Maintaining your home is not just about ensuring it looks presentable; it’s also about preventing costly repairs down the line. Some tasks, when done regularly, can save you significant amounts of money in the long run. Let’s dive into these annual chores that will keep your pockets happy and your home in tip-top shape.
1. Clean Your Gutters
Gutters filled with leaves, sticks, and debris can lead to water damage, which is a costly affair to repair. When water can’t flow freely, it can overflow, damaging your roof, walls, and foundation.
What to do: Once a year, typically after the fall leaves have dropped, ensure that your gutters and downspouts are cleaned. You can either hire a professional or do it yourself with a ladder, gloves, and a hose.
2. Check Your Roof
Roof damage can escalate rapidly if not caught early. Loose or missing shingles can lead to leaks, which subsequently cause interior damage.
What to do: Do an annual visual inspection of your roof. Look for curling, cracked, or missing shingles. If you notice any significant damage or areas of concern, consider hiring a professional for a thorough inspection.
3. Drain Your Water Heater
Sediment can collect at the bottom of your water heater over time, reducing its efficiency and lifespan.
What to do: Once a year, drain about a quarter of the tank to remove the sediment. Turn off the cold water supply, attach a garden hose to the drain valve, and then run the hose to a bucket. Remember, the water will be hot!
4. Check and Refresh Caulking
Old, cracked caulking can let in water, leading to mold or structural damage.
What to do: Inspect the caulking around your bathtubs, showers, and sinks. If it’s dry, peeling, or cracked, it’s time to remove the old layer and apply a fresh layer. Doing so not only prevents potential water damage but also gives your bathroom a clean, polished look.
5. Inspect Your HVAC System
A well-maintained HVAC system runs more efficiently, saves energy, and prolongs the life of the unit. Dust and dirt can strain the system, making it work harder.
What to do: Replace or clean filters every few months, and once a year, hire a professional to inspect the system, clean the ducts, and ensure it’s running efficiently.
6. Clean and Inspect Chimneys
If you use a fireplace, residue can accumulate inside the chimney, increasing the risk of chimney fires.
What to do: Once a year, preferably before winter, have your chimney professionally inspected and cleaned. Even if you don’t frequently use your fireplace, it’s essential to check for nests or other obstructions.
7. Test Safety Devices
Your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are vital for your safety, but their effectiveness diminishes if they’re not in working order.
What to do: Test the alarms by pressing the test button. If they don’t sound, replace the batteries. Moreover, replace smoke alarms every 10 years and carbon monoxide detectors every 5-7 years.
The Bottom Line
Regular maintenance might seem tedious or unnecessary, especially if everything seems to be in working order. However, being proactive can save you a significant amount of money in the long run. By making these tasks a part of your annual routine, you can ensure that your home remains a safe and efficient haven for years to come.
Editor's note: This article was produced via automated technology and then fine-tuned and verified for accuracy by a member of GOBankingRates' editorial team.
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