Most people resolve to take better care of themselves, whether by going to the gym, distancing themselves from toxic relationships, or simply by choosing to eat healthier. Some follow through, and naturally, some don’t. But that’s not the point of this particular article.
Did you resolve to take better care of your home? No? Why not? After all, it shelters you, provides you with warmth and water, a place to keep food so it doesn’t spoil, and a comfortable place to sleep at night. A home is used daily and if something doesn’t work right, it’s a major inconvenience and sometimes a safety or health hazard. So why don’t we think of it more often? Why isn’t it included in our new year’s resolution list? It’s not too late, you can add it, and we promise we won’t tell. We’ll even start you off with a few easy things for your home-care checklist (in no particular order):
1. Check your water heater anode rod. Water naturally likes to break things down (it’s called a universal solvent for a reason, after all), and your anode rod helps keep your water heater healthy, so check it a time or two each year to see if it’s still doing it’s job. If it’s hard to remember, try scheduling it for the same day as your semi-annual dentist appointment.
2. Check the main water shutoff valve for the house. After all, if you were to have a major leak, you would need to know where it was and be confident that it would work when you need it to. Perhaps you can take a minute near your birthday to turn it off and on, just to make sure you can.
3. Check all those stop valves around your home. You know, the cute little ones under your sink, behind your toilet, on the wall behind your washing machine. They often get covered in paint during remodels, and shoved by stuff under the sink. If they don’t work, your main valve has to be turned off just to replace a leaky faucet part. If you’d rather avoid going waterless for some unknown amount of time, double check your stop valves once or twice a year, perhaps just before the Super Bowl?
4. Change the icemaker filter. If you’ve got an icemaker, you probably have a filter. If you don’t know, find out, and then schedule the replacement every 3-6 months, depending on what your filter says, or when your crystal clear ice gets cloudy again. Your smartphone can probably just set up a recurring appointment, so you don’t even have to think about it.
5. Watch your water meter. Leaks can be sneaky. Some are obvious, like a faucet. Its dripping can keep you awake at night! But hidden leaks are less obvious, and so often cause the most damage. So, just before you’re watering the roses on Saturday morning, when no one else is using the shower or dishwasher, take a quick look at your water meter. If it’s running, it’s a good bet that you have a hidden leak. Checking weekly (or more often) will help you detect hidden leaks early and prevent mold, mildew, rot, and a sky-high water bill.
These are just a few things to get you started. When you think about it, you’ll probably think of a few more things you can check quickly and easily. Perhaps look about for discoloration in the attic when you get the Christmas decorations down, or double check your toilet seat before the in-laws visit? It’s really not too much. Just a few minutes here and there could save you from big bills and a big mess.
Okay, your turn: Can you think of anything else in your home that should be checked or replaced regularly?