10 Simple DIY Home Maintenance Tips
Quick and Easy Home Maintenance tips that you can do yourself
Owning a home is an awesome experience, but it also comes with some added responsibility to maintain this precious asset. I’ve gathered 10 simple maintenance tips for the interior of your home. These can be done any time of year (some only need to be done once a year), and they are all items you can do yourself without the need to hire a professional.
I know that the word “maintenance” never sounds like fun, but maintaining your home a little at a time is a lot easier than needing to repair or fully replace items such as hardwood or tile. Who wants to spend all that money? As you read through these, you’ll probably find a few tips that you didn’t even realize you should be doing. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And, it will save a LOT of money in the long run.
10 Simple DIY Maintenance tips for your home
1. Protect your hardwood floors with these simple steps
These days everybody wants hardwood floors. They definitely look great and improve your home’s value. But, make sure you are cleaning and maintaining them well. Not only will this make your floor look nicer and keep them cleaner, but it will save you money as it will be a longer time before you need to refinish them.
Here are some quick tips. First, take your off your shoes. This will reduce scratches as well as the dirt in your home (so less to clean up…yay). Second, make sure you’re using the right cleaning product. I recommend Bona Hardwood cleaner (and you can easily buy this on Amazon). Avoid products that promise to add sheen or shine to your floors. These products have waxes and oils and only temporarily make your floor look better. BUT, they actually harm your floor as they also degrade the polyurethane so you need to sand and refinish sooner.
And, this comes as is a surprise to most, but you should be using a DIFFERENT vacuum for your hardwood floors than for carpet. These two surfaces have different needs. And, most vacuums for carpet actually damage your hardwood floors. Check out this article on Best vacuum for hardwood floors to learn more about this and the one I recommend. (Thankfully, it’s not expensive).
2. Seal your Grout annually
Grout is made of sand, so it absorbs water, dirt and bacteria. So, it gets dirty. The mistake many people make is that they try to clean their grout. But, the big miss here is that you should NOT need to clean your grout. There’s an easy and important step you should take…and that is to SEAL your grout. Sealing the grout should be done about 2-3 weeks after you first install your tile.
The sealing protects the grout and gives it an antibacterial agent. This protects that grout so it doesn’t get dirty, AND it helps the grout last longer (vs cleaning it sometimes chips it away). So, do the preventative step of sealing your grout at the beginning, and then do it once a year. If you do this, you shouldn’t need to clean nor regrout.
Sealing your grout is an easy DIY job. Read this article (How to seal your grout) to find out how and the best grout sealer to use.
3. Change your HVAC filter
Many places recommend that you change your filters once a month, but generally once every 3 months is sufficient. Each month, check to see if the filter is dirty. If it is, then replace; if not wait an additional month. Bonus tip: it’s generally better to buy less expensive filters and replace more often than to get a high quality one and leave it in for too long.
4. Clean your sink disposal
It’s much easier if you do this on a weekly basis so you prevent build up and bad smells. There seem to be many different solutions for this online. I like the advice in this article from The Today Show. How often should your garbage disposal and the right way to do it.
5. Clean the lint in your dryer
Most people know that they should clear their lint filter after every use of the dryer (or at least every other use). But, few realize that they should also remove the filter and vacuum up behind the area. If not, this can be a fire hazard. It’s ideal to do this every 6 months (just use your vacuum tube attachment). As a bonus, this will help your dryer run more efficiently so your clothes dry faster and it uses less energy.
6. Get your carpets fully cleaned
It’s ideal to clean your carpets once a year. You can do this professionally or do it yourself. Not only does this make your carpets cleaner and reduce allergens, but it also prolongs the life of your carpet. Vacuuming each week helps, too. When there is dirt that gets caught at the bottom of the carpet, it wears your carpet down as you walk on it.
7. Vacuum refrigerator coils
Most people don’t even think do this, and if your refrigerator has been sitting around for a while, it’s probably collected a lot of dust. Refrigerators can be energy hogs and often account for up to 15% of your energy bill, so you want it to be as efficient as possible. When the coils get dirty, the refrigerator uses more energy. Note: Doing this every 6 months, it can save you $100 a year in energy savings.
Also, check the refrigerator door seals. An easy test is to test this is to place a dollar bill in the door. If you can pull it out, it’s time to replace the seals. You can find these in most home appliance stores. If you don’t you’re letting some of the cool air escape and it’s increasing your energy usage. Bonus tip: when you keep the refrigerator full, it also uses less energy.
8. Check your windows for drafts
As the seasons change (spring and fall), check your windows for drafts as this can lead to higher energy costs during the summer and winter. Sometimes, the window just needs to be shut properly. Sometimes, you may need to recaulk. For added efficiency, consider window film to go over the glass.
9. Run water and flush toilets for unused spaces
If you have bathrooms that aren’t used too often (e.g. ones in a guest rooms or basements), be sure to periodically flush the toilets and run water in the sink (just for a couple of minutes). If you don’t do this, the p trap (in the pipes) may dry out. From there, noxious gasses and odors can enter your house. So periodically do this (e.g. once every 3 months).
10. Give your home a fresh coat of paint
Over time, the walls get dirty, just from normal wear in tear. You tend to notice this faster in busy and narrow areas such as the hallways, stairwells and entryways, and paint tends to get dirtier if you have pets that may brush up against the walls as well as young kids.
Nonetheless, painting is one of the more fun maintenance items as it can give your home a fresh new look just by changing the color, even if it’s only in a few rooms. Unlike some of the other items on this list where you don’t see a visual difference, this one will make a big impact.
You may find this article helpful about the best shades of paint if you’re selling your house. As it turns out, those shades are also the most popular for home buyers as well as people looking to stay in their home. And, if you have old wood paneling, check out this article on how to paint pine or wood paneled walls. This will really bright and modernize your space.
Doing these simple home maintenance tips on a regular basis will go a long way towards make your home look better and will also save you energy and replacement costs. An ounce of prevention certainly does go a long way. These tips will help make your house nicer and cleaner while you’re living in it and will also make it easier to prepare for when you eventually sell your house.
- Low cost home improvements that worth it when selling your house by Anita Clark
- Winterization Tips for your home by Paul Sian
- Maintenance tips for homeowners by Bill Gassett
- Small Home Improvements that make a big difference by Karen Highland
This article is written by Debbie Gartner aka The Flooring Girl