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Owning and maintaining one’s own home can often seem like a daunting task, particularly for people who are the proud owners of older homes. Many owners have a repair list that quite literally stretches from their roof — nailing down loose shingles and cleaning out the dreaded gutters each fall and spring — to the basement where it may be important to patch cracks in the foundation.

The key questions for many people are: Where should we start? And, what is our top priority maintenance or repair project that we must absolutely tackle this summer? Even though the questions are clear, the answers are not always equally transparent. In fact, there are no universal answers to these questions. Different homes have different needs, and owners may have radically varied preferences and budgets. For some homes, the answer may be starting with a new roof — maybe even a metal roof or one that incorporates environmentally friendly solar panels. For others, however, the answer could be replacing outdated electrical systems that pose a real fire hazard and rewiring the entire home.

Oftentimes, however, when homeowners focus on big ticket repairs — projects that cost time and money and can be highly disruptive to their lives over a period of weeks and sometimes even months — they have a tendency to overlook more mundane home maintenance tasks. But, overlooking these everyday responsibilities can be a recipe for disaster in the medium- and long-run. Some of these frequently neglected chores are cleaning your carpeting and pumping your septic tank.

We all vacuum more or less regularly — although admittedly some of us may not be as diligent with our vacuuming as we should be, as our jobs and family life have a tendency to get in the way of regular cleaning.  But, vacuuming alone is not enough to keep our house free from dirt and germs. We all track the outside inside on a daily basis, particularly if we wear shoes into our house. These outside germs can lead to illness and they can also exacerbate different conditions, such as asthma. A thorough vacuuming will eliminate some of this outside dirt. However, some dirt and germs penetrate deep into the carpeting, and the only way to remove it is via carpet cleaning. As one recent article explained, “The fact is your carpet is a hotbed of bacteria, pollen, dead skin, and dust” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/carpet-cleaning_us_570fb9d0e4b03d8b7b9fa45e ). The article goes on to cite a recent study that shows carpeting is dirtier than the average toilet seat—YUCK is the only appropriate word for these findings.

But, never fear, carpet cleaning from a professional firm can eliminate this dirt and bacteria from your home. Most experts recommend that this professional cleaning — usually via a steam cleaner — should be done at least once a year. This schedule is ideal for getting out tough grime and germs and also extends the life of your carpeting (http://www.today.com/series/how-often-should-you/how-clean-your-carpet-t25176 ).

Professional carpet cleaning is not the only frequently overlooked home maintenance task — many homeowners seem to forget that they have septic tanks and that these septic tanks need to be pumped. The frequency with which you need to pump your septic tank will depend on two factors—how big your septic tank is and how large your family is that regularly uses the system. The bigger the tank, the less frequently it needs to be pumped; conversely, the larger your family, the more regularly you will need to schedule septic tank service. For most houses, it is unlikely that you will need to pump your tank more than once every one to three years (but, there are always exceptions to rules).

Overlooking the need to pump your septic tank can lead to expensive and smelly failures of your septic system and the need for costly repairs. This can all be avoided by scheduling regular service with professionals — the average cost of septic tank pumping generally runs at less than $200-300 (http://home.costhelper.com/septic-tank-cleaning.html ). And, if you are particularly cost conscious or especially handy, you can always pump your septic tank yourself.

Home maintenance and repairs are a vital — if often overlooked — part of home ownership. To keep your home in tip-top shape and maintain its resale value, it is important to stay up-to-date on all the mechanical issues that need to be addressed in your home. Often, owners focus on the large and costly items on their to do list and forget the more mundane chores. This blog reminds you that this is a potential recipe for disaster — don’t forget seemingly minor tasks, such as having your carpets professionally cleaned and your septic tank pumped out regularly.