If you’re a home owner, you’ve probably become aware of the fact that home maintenance is a never ending project. But the fact is, it costs much less –in time and money – to keep your home maintained that it does to deal with disasters and repairs. As they say, “better to spend a few cents now to save many dollars later.” If you’re new to home ownership, you might not be aware of all the little things that need to be taken care of, so here’s a short sample of things you should be staying on top of in your home.
One of the largest costs in any home is the heating and cooling system. And one of the easiest ways to save money in heating and cooling is simply to keep the system clean. Change or clean the filters monthly. When the filter is dirty, the fan has to work hard to draw air, which means you pay more to power it, so keep those filters clean! As an added note, keep vents cleaned out and make sure that they aren’t blocked by furniture.
Air conditioners can cause more problems though, if their condensate drain system isn’t kept clean. As your AC works, it causes a condensation of humidity in the air around it. This condensate (water, like on the side of a cold glass) is collected in a pan and drained through a pvc pipe to the outside of the house. Mold and algae will build up in the pipe due to the slow moving water. If not caught, it can flood and cause real damage to floors or ceilings, depending on where the drain pan is. Prevent the problem by pouring a cup of bleach into the drain pipe each month.
Another easy job that can prevent a lot of future problems is keeping your storm gutters and drains clear of leaves and debris. Too much gunk clogging them up means water doesn’t drain well and can cause damage to the eaves and roof. While you’re at it, have gutters drain into a rain water storage system that you can use for watering the yard when it’s not raining.
If you have a fireplace, clean the ashes out of it regularly. One job you should pay for is to have the chimney professionally cleaned yearly. When you aren’t using the fireplace, keep the damper closed to prevent heat loss. However, if you don’t use AC in the warmer months, keeping the damper open can help with home ventilation.
If you have a refrigerator with coils showing in the back, use the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner to clean them off every three months. Also, make sure your refrigerator seals well when it’s closed. Close a dollar bill in the door seal; if It’s difficult to pull out, you’re good to go. If not, you may need to replace the seals.
Speaking of seals, check those on the doors and windows of your home and add caulk or weather-stripping if necessary to prevent drafts. Too many leaky windows, you might as well just leave them open!
Most people never think of their water heater until they go to take a shower and there’s not any hot water! Prevent problems by draining your water heater once a year to remove the sediment build up. It’s a pretty simple job – just remember to turn off the water line to the water heater before you start.
One final maintenance tip is for the bathroom. Check faucets and drains for leaks, and fix them before they become serious problems. Also, every two months, you should remove aerators and shower heads and soak them in vinegar to dissolve mineral deposits that block them up.
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