Got an Hour? Get Back on Top of Home Maintenance

Written by Brian Naslund
Updated December 15, 2015
6 Home Tasks Graphic

Getting your house in order is easier than you think.

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Truth time. Are you being proactive about home maintenance?

You probably want to be on top of things, but it’s easy to get a little off track with your maintenance duties and then wind up totally off the rails. Once that happens, getting the home-maintenance train moving again can feel like returning to the gym after a six month “resting” phase (meaning: impossible).

We can help! In fact, getting back on top of your home maintenance takes less time than an episode of Mad Men. Here are six tasks that you can bang out in under an hour.

No time?

Don't have an hour? Angie's List can schedule a local handyman to inspect your home and perform preventive maintenance for you.

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1. Change your furnace filter

Changing your furnace filter is like stretching – it only takes a few minutes and can prevent major injuries and problems. (A broken furnace can hurt your wallet to the tune of $5,000!)

So go find your furnace, pull out the dirty filter and replace it with a new one. It’s that easy.

If you’re not sure if you have a dirty furnace filter, keep in mind that it should be white. If you see any other color, it’s time to change it!

2. Maintain your locks

Think of this as a warm-up for your home maintenance muscles. Dirty locks are more likely to jam or break, so cleaning your locks can save you from an embarrassing locksmith call.

To clean door locks, all you need is some lubricant and a soft cloth. Check out our step-by-step lock-cleaning guide for details.

3. Check out your downspouts

If your home’s downspouts aren’t doing their job, water can pool around your foundation and then leak into your basement.

Basement floods are decidedly not cool (and are very expensive), so prevent a downspout problem before it starts by giving your downspouts a quick onceover.

4. Check your smoke detectors

A smoke detector's job is complicated. Using an ionization chamber, it senses subtle changes in the electronic current of your air and alerts you to life-threatening situations.

Your job is simple: Hit the “test” or “reset” button on your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. If it goes off, you’re good to go. If not, you need to replace the batteries or detector itself.

Make sure you test all of your detectors!

5. Kill mold

Not only will pockets of mold totally mess with your bathroom’s sense of style, they can lead to larger mold problems that are really expensive to remove!

So grab a mold-killing spray and get to work. Mold can be found in moist, dark parts of the house, so your bathroom and sink areas are great places to start.

6. De-gunk your drains

Even if your sinks are squeaky clean, your drains can get pretty nasty over time.

Not only is drain gunk pretty germy, but clogged drains can also attracts insects that like to snack on it. However, it’s also really easy to get rid of! Just boil some water and pour it down your drains.

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