While most homeowners are daunted by the always growing list of tasks and repairs to do around the house, staying on top of your home’s maintenance can really be a cost saver.
Neglecting routine upkeep or cutting corners can really cost you in the long run, so look for warning signs around the house so you can dodge avoidable mistakes and minimize costly, last minute and urgent repairs.
Stay on top of your home’s regular maintenance with these great tips and tricks:
- Change your air filter at least every 3 months. Changing this inexpensive and simple filter will help your heating and cooling system to run more efficiently and improve airflow, while failing to do this will cause your system to work harder and run longer. Keeping this filter in good shape will improve your energy efficiency, help you save on energy costs and reduce allergens in the air. Consider upgrading your filter to an allergen reduction filter and keep up to 94% of unwanted airborne particles out of your families lungs.
- Got loose or broken tiles or gaps in your grout? Don’t just ignore them! Installed tile in your home should be inspected at least once a year. If you have a loose or broken tile or gaps in your grout, this could be a sign that water is seeping into the floor, walls or sheetrock which can create damp patches, spread water to other areas of your home or create more loose tiles. Along with water, comes the possibility of water damages including mold growth, rot and bugs. To avoid this, replace or re-adhere any loose tiles with a standard tile adhesive. Let that dry completely (usually at least 24 hours). Then mix grout and water and apply grout to any newly tiled areas and any areas where the grout has failed. Spread a little caulk along those corners and you are done! A minor repair to your tile can save you big money in the long run if these damages are left unattended.
- Check your roof out twice a year and look for curled shingles. Curled shingles usually mean there is a leak in the roof, which can cause extensive damages to your roof and the interior of your home quite quickly! If you have curled shingles, make sure to get a roofing contractor to inspect the roof thoroughly and assess the extent of the damages and whether they can be simply repaired or replaced or if it is time for a new roof. Avoid further interior damages, rot and mold growth by getting your roof repaired as soon as possible.
- Keep an eye out for foggy windows. Insulated windows are made of two panes, which are vacuum sealed to keep the moisture and cold out of your home. If you see fog in between the window panes, you most likely have a broken seal. The fog is happening because warm moist air is coming into contact with cold air, which also means you are probably paying more than you should to heat and cool your home, not to mention putting an extra strain on your home’s heating and ventilation system. Call a professional window company, who may be able to remove the fog and re-seal the window or repair the broken sash.
- Drain your hot water tank each year. Why go through the trouble? There are two good reasons to do this regularly. Your tanks are constantly working and, as a result, sediment can collect at the bottom of the tank and cause your unit to use more and more energy to heat water. By draining your tank you get the chance to not only clean out any sediment, increasing the longevity of your unit, but you can also listen for hissing and unusual crackling sounds. These sounds are a sign of small leaks from the heater which are causing water to drip onto the burner plate. If you hear these noises when you drain your tank, you will want to start looking for a new one. This is a warning sign that your tank is going. It will be dramatically less expensive to plan to replace the heater now than to be forced to make an emergency call to your plumber when your tank fails.
- Inspect your home’s paint job. If your paint is peeling, blistering, checking or discolored, you may have to do a little problem solving to figure out what is happening. Peeling is usually a sign of excessive exposure to moisture. Whether it’s from a leaky roof, clogged gutters, a leaky shower or pipe or an incorrectly vented dryer, finding the source and correcting the underlying problem will be the only way to resolve the peeling paint and protect your home from further damage. Blistering may be a sign that your paint was or is being exposed to excessive heat (or was originally painted on a super hot summer day) or moisture, especially if the surface preparation was inadequate or a poor quality paint was used. Checking (horizontal or vertical cracks that look like a checkerboard) is evidence that your paint has lost its elasticity and is reacting to changes in temperature or is old. Discoloring can be a sign of fungus growth or of “bleed-through” from painted wood. Bleed through on painted wood is a sign that a good primer was not used before painting the surface, which would keep the color of the wood below from seeping through the paint. If you are stumped or don’t know how to fix the problem, call a good painter to do a little inspecting and help you resolve the issue.
Staying on top of regular maintenance and inspecting your home regularly will help you dodge avoidable, costly errors and will save you money, especially on those energy bills!