Do you have a routine maintenance plan for your homestead? After we moved onto our homestead, and usually after we encountered a problem, we developed a homestead routine maintenance plan that will hopefully prevent some big headaches! Remember the old adage an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?! It's an important aspect of self-sufficiency.
One of the first things we added to that list was checking the drainage from our air conditioner condensation. Hubby just happened to notice one day that it didn’t seem to be dripping into the bucket outside. We opened our system up inside only to find water flooding out of the drainage pan because the pipes were clogged. UGH. Once we got that resolved, we also resolved to routinely check that a couple of times a year. We also pour a little vinegar down that drainpipe occasionally, if the drainage seems slow. With those simple tasks, we’ve never had it back up again.
I have a monthly reminder on my calendar to check our propane tank so that we never get close to running out. While I do check it monthly, we usually only have to fill it up once every 10–12 months.
We’ve gotten in the habit of walking the perimeter fences after any storms. I guess it’s Murphy’s Law of fences and trees, but if a tree or even part of a tree falls, it always falls on the fence. And for us it’s always trees from the neighboring property that fall towards us onto the fence, never from our property the other direction. Regardless, they still have to be cleaned up because now the cows can get through (and coyotes, and feral hogs, etc.). We seem to be the only property owners concerned about is, but that’s a whole other story. Good fences make good neighbors, even when you're the only one that cares about doing the right thing!
Another biggy for us was checking our water meter. This is a good way to make sure that we haven’t developed any leaks underground where can’t see them – at least not until they’ve caused a huge problem. We added this to our routine maintenance after another “incident.” We were pulling out of our gate to go buy a washing machine because ours had just died. As hubby locked the gate, he noticed water in the bar ditch. Hmmm. That’s odd. It hadn’t rained in weeks to months. Ruh roh. Turns out the water company had replaced the water meter with a fancy digital one recently. But the connection to our water pipe was just a little bit wonker jawed. Eventually the pipe cracked and because it was on “our side” of the meter, we had to fix it. (I did successfully argue with the water company that their installation of the new meter caused the pipe to eventually break, so we didn’t have to pay for all the water that ran into the bar ditch. But still, what a waste!) That’s another lesson - never buy just one of any plumbing part. Thankfully, we had everything on hand to fix it right then and there and THEN go buy a new washing machine. Now, about once a quarter, when I know all the water is off, I go check the meter and make sure it’s not moving. If it is we know we have a problem somewhere. When we installed our water lines, we put in shut off valves strategically along the way to make sure we could isolate leaks rather than digging up all 300+ feet to find one!
Our newest addition to our homestead routine maintenance plan. Three years in a row we blew out our capacitor on our air conditioning unit. (Sounds like something out of Back to the Future – flux capacitor anyone?) I think they got over-taxed in the Texas heat and humidity. Plus around here, it’s not unheard of to have to run the air in the winter sometimes. So our air conditioner doesn’t ever get an extended break. Anyway, the last guy that replaced it asked if we ever rinsed off the panels of the air conditioning unit. Huh?? Well duh. Those panels get gunked up with grass and dirt and the air conditioner has to work even harder to move air through them. WHY has no one ever told us this before? We treasure air conditioning around here, so we pamper that wonderful hunk of machinery now!
You've heard "if momma ain't happy, no one is happy?" Well, if the air conditioner ain't happy, momma sure ain't happy around here!
I’m sure there are other things we routinely do without thinking about it too much. What tasks do you have on your homestead routine maintenance plan?