July 19, 2019

Until Homeownership 101 becomes a prerequisite for obtaining a mortgage, most of us will learn how to handle many household tasks through trial and error.

And even though they say “One thorn of experience is worth a whole wilderness of warning,” there are certain tasks—like replacing critical items before they reach the end of their life span—that you don’t want to learn the hard way.

We talked to experts to find out which household items you should replace on a regular basis, and what can happen if you fail to keep up with the required maintenance.

1. HVAC filters

When to replace: Every three months

It’s easy to forget about the filter in your heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system. It’s not something you look at every day (or ever), but that filter works hard behind the scenes to keep the air in your home clean and your HVAC system running smoothly.


Replace HVAC filters according to the manufacturer’s instructions—every three months or so, on average. Even if you’re not...

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