If there is anything to say about home maintenance it’s this: maintenance is measured in pennies per square foot while home repairs are measured in dollars per square foot. A little preventative home maintenance each month can help homeowners avoid costly repairs that might occur due to neglect. In fact, with these simple and cost effective home maintenance tips, you’ll not only be able to prevent more costly repairs later on down the road, but you’ll also help lower utility bills and other operating costs associated with your homes health.
One of the easiest yet most neglected parts of home maintenance involve the many air filters that help keep your homes appliances and other gadgets in top working order. Replacing and cleaning filters isn’t a difficult job and can be done using basic household materials and tools.
Air conditioning and heating equipment are one of the biggest energy consumers in your home—as well as one of the most costly items to repair. As air conditioners and heaters condition the interior air in your home, they draw in the indoor air through an air vent known as an air return. As the tiny particles of dust accumulate at the return, it passes through a filter where it becomes trapped. This prevents these nasty particles from entering into the furnace or air handler where they can cause serious damages to the working components of your system.
When filters become clogged with dust and dirt, they cause a heavy strain on these costly heating and cooling systems. This not only increases the amount of work your air equipment must do (thereby increasing your utility bills) to properly heat and cool your home, but they also increase the chance that a break down will occur during the peak seasons of use. Be sure to replace air filters for your heating and cooling equipment every 30 days to prevent damages that might end up costing you and arm and a leg during peak repair season.
But it’s not just air conditioner and heating equipment that can be damaged from the dust and debris of a clogged air filter—your appliances can also become damaged over time due to poor maintenance of the filters. Refrigerator coils that are covered in dust are certain to work harder doing their everyday job of keeping your food cold. Use a vacuum cleaner hose with a thin nozzle to reach underneath of your refrigerator to clean any dust from the ventilation and coils once a year.
Range hood vents and bathroom ventilation fans are also susceptible to dust and debris accumulation. It’s important to remove the covers and vacuum away any visible dust from within the motor housing and ducts annually to extend their life. Keeping ventilation clean and free from debris also lowers the risk of fire hazards caused from clogged ventilation ducts and motor housings.
Dryer vents are also fire hazards in the wait and should be taken care of at least once a year. You’ll want to remove any lint from the vent shaft and the duct itself. For hard to reach dryer ventilation ducts, it’s a good idea to hire a professional dryer vent cleaning crew to ensure the entire ventilating duct is clean. You’ll lower your risk for fires, increase the life of your dryer and decrease your utility bills in the process.
Exterior Visual Inspection
Twice a year—preferably spring and fall—it’s a good idea to take a stroll around the exterior of your home and do a visual inspection for damages. Minor problems that are visible before the harshness of summer and winter weather takes hold should be repaired immediately. Once the wet weather of winter or the dry heat of summer take their toll on minor home problems, they quickly become large and expensive ones.
This is especially true for roofing problems. While you’re walking around the exterior of your home looking for foundation cracks, soffit damages or peeling paint, it’s a wise idea to take a look at your roof. Keep an eye out for loose, broken, cracked or cupped shingles as these are all signs of roofing problems that can be significantly accentuated as the weather changes for the worse. A little preventive maintenance on your shingles now can prevent costly roof leaks.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter
A ground fault circuit interrupter or GFCI outlet is designed to work in wet locations such as in your bathroom, kitchen and even outdoors. With the additional protection of a breaker, a GFCI circuit can prevent fires and deadly shocks when water and electricity mix. A basic test of the circuit can be performed by simply pressing the “test” button located on the face of the receptacle. If it depresses in fully, clicks or turns on the small LED light on the face of the outlet, you know the breaker is working correctly. Power up the outlet by pressing the reset button. If your outlet is not working correctly, then you’ll need to replace it with another GFCI outlet. You’ll avoid damages to your appliances, prevent dangerous shocks and lower your risk of a fire with a properly working GFCI outlet.
No matter where you live in the world, there is a species of termite that is ready and waiting to devour the wood in and around your home. Termite treatment programs by a professional service once a year is recommended to ensure your homes wood and cellulose products are protected from this costly pest. Even if you treat the area around your home yourself, it’s also important to inspect the area for signs of termite damages and deal with them immediately before more serious problems have a chance to develop.