Summertime isn’t exactly when we feel most compelled to perform home maintenance tasks.
Getting the easier ones out of the way now, however, will lighten the “honey-do” list you’ll face in the fall.
To make it even easier on you, we’ve put together a list of projects that will take you only 10 minutes or less to perform.
Let it slide
Squirt some lubricant on anything that slides, such as sliding glass doors, windows, and doors once a year. But, first, clean out the “gunk” that’s accumulated in and around the tracks.
If you have vinyl windows, use caution warns the Family Handyman. Oil lubricants can damage the vinyl, so he recommends using a dry PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) spray lubricant (such as WD-40® SPECIALIST®) “. . . on the contact points and wiping it off with a rag.”
Out of commercial lubricant? Use a small dab of petroleum jelly on the door hinges. Again, this will attract and hold dust and dirt, so don’t use the oily substance on the window tracks.
Channel your inner Sherlock Holmes
Some of the annual inspections that the experts recommend can be knocked out in less than 10 minutes. Do one every weekend and you’ll have this part of your home maintenance chore list whittled down to where you’ll have more time for fun on the weekends.
- Dust and test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, according to the user’s manual instructions. Change the batteries, if needed.
- Check the water heater for rust. Open the burner chamber and look for rust flakes. Also, take a look at the flame – it should be blue. If it contains yellow coloring, the jets may need cleaning.
- Test the ground fault interrupter outlets by pushing the “test” button. The “reset” button should pop out. Push it and you’re finished.
- Check the garage door opener for safety issues. Bob Vila recommends pulling the handle to put the system into manual mode and lifting the door three feet from the ground. It should remain open. If it doesn’t, call a garage door professional. Put the system back into automatic mode and open the door completely. Place an obstacle under it, such as a garbage can, and press the button to close the door. If it doesn’t stop when it meets the obstacle, call a garage door professional as soon as possible.
- While you’re lubricating the windows and doors, inspect the weather stripping for signs of wear.
- Scale can build up on the water valves under your sinks and behind the toilets and you can prevent this by turning each one off and then back on at least twice each year.
- Open the breaker box and check to ensure there are no scorch marks around the fuses or breakers.
Only you can prevent home fires
Most home fires are preventable, so including safety maintenance chores on your list may save lives. All of these tasks take just a few minutes.
- Check the clothes dryer ducts for lint buildup. Unplug it and move it away from the wall. Disconnect the ductwork and examine the opening in the wall for lint. Use a vacuum to clean out any buildup you find. For step-by-step instructions on how to thoroughly clean your dryer vents, visit bobvila.com.
- Inspect the fire extinguishers. The experts at All-State Insurance recommend that you inspect them at least once a month. First, check to ensure the safety and tamper seals are intact. Check the pressure gauge to ensure it has the proper pressure. Some extinguishers have a test button. Press it and watch the gauge to ensure the pressure is adequate. Finally, check the tank for signs of corrosion or leaking.
- Check each electrical outlet in the home by touching them. If they feel hot to the touch, call an electrician.
- Frayed wires are fire hazards so take a few minutes to check the cords on appliances, electronics, lamps, and other electric products. Don’t run extension cords under rugs, by the way.
- Inspect the fireplace flue for blockages, such as bird nests. Open the damper and use a flashlight to look for obstructions. According to Bob Villa, “You should be able to see daylight at the top.”
Take 10 minutes to perform each of these tasks and over the course of a few weeks, you will have considerably shortened your home maintenance to-do list.