The Struggle – Making Time

For most, smart home care is a collection of completing the right tasks, actions and time against what matters most to protect your investment. Some of your neighbors seem to do it effortlessly while others seem to put it off and struggle to get it done. Many have the skill to do it, but not the will or time to get it done. So, here’s how you can effortlessly manage it, taking the stress and worry out of it to prevent big problems later. We want to give you a new way to think about it to make it easier that inspires you.

Routine Maintenance is Easy IF You Do it Regularly

These easily forgotten tasks are often looming in your mind, so you put them off. Why? Because you might think they’re difficult or time consuming – you might not realize how simple they can be. 

Routine home maintenance is not like housework or chores. It’s a deliberate set of tasks that you perform, at a cadence that is frequent enough to keep the work light, and to keep home systems running smoothly. Think of it like mowing your lawn. If done weekly, it requires little effort, and the lawn stays healthy. But if you wait for several weeks between mowing, it’s hard work, time consuming and the health of the lawn suffers.

Organize Tasks by Frequency 

Some household tasks need to be performed monthly, some are seasonal, and some need attention just once a year. This blog focuses on the monthly tasks and getting them on a calendar so throughout the year you can complete them with certainty and ease. Our next blog will focus on seasonal and annual tasks. Like a workout, it’s often more difficult in your mind, and once you are in it, the satisfaction of getting it done makes it all worth it.


To take the guesswork out of these tasks, our Multi-Skilled Craftsmen have put a common list together to get you started. You know most of these tasks. Let’s take the gray area out and tell you the why, the how, and the how fast. These are the “big four” that take less than 20 minutes each month. Once you do it the first month, enjoy knowing you’ll be in better shape than most homeowners when you quickly approach them next month. That is how you become the neighbor who gets these done effortlessly. 😎

Let’s Get Started

1. Inspect (and possibly change out) your HVAC filters: 4 minutes

It is recommended to change your filters as much as monthly, however that frequency is based on several factors. Some of these factors to consider for your situation; Number of people in the home, active lifestyles of those occupants, number and type of pets, allergies, your neighborhood and its environment (construction nearby, metropolitan activities…), weather and time of year all play critical roles in the frequency. Having said all of that, you should change your filters at least quarterly – every three months/four times a year.
(NOTE: If you have high sensitivity to allergies, dust, dander or sinus challenges, change them out monthly, regardless of visible discoloration.)

🔨Multi-Craftsmen Pro Tip: Write the date you installed the filter with a marker on the cardboard edge of the filter.  It takes the guesswork out of the “last time” it was changed.

If the filter has any visible dirt, change it out. If you can see contaminants at all, it is probably dirtier than you think, so it is time to change it. If not, slip it back in place and inspect it again next month. Filters are inexpensive and simple to change and can extend the life of your furnace when changed promptly, so if in question, why not just preplace it. You can find them here at Ace Hardware.

Ignored, dirty HVAC filters result in:

  • The need for more expensive annual HVAC maintenance from professionals.
    • Higher utility bills from increased heating or AC cycles.
    • Wear and tear on fan motor working harder than designed (which of course leads to a costly repair).

    🔨 Multi-Craftsmen Pro Tip: It is cheaper and makes life easier to buy a multi-pack of the correct size.  Use one today and set the rest aside for future months.  It is also helpful to keep the filter size recorded so you can quickly find the correct size when it is time to buy them.  Filters are sized with 3 numbers (LxWxH – Length, Width and Thickness) example 20x12x1. Once you have the right size, then it’s easy to work with an Ace Hardware Red Vested Hero to make the right choice for your home.

    😎 Inspire yourself to do this knowing that the task is easy.

    2. Clean kitchen sink disposal and wash the rubber baffle splash guard: 3 minutes 

    There are many suggested ways to clean the kitchen disposal, here’s a DIY hack: 

    • Pour ice into your disposal
    • Then, turn on the disposal and pour some white vinegar (available at your local grocery store)
      • It freshens and cleans it your disposal quickly and one gallon of vinegar can clean your disposal over four or five months.
    • With a wand type small scrub brush, run it up and down each baffle on the splash guard.  Using the bristles of the brush to pull the flaps up (turning the baffle inside out inside of the drain) so that you can scrub the underside of the baffle as well as the visible side. That helps keep it clean and eliminate smells. It’s simple!

    😎 Inspire yourself to do this every month to keep your kitchen fresh and your primary surfaces food safe.

    3. Clean range hood filters: 7 minutes

    Cleaning the range hood filter is a task that commonly gets put on the back burner (no pun intended). Simply use a degreaser mixed with hot water. Let the filter sit for a few minutes, rinse it off, and it should be clean as a whistle. 

    • Pull out the filter from the range hood
    • Put on rubber gloves to protect your hands from scalding water and run your water until it’s steaming hot and begin to fill the sink. Or boil a pot of water
    • Pour in the recommended amount of degreaser per the volume of water in your sink. Click here to get our recommended degreaser from Ace Hardware.
    • Let it stay submerged for five minutes – if it’s been a while since you have cleaned the filters, grab them with your gloved hands and agitate them like clothes in a washer to remove caked-on grease. (Using a soft bristle brush with gentle strokes is helpful too.)
    • Drain the sink and rinse the filters and shake the water out
    • Replace them over your stove

    😎 Inspire yourself to do this often while it’s easy – if you wait, a simple job will become a major labor as the grease layers on. And layered on grease is a major fire hazard (172,900 fires a year originate in the kitchen in the US).

    4. Inspect your fire extinguisher(s): 3 minutes

      Make sure you have your extinguishers easily accessible in all the proper locations. 

      This is your most simple task, but it might be the most important – make sure:

    • The gauge shows adequate pressure.
    • They are not expired (All have an expiration date on the side.)
    • They have no visible signs of wear and tear. 
    • 🔨 Multi-Craftsmen Pro Tip: Make sure they are mounted securely to the wall or cabinet, yet easily removed in case of emergency needs.  Also, make sure that everyone in your home knows where they are AND how to properly use them.

      If you need more information on fire extinguishers, how to use or best places to have them in your home, click here to revisit our Fire Safety Blog for where to place them, and greater detail on the right extinguisher for the right area of your home. Reliable and effective extinguishers can be easily sourced at Ace Hardware by clicking here. 

      😎 Inspire yourself to check this monthly knowing that you are doing something vital prevent a catastrophic event in your home – you might be surprised, on your monthly check, to find an extinguisher missing (between family members “borrowing them for camping trips” to kids “playing with them,” they might not be present when needed!)

      Schedule Your Craftsman Today

      At Ace Handyman Services, we hope this Monthly Four list will kick of your 2022 with some confidence in your biggest investment and some organization for the year to come. And as always, if any of these tasks seem overwhelming, or you just would rather have someone else do them for your, give your local Ace Handyman Services a call–our Mutli-Skilled Craftsmen can tackle your maintenance list and so much more. They’re qualified to complete 1,162 tasks around your house.