□ Test your garage door opener to ensure that it reverses when it hits an object or when its sensor beam is interrupted. Place a 1 1/2″ block on the floor under the door. If the door doesn’t reverse within two seconds after striking the block, the door requires too much force to reverse and needs to be repaired.
□ Vacuum the clothes dryer exhaust duct at least once a year. A plugged dryer vent can burn out the heating element. If the duct is plastic, replace it — it’s a fire hazard. Poor dryer maintenance is the most common reason for them breaking down.
□ Replace furnace filters quarterly, or as recommended by the furnace manufacturer. If you want to follow the manufacturer’s recommended limit, write the date on the filter when you swap it out and programming a reminder for yourself in your phone or on a calendar.
□ Test all GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets. To do this, go to your breaker box and press the test button on the GFCI breaker. This should cause the breaker to trip, shutting off all power to the entire circuit.
□ Once a year, vacuum the refrigerator coils underneath the appliance. To do this, unplug the fridge and pull it away from the wall. Unsnap the panel at the bottom of the back to expose the coils. Then, use a brush to rub as much dirt and dust off the coils as you can.
□ Get your fireplace chimney inspected and cleaned yearly if you use it regularly. If you have not used your fireplace in a long time, pests may have built nests that could be a concern. It’s a good idea to have them cleared out before use.
□ Inspect window and door caulking and weather stripping yearly. If you have windows that have been installed or updated within the last ten years, you may not have weather stripping — still, test for leaks at least annually.
□ Replace the batteries in smoke detectors yearly. And remember, replace the backup batteries in new hard-wired smoke detectors. If you have never checked yours, do so now.
□ Clean your gutters. There are many tools that you can buy that make gutter cleaning easier and safer, with no ladder required. Or you can get crafty and research how to make your own gutter cleaner.
You don’t have to do everything at once, but it is a good idea to schedule the tasks mentioned in this home maintenance checklist to ensure your home is properly maintained. Regular home maintenance is important to ensure your home is running efficiently and safely.