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When you own a home, there’s a lot to take care of in order to protect your investment. While some maintenance chores happen like clockwork, others tend to get overlooked as the years go by. The problem is, these often forgotten home-care chores are critical in order to protect your home and its inhabitants. If you haven’t tended to the following lately, move them to the top of your priority list:

Inspect your fire extinguishers. First, check to make sure you have enough of these important devices in your home. At the very least, you probably have one tucked away in the kitchen. Second, make sure they’re easily accessible. Being able to quickly put your hands on a fire extinguisher when you need it is essential. Make sure all the seals look intact and that there’s pressure in the pressure gauge. There should also be a tag that tells you the last time it was serviced by a licensed inspector. If it’s been more than a year, it’s time to call a professional.

Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. This is among the easiest of your home maintenance tasks, yet we tend to take these life-saving devices for granted. Simply hold down the test button until you hear the alarm. If the sound is made all week, it’s time to replace the batteries.

Check your drains. Before a serious clog sets in, routinely check your indoor plumbing by pouring a gallon of water down the drain. If it drains slowly, this probably means you have a partial clog, so use a snake to clear it out.

Change your HVAC filter. This is a common and easy task that many ignore. What’s more, routine maintenance of your filter can help you save 5 – 10 percent on your utility bill. So, every 2 – 3 months, take your HVAC filter out and clean it, or replace it altogether. It’s that simple.

Seal window gaps. Another big drain on your energy bill is air leaking through windows. Check your window seals for air passing through, and use weather stripping or caulk to tighten things up.

Clean your gutters. Clogged gutters can lead to flooding and serious damage to your home’s foundation. So bring out the ladder and carefully inspect your gutters to remove debris. Don’t forget to check the downspout where it’s common to find nests. Use gloves to carefully remove trapped debris then rinse with the hose to make sure water can flow freely.

These simple home maintenance tasks will help protect your home and your family, and save you a bundle in costly repairs.