14 Things All Smart Homeowners Should Do Once a Month

An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. Do these tasks monthly, and you'll save a bundle in emergency service calls and aggravation.

Inspect attic for leaks during rain storm

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"Go into your attic to spot any leaks during a rain storm," says John Bodrozic, co-founder of HomeZada. "Roof leaks can go unrepaired for a long time creating damage to insulation and can be a source of mold growth, which is harmful to your health."

Check HVAC filters

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Bodrozic says you should replace your air filters at least four times a year, but it's best to check them once a month. This keeps air in the house healthy and your system running efficiently because they are not clogged with debris or dust.

Inspect automatic garage door safety shutoff

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Test that the safety features of your automatic-opening garage door are still in good shape, says Bodrozic. That includes the safety beams, which should stop the door from closing if it detects anything the door's path.

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Lubricate garage doors

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"Your doors are probably a series of panels that are connected with hinges and have either metal or plastic rollers on each side," Bodrozic says. "Use an appropriate lubricant, depending on metal or plastic rollers, to keep your garage door operating smoothly and prolong its useful life."

Trim shrubs around your air-conditioning units

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Shrubs often grow around your A/C unit, which blocks free air flow, says Bodrozic. "This causes the unit to work harder and can cause damage, so it is important to trim shrubs and remove leaves from the surrounding area."

Clear snow from all outside vents, meters, and oil fill pipe

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Blocked outside vents can be a crucial safety issue as carbon monoxide can build up if they are blocked by snow. Check your dryer, furnace, and water heater vents monthly, and especially after a snowstorm. Here's a helpful document that explains what these vents look like and what to do. Also, make sure your gas and electric meters are accessible, and your oil or propane company has a way to deliver fuel in the snow, ideally a cleared path.

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Clean your refrigerator grille

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"The top or bottom of your refrigerator has a grille that you can detach to get access to the compressor and cooling coils. This builds up dust over time and blocks air flow, which can burn out your refrigerator's cooling system" says Bodrozic.

Organize your refrigerator

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"Whether you live in an apartment by yourself or you have a family of five, somehow food always piles up in the fridge," says professional organizer Christina Giaquinto, owner of Christina Giaquinto Organizing LLC. At the beginning of every month, take out all the containers and perishable items and decide what is good to eat, and what needs to be thrown out," she suggests. "If you have a little extra motivation, I suggest wiping the shelves down and doing a thorough clean after you finish de-cluttering." Here are foods you shouldn't even be storing in the fridge.

Empty your cell phone camera

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What's the point of having a camera phone if you let your precious memories simply sit there? "During the last week of the month, empty your phone pictures (and your regular digital camera) onto your laptop or computer. Organize them into folders, so you're not overwhelmed with endless photos." says Giaquinto. Here are other genius uses for your phone's camera.

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Evaluate your finances

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"Take a bird's eye view of your finances to see where you spent your money, how well you budgeted, and how well you saved. It's very easy to spend without purpose, which leads to overspending and wondering where everything went," Giaquinto adds. This takes discipline, but doing so will help you manage your money better the next month, which will obviously do wonders for your stress level.

Inspect sinks and tub drains

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"If you notice that your sinks or tubs aren't draining as quickly, there may be a buildup causing a blockage," says Kyle Gesuelli, home improvement expert at handy.com. "The first thing to do is try to remove anything that is obstructing the pipe manually using a pipe cleaner to pull debris through the plughole. Second, pour a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by some hot water, which should clear things out." Here's more info on how to clear a clogged sink drain.

Clean the garbage disposal

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"The best way to clean out your garbage disposal is with baking soda and white vinegar, " says Gesuelli. "Take half a cup of baking soda and a cup of white wine vinegar, and put both down the sink. After a few minutes, pour some boiling hot water down, too. Next, fill the drain with some ice cubes, and add a cup of salt, which will help to remove debris. Finally, add lemon halves to the disposal and keep both the water running and the garbage disposal on." These are other smart uses for lemons around your house.

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Clean filters in your range hood

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"The purpose of the range hood filter is to collect grease, so over time it will become less effective as the grease builds up," Gesuelli says. "To clean them, simply remove them and place them in a sink full of hot water, dishwashing liquid, and baking soda. Leave to soak for 10 to 15 minutes. If needed, scrub the remaining grease off with a brush, and then rinse clean. Dry the filters with a paper towel before replacing them."

Keep a monthly home maintenance calendar

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"Staying on top of all the preventative maintenance tasks throughout each month of the year is important to reduce energy costs, avoid early replacements costs, and keep the home healthy and safe for the family. Here is a quick overview of a helpful app that creates these tasks and many others automatically for homeowners" says Bodrozic. Don't forget about these things all homeowners should do once a year.


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