Spring cleaning is a good idea this time of year. But to keep your home clean and running efficiently year-round, some tasks are better done monthly. Regular maintenance not only makes your home look and run better, but it will also help you increase its value. Some experts say that without monthly home maintenance, your home could lose 10 percent of its value.

Easy Home Maintenance Tasks

The best part: Monthly home maintenance tasks only take a few minutes. You don’t have to give up a hard-earned weekend just to stay on pace with your household maintenance. Start with these four monthly to-do’s.

* Clear Bathroom Drains:

Water runs easily down your bathroom sink and shower drains until, all of a sudden, it doesn’t. A monthly cleaning will prevent unexpected repairs. Remove any visible build-up and pour a small pot of boiling water down each drain. Then add a half-cup of baking soda to the drain and let it sit for 15 minutes. Chase that with a mixture of 1 cup of vinegar and 2 cups of water.

* Check and Change Your HVAC Air Filter:

A dirty HVAC air filter is a good thing. It means the system is doing its job, keeping the air in your household clean and healthy. So you need to do your job: Inspect your air filter monthly.

If you see signs of natural wear — dusty air, unusually long cycles, or a warmer-than-normal HVAC unit — you’ll want to change the filter. Remove the filter from your HVAC system to check that it’s still clean and not full of dust. If it is dusty, install a new one. If not, return the clean filter to its position.

* Give Kitchen Appliances Extra Attention:

Most homeowners use their large kitchen appliances several times a day. That takes its toll, but a little more attention once a month can increase the life of your most expensive appliances.

  • Sink Disposal: Put small pieces of citrus peel (from oranges, lemons, limes, etc.) in an ice cube tray, fill with vinegar, and freeze. Drop the Vinegar-citrus cubes in the disposal, start a slow stream of cool water, and turn on the disposal. The cubes help sharpen the blades and the mixture freshens the unit.
  • Range Hood: Remove the filter and let it soak in a household or auto degreaser mixed with warm water for a few minutes. Wipe it clean and replace.
  • Refrigerator: Remove the drain pan from your frost-free fridge and pour any water down the sink. Use a household disinfectant or vinegar/water solution to wipe it clean and replace.
  • Dishwasher: Remove the filter and soak in warm, soapy water for 10 minutes. Scrub and return the filter. For an extra clean, put a cup of vinegar in the bottom of the washer and run a heavy cycle.

* Inspect Fire Extinguishers and Smoke Detectors:

For safety, inspect fire extinguishers, making sure they’re easy to access, have the proper level of pressure, and don’t show any signs of damage. Check that smoke detector are charged by pressing the test button.

If you take care of your home on a monthly basis, it’ll take care of you year-round.

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