How to Maintain Your Home to Avoid Expensive Repairs
Owning a home can give you a great sense of pride, but it can also be a great source of frustration when unexpected repairs start costing you more than you had budgeted for.
Here are some easy and inexpensive maintenance suggestions to help you avoid having to pay for expensive repairs.
Water leaks can wind up pouring money down the drain since they will run up your water bill unnecessarily. Make sure your pipes stay clear of debris that can cause them to back up into the house, or that they are insulated from cold weather to avoid freezing and bursting. Don’t forget your septic tank either: Periodically flushing a septic cleaning product will help to keep your tank from overflowing.
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
If your house is keeping you hot in the summer and cold in the winter, it is probably time to get your HVAC inspected by a professional technician. One way to avoid costly repairs or replacing the entire unit is to change your filter every month it is being used, or every three months when it is not. Depending on where you live, some units also have a pipe to pour bleach into to avoid mold or mildew buildup when it is extremely humid.
Doors and Windows
Making sure that your doors and windows are sealed well will prevent loss of heating or cooling. Consider installing insulated doors and double-paned windows if you live in an area that has temperature extremes. When getting replacement insulated doors, don’t forget your garage door. An attached garage can be 20 degrees hotter or colder than your house, and that heat or cold air will cause your house HVAC to work harder to maintain consistent temperatures.
Roof and Gutters
Inspect your roof after heavy storms or winter snows, and make sure your gutters are cleaned out each season to avoid an expensive roof replacement. This roof maintenance can also help you avoid water leaks into your attic, which can build up over time until you see them as stains on the ceilings. Black mold is always a concern where there are long-term water leaks because of the associated health concerns. When inspecting your roof, also be sure that the flashing between any chimneys or extended walls above the roof is sealed well — because if not, you could have leaks within your walls.
The foundation of your house protects it from standing water and insect damage. Check for cracks, make sure the surrounding soil or landscaping slopes away from the house and avoid putting plants too close to your exterior walls, as they can give termites a way into your home. Having your home inspected yearly for termites can stop them in their tracks before they stop you in yours.
While these seem like simple maintenance suggestions, they can often be forgotten or overlooked. Getting into the habit of inspecting your home every quarter or every time you set your clock ahead or back for daylight savings can save you in the long run.
Scott Huntington is a writer from central Pennsylvania. He enjoys working on his home and garden with his wife and 2 kids. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington