Thursday, April 7, 2016

10 Essential Home Maintenance Tasks To Keep On Top Of All Year Round

Spring has arrived, and it’s an ideal excuse to have a good clear out and get your home in shape. While spring cleaning is always a good idea, it’s essential to keep on top of maintenance tasks throughout the year. Being organised will save you time and money in the long-run. Here are ten jobs to keep up to date with all year round.

1.) Gardening
Many of us love to get out into the garden when the warmer weather arrives, but it’s important not to neglect your outdoor areas in the winter. Letting weekly gardening jobs slide throughout the chillier months makes for hard work and headaches in the spring. If you keep tabs on your garden and tidy up on a regular basis, you’ll find preparing your garden much less stressful later on. When the sun finally shows through the clouds, you’ll be able to put your feet up and relax. Clear up any rubbish and clear away dead leaves. Keep your beds free from weeds and ensure you store outdoor furniture and toys in a safe, dry place. Keep tabs on the lawn to prevent it from becoming overgrown. Try and mow on dry days and avoid cutting the grass too short. When it’s time to start planting and sowing, do a final weed check and prepare your beds. Once your seeds and bulbs are in place, water them regularly.

2. Electrics
It’s essential to arrange regular testing for electrical appliances. You may also wish to organise an energy efficiency test, to see if you could save money by swapping appliances, or investing in new technology. If you have old appliances, or you’re a fan of new technology, you may wish to learn about smart electrical systems. With the latest technology, you can implement integrated controls and all kinds of mod cons. Switch lights on and off around the house with a single touch. Create ambience with multi-audio systems, or invest in wireless appliances. If you notice any electrical issues before your safety check, don’t wait. It’s always beneficial to get flickering lights, faulty switches or frayed wires investigated.

3. Roofing tasks
Roofing is not something you should attempt yourself, but it’ a good idea to keep an eye out for any roofing problems. If you notice leaks when it is raining, or you’ve spotted loose tiles, call in a roofing firm and get them to have a look. It’s always best to nip problems in the bud. Leaving roofing issues can result in severe damage and hefty repair bills. Keep an eye on your gutters throughout the winter. By spring, you may find that they are blocked with sticks and leaves. Have a good clear out to prevent flooding and ensure effective drainage.

4. Varnishing
If you have wooden fences, decking or indoor wooden furniture, regular varnishing will help to prolong shelf life. Select suitable products for indoor or outdoor use and give your furniture a coat of varnish once or twice a year. If you need advice about choosing the right products, search online, or ask an assistant for advice at the garden centre.

5. Fire safety checks
Once every 6-12 months, take a couple of minutes to check your fire extinguishers and smoke alarms. Test the batteries and check for any signs of damage. This is a very simple check, but it could help to save lives. If you think your alarms may be faulty, or you’re not sure what you should be looking for, contact your local fire brigade. If you’ve moved house and you don’t have smoke alarms, install some as a priority. Your local fire service may provide and fit them free of charge. It’s also a very good idea to install a carbon monoxide alarm in your home. Carbon monoxide is known as a silent killer because it doesn’t have any smell and you can’t see it. Look out for signs such as severe headaches and feeling very tired. Pets can also be affected, so be vigilant and watch out for changes in their behaviour. If they become lacklustre, lethargic and lose their appetite, contact the vet. Alarms are widely available, and they are inexpensive. They will simply start beeping if there are dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.

6. Painting
If your home is whitewashed or painting, it’s wise to give it a new coat once in a while. Adverse weather, traffic and general wear and tear can take its toll on pristine paintwork. If you have a large house, or you’re not confident in your painting skills, call in an expert. You may also wish to get garage doors painted at the same time. When you’re in the garage, check the door switches and auto-lock controls.

7. Cleaning
It’s fine to tidy up every day, but once or twice a month, give your home a proper clean. Vacuum from top to bottom, clean the skirting boards and blitz the bathroom. Wash all your rugs and deep clean the carpets. Scrub down sinks and mop all the floors. Polish furniture and ornaments. Get friends and family to muck in. Regular cleaning sessions will save you time and effort in the long-run. Good hygiene is also better for your health, and you’ll enjoy living in a tidy home much more than a messy, dirty one. If you have pets, it’s particularly important to vacuum frequently.

When you are cleaning your kitchen, pay particular attention to the fridge. Take everything out and use antibacterial wipes or a cloth and spray to make it sparkle. Check the temperature and make sure you store foods in the right areas. You should keep cooked, and raw meats separate, for example. Clear out cupboards and throw away anything that has passed its expiry date. Give your oven a thorough clean once a month. Vacuum crumbs and use oven cleaner to get rid of stubborn marks.

8. Patio and drive maintenance
If you have a paved driveway or a patio, take a few minutes each week to clean away any dirt and dust. Hire or buy a pressure washer and blast the bricks clean. Your home will look more attractive in an instant. While you’re at it, you may as well wash the car as well. Grab a hose and bucket of warm, soapy water.

9. Garbage disposal
Are you guilty of hoarding? Is your spare room full of boxes of unused or unwanted items? Is your garage packed to the rafters? If so, now is the time to get sorted. Go through every box. Make piles of things you want to keep, those you wish to donate or sell, and those you want to throw away. Organise a yard sale, or take your bags to a charity shop. Take a trip to the tip to get rid of anything you no longer want. If you do this on a regular basis, you’ll have so much more space at home, and you’ll save yourself time when it comes to clearing out or moving house. Try to be ruthless and don’t keep things you’ll never use just for the sake of it.

10. Boiler and air conditioning checks
Many of use appliances to control the temperature in your homes all year round. In the winter, when it’s cold outside, we put the central heating on to keep toasty. In the summer, when we’re moaning that it’s too hot outside, air conditioning units provide instant relief. Before you start using your air conditioning this summer, book a routine check with your local engineer. Regular boiler checks are also essential. Faulty boilers and air conditioning units may cause leaks and an increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. If you notice anything suspicious between scheduled tests, bring the appointment forward.

There’s a lot to be said for a good old-fashioned spring clean. However, it’s essential to do most home maintenance jobs more than once a year. Keeping up to date with tasks around the house can help to save you time and reduce the risk of accidents. Spending a few minutes cleaning and carrying out repairs once a week will save you hours in the long-run.

Draw up a list of chores, or use a calendar on your smartphone to remind you when you need to do specific jobs. Get organised when it comes to safety tests, and make sure you have regular checks for electrical appliances and boilers in the diary. Check batteries in smoke alarms and fit a carbon monoxide detector. Avoid clutter, and make regular trips to the tip to get rid of anything you don’t want. There’s no point in wasting space at home with boxes and bin bags of things you’re never going to use again.

Very few people list home maintenance jobs as their favourite pastime. Unfortunately, sometimes you have to devote time to doing things that need doing, rather than things you want to do. Being conscientious throughout the year will free up extra time to spend with the family or indulge your passions. Stay focused, set yourself a plan and enjoy reaping the rewards later on.