5 Super Important Home Maintenance Tasks You Need to Do

man changing light bulb in ceiling

Here at vipHomeLink, we know how hard it is to remember all you have to do around the home! That’s why we created our home maintenance app with personalized reminders, so you’ll never forget a dryer exhaust vent cleaning!

But there are home maintenance tasks that homeowners routinely forget or even ignore. That’s why our experts put together this quick home maintenance checklist – to help you complete the super important home maintenance tasks you tend to forget but totally shouldn’t. 

#1 – Vacuuming refrigerator coils 

Coils are now clean on the back of a refrigerator
Dirty coils shorten the lifespan of your refrigerator.

No one likes to wake up in the morning and find their Greek yogurt warm (true story). By completing this essential home maintenance, you’ll prolong the life of your refrigerator and keep it working efficiently. (Inefficient refrigerators suck more energy and can even raise your utility bills.) 

How often should you do this?

Vacuum your refrigerator’s coils at least twice a year, perhaps more if you have a pet.

Cleaning your refrigerator coils is easy and can be done in a few simple steps. 

  1. Unplug your refrigerator. 
  2. Find your coils. They should be on the bottom of the refrigerator or on the back. 
  3. If your coils are on the back, pull your refrigerator away from the wall and use a vacuum attachment to clean the coils. 
  4. If your coils are on the bottom of the refrigerator, remove the front grate and use a long-handed brush to pull out as much dust as you can. Then, use your vacuum attachment to clean out the rest. 
  5. Either push your refrigerator back or clip back on the grate. 
  6. Plug your refrigerator back in. 

If you have any concerns, check your owner’s manual or hire a handyman to complete this task. 

#2 – Cleaning your bathroom fan 

Bathroom cleaning fans are extremely important, and you’d know this if you grew up in a home without a bathroom ceiling fan. They help to prevent mold growth and get rid of odors and other airborne contaminants. However, they only work if they aren’t covered in dust (and they lead to the outside of your home).  

How often should you do this?

Plan to do this every six months or so. Synchronize it with your refrigerator coil cleaning!

Clean your bathroom fan in six steps or less.  

Each make and model is different, so first refer to your owner’s manual. However, the following steps are generally completed. 

  1. Start by turning off power to the vent and consider turning off the circuit breaker to make sure no power is running to the area. 
  2. If your vent has no light, remove the cover by gently pulling down one side and squeezing the metal mounting wires. Wash the cover with dish soap and water, and make sure it dries completely. 
  3. If your vent has a light, you’ll need to disconnect the wire before removing the cover. Then, vacuum the dust and wipe it clean with a cloth (not paper towels). 
  4. Clean the fan with the necessary vacuum attachments, but make sure not to damage any parts of the motor. Use a cloth to wipe away the remaining dust and dirt.  
  5. Replace the cover by squeezing the mounting wire. 
  6. Turn the breaker back on. 

If your ceiling needs a deep clean and requires the motor to be removed, it’s a simple process. Consult your manual for specific instructions. 

#3 – Fixing a leaky shower head 

a plumber fixing a shower head - home maintenance
Save water and money by fixing leaky items!

When your shower head leaks, you might see your utility bills – both water and energy – increase. This can also stain your tub or shower and create water damage if the water spills outside the shower area. The best thing you can do is fix a leaking shower head sooner rather than later. 

How often should you do this?

As often as needed, though you generally shouldn’t need to do it more than every few years. 

First thing – determine what’s actually wrong. 

Is it the shower head itself leaking? Perhaps the handle? Maybe the faucet? There’s quite a few things you may need to do, depending on the severity of the leak. 

  1. If the shower head itself is leaking, remove the shower head and soak it in a vinegar and water solution overnight to remove any minerals that may have restricted water flow. (If your shower head is older, you may need pliers and a cloth to remove it.) 
  2. If the handle is leaking, you may have a worn seal or O-ring that needs replacement. 
  3. If it’s the faucet leaking, you may need to replace a worn washer. 

If you can’t determine the cause or the solution, hire a licensed plumber to investigate. You may also want to update your shower head. We suggest a rain shower or a handheld shower head, the latter for homeowners who are aging in place. 

#4 – Testing your GFCI outlets

a homeowner pressing a button on a GFCI outlet
Always be on alert.

Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) monitor the electricity in an outlet. If anything interrupts the circuit, it’ll cut off the electrical flow to prevent a powerful and potentially deadly shock. Most GFCI outlets have reset and test buttons between the prong slots. 

How often should you do this?

Ideally, you should be testing your GFCI outlets once a month. Synchronize your GFCI testing with your smoke and carbon monoxide alarm testing. 

Testing a GFCI outlet is super easy. 

Follow these simple steps:

  1. Plug in a device that you can easily see turn on or off, like a nightlight.
  2. With the device plugged in and turned on, press the test button. The device should turn off.
  3. Press the reset button again. The device should turn on.

#5 – Walk around your home – both inside and out

a man standing on his driveway next to his home with a new roof
When was the last time you walked your property?

This is one of the most important home maintenance tasks to do. Issues arise around a home all the time. From storm damage to leaky pipes to ant infestations, you may not know you have a problem if you don’t take the time to check. By routinely walking around your home, you may catch a small problem before it becomes a costly repair. 

How often should you do this?

You should walk around your property before and after a major storm, but once a month should be sufficient to pick up most issues. As you’re checking your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, take a look around. 

Where should you check?

Outside, you should visually inspect your roof from the ground. Also, look around your foundation for any cracks or entrances where critters or insects might enter. Check your property for sick, dead, or simply dangerous trees as well as branches that could threaten your roof or allow critters easy entrance. Finally, make sure your walkway and driveway are safe to walk on and make a note of any cracks that may need filling. 

a patch of shingles on a home are raised
Are you missing shingles?

Inside, make sure to check your attic for any potential roof leaks or wildlife nests. Check the usual suspects for leaks – faucets, toilets, under the kitchen sink, and behind the refrigerator. (If you haven’t cleaned your coils in some time, you know what to do!) Don’t forget to check your washing machine, too, especially if it’s on the second floor of your home. 

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