of the Roof
Take extreme caution when checking your roof. Try and look out for cracks, gaps such as missing tiles/slates, as well as spotting any areas which look damaged. Roof faults must be fixed as soon as possible to prevent water entering the inside of your home.
The chimney should also be reviewed, if applicable.
Clear Drains and Gutters
Leaves, branches and other debris may be blocking your drains and gutters, meaning they cannot function properly. Make sure to remove any obstructions so excess water can escape in order to prevent any flooding.
We hope this checklist can be of help to you and adapted to suit your personal schedule.
If you need a structural inspection done in the South West, we have structural engineers in Cornwall and Devon with a wide range of knowledge and experience from working on traditional historic buildings to projects on grand scale new buildings. Please do not hesitate to get in touch for any assistance you require.