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Thou Shalt Maintain Thy House

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Stop and think about this for a minute, when it comes to things we own and buy, our home is likely on the top of the list as our most costly purchase. So can someone please explain to me why most home owners ignore the basics of home maintenance? After nearly ten years of working in this business I still see things daily that could have been prevented if proper maintenance had been performed.

Of course, I’m going to give you a few tips on things that you can do yourself to keep your home at its best and some other things that are better left to pros.

Honey-Do List:

  • Change your air conditioning filter as needed. Air quality conditions vary from home to home so you may need to change your filter every three weeks or every three months depending on the quality of the filter and things like pets, opening windows, etc.
  • Turn your home’s main water valve on and off once every couple of months. The valve that shuts off the water supply to your home likely only gets used in water emergencies, so it may have been years since it was used. By exercising the valve on a regular basis you can prevent it from freezing up so it does its job when that emergency rolls around. You also have shut off valves at every point of water entry in the home that you should do the same with. If the valve is very hard to turn consider bringing in the pros for replacement.
  • Color test your toilets. Wait, huh? What? This is a great way to see if you are wasting water and need to change the flapper in the commode. Take the lid off the tank and drop several drops of bright food coloring of your choice into the tank. Put the lid back on and come back in an hour or so. If the water in the bowl has changed color, and no I don’t mean yellow due to use, the tank to bowl connection is leaking and you are wasting water. Time for some toilet love.
  • Clean and sanitize your garbage disposal. Ah, the noisy little critter under the sink that gets flipped on every couple of days. Cut a lemon or lime into small pieces, mix with a couple cups of ice and send it down the disposal. Not only will the ice clean the blades, the citrus of your choice also helps clean them and leaves the kitchen with a wonderful smell.


  • Get your drier vent cleaned annually, period. Do not use a shop vac to suck out the vent. This does not clean the entire vent and very easily could lead to a fire. Leave this to the pros with the right equipment to do the job.
  • Flush and drain your water heater annually. Water becomes aggressive when heated up as we all do. The aggression comes in the form of sediment that forms on the interior of the water heater and settles to the bottom causing a reduction in capacity and efficiency. Having a professional drain and flush the heater prolongs its life and helps it do its job longer.
  • Have your electrical system completely checked over on an annual basis. Electricity is very dangerous and an outlet or light switch that goes bad can easily start a home fire. Leave anything electrical to the pros, as an old electrician once told me, electricity will not only kill you it is going to hurt the whole time you are dying.
  • Air conditioning maintenance. I know, I know… faithful readers will know that I view AC maintenance as a religion. Scroll back thru the blog and you will find many articles on the importance of properly taking care of our wonderful provider of cold air.

I did not cover everything in your home that should be taken care of or maintained on a regular basis; however, I’d like to think this is a nice start. Until next time my friends, I was driving by a drug rehab center the other day and found it quite amusing that the sign on their yard said “Keep off the Grass”.

House Whisperer out!!


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