The “Once A Month, Check It” Technique For Avoiding Expensive Repairs And Saving Money

Edit: I’ve received several emails and comments with suggestions for more “Once A Month, Check It” items. I’ll add those suggestions to the bottom of this post. If you have a suggestion, leave a comment and I’ll add it to the list. If you write a similar post, contact me and let me know!

We live in a “ranch style” house. The air condition intake is located in the hallway. Once a month, I check the air filter and replace it. I’ve been using those use-once, throwaway air filters. I buy 12 of them in January. At the end of each month, I throw away the old filter and replace it with a new filter. For some reason, doing this gives me a great deal of satisfaction. I feel as I’ve improved air flow, reduced the dust in our house, and lessened the strain on the air conditioning unit.

We live on a dirt road. (Actually, we live on a clay/sand/dirt road.) We are constantly battling the dust that is stirred up when cars drive by our house. So, the air filter is always ‘clogged’ at the end of the month. During the summer, it gets very warm here in Georgia, so the a/c needs to be functioning at full capacity. To function properly, the a/c needs a clean filter.

According the Energy Star site:

Check your filter every month, especially during heavy use months (winter and summer). If the filter looks dirty after a month, change it. At a minimum, change the filter every 3 months. A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to keep you warm or cool — wasting energy. A clean filter will also prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system — leading to expensive maintenance and/or early system failure.

Changing the air filter in the house got me to thinking about changing the oil in my car:

Over at Gen X Finance, Jeremy wrote this really interesting article about changing the oil in your car in your car. Jeremy questions the need to change your oil every 3,000 miles. My favorite snippet from the article is:

New oil is generally an amber type color, not black like most people picture. Oil turns black over time in the engine as it picks up debris in the engine and as it breaks down from heat and wear. So a good practice would be to check your oil occasionally once you hit the 3,000-4,000 mile mark. If you notice it is very black you may want to go ahead and have it changed.

See, with your oil and oil filter, there are so many variables to be considered when determining when or if you should change them. With an air filter, it’s as simple as looking at the filter, checking to see if it is dirty, and replacing it. But, on the flip side, there’s no little red button that will light up to let you know when to check the filter. That’s why the “once a month, check it” technique works so well.

Here’s a list of things around the house that I check at the end of each month:

Air Conditioner Filters

Tire Pressure

Gas Cans For Mowers / Trimmers

Locks on Windows / Doors

Automobile Fluids

Smoke Detector Batteries

So, how about a little feedback? Any ideas about other items to check once a month?

10 thoughts on “The “Once A Month, Check It” Technique For Avoiding Expensive Repairs And Saving Money

  1. I can only answer from a womans point-of-view. I check the contents in my freezer and toss what’s old and taking up space. Same for vegetable bins, pantry and large cleaning supplies. I do heavy cleaning once per month. Each month I choose a project: blinds, laundry room, spot painting moldings. All of this keeps house in tip top order. I make sure appliances are in working order and if not, get them repaired pronto. This extends the life of everything.

  2. I just read this online and dont remember anyone in our household ever doing it:

    “Drain 2 quarts (or 2 liters) of water from your hot water heater every 2 months from the valve at the bottom of the tank. This prevents accumulation of sediment and prolongs the life of your water heater.”

  3. You can always check how your PC is doing – doing an antivirus scan on a regular basis is important.
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