16 Things All Smart Homeowners Do Once a Year
Think of these small steps as vitamins for a healthy home. Do them just once a year and you’ll save a bundle in emergency service calls.
Check your pipes and sewage outflow
Even if your home doesn’t have a septic tank, this task should still be on your list. “We cannot stress how important this is. Sometimes when sewage pipes become too full, they burst and ruin yards,” Ferrandi warns. “A lot of the times this is a city or town pipe, but the city or town will not pay for the damage.” If you find a blockage before it becomes an explosion, however, often the city or town will send resources to help you deal with the issue. Contact your local town or city hall sewage department with questions. Also check for toilet and faucet leaks that a plumber would need to assess. Don’t miss these 25 things your plumber won’t tell you.
Monitor trees and landscaping
Harsh winters can weaken trees and cause them to break. “It’s always good to monitor the positioning of your trees so you can look out for any changes, like are they leaning in a certain direction?” Gesuelli says. “Check the roots too if there are cracks in the surrounding earth, as the root may have become dislodged.” If trees hang over your house, Gesuelli suggests checking for broken or loose branches because they can damage the house if they fall. If this is the case, hire a pro to do the trimming for you to avoid unnecessary safety risks. Check out the gardening tips your landscaper won’t tell you.
Check windows for gaps
Cold and damp conditions can cause window frames to swell, so once they return to their original size, it can create gaps. Not only will this let in drafts, but it will also cost you a lot in lost energy. If you wait too long, you could also end up needing to replace the frames completely, which is an expensive job. “Gaps can be filled using a variety of materials, such as mortar, frame sealant, and decorators caulk,” Gesuelli says. “But generally you should use the same material that was previously used to seal the windows for the best result.” Rickety windows can also invite theft. Make sure to learn more about these secrets a home security installer won’t tell you.
Check decking, porches, and steps
Case the place in search of rot and structural damage. “For exterior steps, check the overall structure of the concrete or stones,” Gesuelli suggest. “If there is any crumbling, repairs should be made immediately.” Here’s what your contractor secretly wishes you knew.
Empty your pantry
It’s hard to believe, but it’s not unheard of for homeowners to find expired food up to a decade old in their cabinets. “Too often, food gets buried in the pantry and is never seen again,” says Christina Giaquinto, a professional organizer and owner of Christina Giaquinto Organizing LLC. It’s important to de-clutter your pantry so you don’t overbuy or accidentally eat expired food. Realistically, you should purge your pantry about every six months, but from my experience that doesn’t always happen, so I suggest aiming for once a year.” Giaquinto says to pull out every single thing—and while you’re there, wipe down the cabinets. Here’s a guide to perfectly organizing your pantry.
Purge personal products and medications
Do a sweep of the bathroom cabinets and drawers. Expired hair and beauty products need to go. “Makeup is one of those things that accumulates without your even noticing it, and makeup does go bad—most people don’t know that,” Giaguinto says. It’s critical to toss out old makeup to prevent the possibility of infection. Ditto for medications. Contact your local pharmacy for proper disposal of expired prescription or OTC medications. Make sure you don’t miss these 35 things every homeowner needs to know ASAP.