5 Home Maintenance Reminders for Busy Parents
Disclaimer: The following is parenting advice from Dads just getting by. Always consult with a medical professional. financial expert, or licensed contractor or repair person before taking anyone else’s advice, especially ours.
“Honey! Can you come down here!?” I rose in a panic. By the tone I just knew something was broken. Sure enough I could see that half the crooked basement floor was flooded. Turns out water heaters require regular maintenance.
I’m a relatively new homeowner, and somewhat lazy to boot, so I never saw the issue coming. Here are 5 home maintenance reminders for busy parents (that will hopefully save you some time and money.)
1. Get your water heater serviced
Why is a water heater particularly important for parents? Let’s just say that you don’t realize how much of a headache not having hot water is until it’s gone. Feedings, cleaning, many important baby related activities can come to a halt.
With most units stored in low traffic areas and Disney+ content heating up it’s possible that your water heater doesn’t ever cross your mind. If you’re not mindful and proactive you could be without hot water for days. It’s simply better to purchase a new water if you’re due for a new unit or get it serviced regularly.
Aside from checking the unit for rust, and inspecting the values, rods, and connections for wear and tear the most important maintenance to perform is a quarterly flushing. Emptying the tank of corrosive sediment buildup helps prevent the tank from cracking. Most water heaters have a sensitive glass chamber inside and if it’s damaged there’s no way to repair it.
Even after shutting down your unit in advance of repairs there’s a danger of scalding hot water. So if you’re not experienced it’s best to call in an expert. In the end having a professional adding some insulation and adjusting your temperature setting will help save you cash over time.
2. Clean your air ducts
With our first baby on the way our nesting instincts moved us to clean our house like never before. I’m glad that a friend suggested that we get our ducts cleaned if we hadn’t before. It’s hard to find definitive science confirming the benefits, but once a servicer shows you a picture of your dirty ducts, you’ll be happy you called them in.
Aside from removing years of buildup, grime and dust make sure the tech checks for mold. If you suffer from allergies or sporadic bouts with unexplained illness you might want to consider further steps to improve your air quality. Just for good measure we purchased a few small air purifier units.
3. Replace your air filters
Speaking of heating and cooling systems it’s important to replace your air filters every 2-3 months. If you don’t your HVAC will work harder to regulate your temps and could lead to a potentially dangerous breakdown. Being able to heat and cool our house on demand saved my life multiple times when my wife was pregnant and uncomfortable.
Replacing air filters is another easy way to improve your air quality. The best part is filters are inexpensive and you can swap them in and out yourself. Just be sure to buy the right size for a secure fit and install in the direction marked on the edge of the filter, usually noted by a small arrow.
4. Clean your refrigerator condenser coils.
Speaking of having appliances break down from working too hard, if you haven’t cleaned out your fridge’s condenser coils you’ll want to do that. Sometimes these coils run along the often hard to reach backside sitting against the wall. As you can imagine things get plenty dusty back there.
Extend the life of your fridge by carefully sliding it off the wall for a good cleaning once every 6 months. Pay attention to the anywhere dust has collected especially along the bottom. Swiffers and similar duster tools work great for the job. Fridges are expensive, plus if you’re like me you’ve named yours and have an emotional attachment. Take good care of ol’ Clementine and she will take good care of you.
5. Clean your dryer vent duct
You clean out the lint filter in your dryer after every load right?…right…Did you know that the long shiny tube coming out the back of your dryer should also be cleaned regularly because it expels excess lint outside your home? Why is that a big deal? One your dryer works harder if this vent gets clogged, second (and more importantly) lint is very flammable so you don’t want the stuff building up.
I didn’t know this starting statistic, but according to the U.S. Fire Administration 2,900 fires are reported each year as a result of dryer vent issues. When I inspected the end of our vent on the outside of our house I discovered a small bird nest. Apparently that’s quite common and very dangerous so say bye-bye birdy and evict that flappy bird
Extra Credit. Declutter
Expecting parents…listen to me…no matter how much square footage you may have set aside for the baby you don’t have enough space. If you’re a parent you know that loads of accessories, clothes, and toys pile up seemingly out of nowhere.
Avoid reaching hoarder status by selling or trashing junk, investing in storage solutions, and reorganizing what remains. Downsizing before a baby arrives is ideal, but an inescapable part of parenting is keeping the living space livable. Good luck!