Let’s face it — performing routine home maintenance is one of the least pleasant parts about being a homeowner, which is why so many people avoid it. The majority of homeowners (76%) say there is at least one home maintenance task they dread, with cleaning the gutters being the most dreaded task (16.3% of homeowners said they dread doing this), according to a recent survey conducted by homeowners insurance provider Hippo.
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But neglecting these unpleasant tasks can end up costing you more in the long run. For every $1 that is spent on maintenance, up to $100 of repairs are avoided, according to the personal finance blog Get Rich Slowly.
Here are 12 money-saving home maintenance tasks you need to stop avoiding.
Inspect and Repair Your Roof
Although 9.1% of homeowners dread having their roof checked, this is one task that’s definitely worth doing to avoid costly repairs down the line.
“Taking the time to inspect your roof allows you to proactively detect potential issues in time to take action,” said Steve Wilson, senior underwriting manager at Hippo. “Repairing minor damage can be a quick, cheap do-it-yourself fix, or you can always save yourself the time and leave it up to the experts to inspect and repair.”
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This highly dreaded task could also end up being a big money-saver.
“Leaves and debris can quickly build up in household gutter lines, leading to water damage to your drywall and molding around the home,” Wilson said. “With the help of a ladder to access those tough-to-reach areas and using a pair of gloves, clear out any visible debris. Gutter guards can also be a great investment because once they are installed, it alleviates the need to clean your gutters as often.”
“As beautiful as trees can be, faulty tree limbs can have damaging effects on a home, especially if there are high winds or a storm,” Wilson said. “With the proper tools, work through the twigs and branches to remove anything that doesn’t look completely stable. Be safe. If you have tall trees in your yard, consider hiring a professional tree-trimmer to take care of those high-up areas.”
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Steam Clean Carpets
Your carpets could be harboring dangerous mold, which is why it’s so important to deep clean them regularly.
“The signs of mold can creep into your home completely unnoticed,” Wilson said. “Use a carpet cleaner to do a thorough deep cleaning of your floors to help remove excess moisture and clear out possible debris.”
Mold removal can be a huge undertaking, so it’s better to nip any possible issues in the bud.
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Change Out HVAC Filter
According to the Hippo survey, 8.2% of homeowners dread having their HVAC system serviced. To avoid needing to get it fully serviced, homeowners should change out the filter regularly.
“A dirty HVAC filter will turn a light brown color, and if not changed regularly, it can lead to health concerns,” Wilson said. “An easy fix is to swap out filters every few months to maintain a functional heating and cooling system that keeps the air clean.”
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Check Fire Extinguishers and Smoke Detectors
A house fire can cause major (expensive) damage, which is why this task is so important to keep up with.
“Making sure you have protection against household fires starts with a functioning smoke detector and fire extinguisher,” Wilson said. “A 10-year smoke alarm ranges from $15 to $20, and you can purchase a fire extinguisher for around $30 to $40.”
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Performing regular maintenance on your lawnmower can help extend its life so you can go longer without having to replace it.
“Give that mower a quick cleaning by removing the belt guards to ensure there isn’t any debris left over from the last time you used it,” Wilson said. “Check and replace the spark plugs, change the oil and fill it up with new gas. Inspect the blades and replace any that are dull or worn. Lastly, check out the tires. Grease every fitting and make sure there aren’t any punctures. Repair or replace if needed.”
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Check Your Windows and Doors for Drafts and Leaks
“According to the Environmental Protection Agency, securing entry points can increase the efficiency of your home’s heating and cooling systems by 20%,” Wilson said. “Better insulation and tighter seals will keep your home cool in the summer and warm when winter rolls around. Start by caulking any leaks or cracks around your windows. Add weather stripping if necessary. Then, check attics, walls, inside cupboards that conceal pipes, crawl spaces and the spaces around your doors.”
These tasks can save you big time on your utility bill.
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Inspect Your Attic
Unchecked issues stemming from your attic can become costly repair jobs down the line.
“Check your insulation for discoloration, matting or dampness, as this could be an indication of a roof leak or condensation problem,” Wilson said. “Also, if you notice dusty or dirty insulation, it might indicate an air leak where heated air from within the home is seeping up through the attic. Repair leaks into the attic (check openings around pipes, wires, phone lines and cables) with caulk or expanding foam. Any white discoloration in your rafters near ventilation could also be the result of a roof leak or condensation issue.”
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Protect Your Plumbing
Plumbing is the most neglected area of the home, the Hippo survey found. However, you may have to pay the price if you neglect it for too long. One task you should keep up with is ensuring that pipes are properly insulated.
“Pipes located outside the home or in areas without proper insulation, like basements or attics, need extra insulation from the elements,” Wilson said. “Fitting your pipes with foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves can help decrease the chances of your pipes freezing or bursting. The extra insulation also allows the water to keep its temperature as it is flowing through the pipes, which may lower your energy costs.”
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Inspect Your Radiator/Heating Unit
Heating is the second-most neglected area of the home, according to the survey. But you should be sure to check it regularly or it may get to the point where it needs to be replaced rather than just repaired.
“Taking the time to check your heating source and thermostat proactively will help prevent cold nights waiting for a repair during the busy winter months,” Wilson said. “You will want to change your filter every few months to ensure it runs properly, and we also recommend having a professional come out once a year to check on the major components like the fan motor and ignition system.”
Flush the Water Heater
“Flushing your water heater regularly will help get more years out of it,” Wilson said. “Doing a simple flush will clear any unwanted sediment in your water tank and remove that crusty calcium build-up on your tankless unit. We recommend doing this at least once a year, and even twice a year in areas where the water has high mineral content.”
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