Home maintenance is something that often slips our mind amidst our busy schedules and hectic lives. The regular cooking, laundry, and cleaning is something that consumes a significant amount of time in our routines but a little effort from your end can save you a lot of money when the time for repair arises. Just like your car, even your home needs regular tune-ups to help it go a long way.
Here are ten home maintenance tips that will help you save your wallet and help your home live a healthy life.
Examine your roof. Periodically check for damages, look for discolored, damaged, or gravel-less shingles. Any such shingles need to be replaced as quickly as possible. If not noticed and taken care of at an early stage, it could lead to leaks inside the home and the situation could call to replace your roof, water-damaged trusses, or drywall when you finally discover the leak. Pay extra attention to shingles that surround your skylights, chimneys, and vents. These are the areas that are the most prone to leaks.
Improper drainage you could land you with a flooded basement or crawl space. One of the biggest causes of water accumulation in basements is the lack of proper gutter maintenance and water diversion. Gutters are the main line of defense that protect your foundation and siding and the elements.
In order to keep your basement dry, you need to clean your gutters by physically removing debris from the channels and rinsing them using a garden hose. As much as possible, avoid using gutter guards. They don’t do a very good job at holding back debris from entering the gutters but they also make it tough when you try to clean the gutter system. While you’re at it, also check to see if your gutters are properly fixed to your fascia boards and replace any gutters that leak.
To ensure that water flows freely through your pipes, you should do the following things:
- You should know that fats and oils clog your drain. This includes fats and oils that solidify at room temperature. If oil is accidentally spilled down the drain or fats washed down the drain, you can use hot water and dishwashing liquids to clear the pipes. Soaps emulsify the fat or oil and move it down the pipe and prevent a clog.
- Use a hair strainer for the bathtub drain. Oils and fats are the main sources of clogs in kitchens and so is hair in the bathroom. With a strainer, you can make sure that you remove all accumulated hair from each shower.
- Fats and Oils that accumulate cause clogs so make sure that you never pour fats and oils down the drain.
- Skip using Drano as it uses acids to clean your drain. This can lead to expensive repairs and damage your plumbing. When your drain is totally clogged then you should use a drain snake to pull the offending clog to the surface. If your kitchen sink is clogged, then you can plunge it before trying to snake the drain. If you still can’t remove it, then you should call a professional.
If you’ve ever had a leaky toilet, you know the struggle that comes with it. Toilet tanks that leak don’t just affect your utility bill but could also cause water damage to your bathroom floor and result in premature wear of the internal working of your toilet. If you don’t know whether you have a leaky toilet and want to get it checked, add some food coloring to the water in the tank. Use a bright color like red or pink. Come back after an hour and check whether the water in the bowl is colored. If it is, you have a leak. And if you don’t, you have nothing to worry about.
If you have a leak, you’ll need to replace the flapper. To change the flapper, you first need to shut off the water supply to the toilet. You can do this by turning off the water valve located directly behind the toilet. Empty the flush tank, remove the tank’s lid and flush the toilet. Use a sponge or towel to absorb any water that is left in the tank. Then remove the flush chain from the lever and then slide the older flap up off the overflow tube. Slide the new flapper in place over the overflow tube and reconnect the chain. You can turn the water supply back on.
5. WASHING MACHINE & DRYER
You should regularly inspect your washing machine water supply hoses for leaks. This is one of the major reasons why insurance claims are taken for water damage caused by a leaking washing machine supply lines. These inspections should happen at least once a year to ensure that your washing machine has no leaks. Also every three years you should replace the plastic hoses and do the same to the metal ones if they become discolored and rusty. These faulty washing machine drain hoses are important as water supply lines and this is used to keep water off your floor and in the drain. You should also inspect the supply lines and inspect the ends of washing machine drain lines for discoloration or rust and replace them. Also, check for the snugness of drain lines by using a crescent wrench or pliers. Make sure that you do not tighten beyond the line that it is already tightened. Replace plastic lines every three years.
The dryer should be regularly kept clean and you should remove the lint that collects. By cleaning your lint screen you can prevent fires. Besides preventing fires, it also helps increase the life of the heating element. You must physically remove the lint from the screen between each load of laundry and remove fabric softener residue by washing the screen with warm water and dish detergent at least once a week.
6. AIR CONDITIONERS
Air Conditioners are usually the most overlooked appliances when it comes to home maintenance of appliances. However, air conditioners are one of the most expensive appliances to repair.You should inspect the condensation hose and make sure that water flows freely from the line. Also if there is water stagnant in the condensation line drain, then you should create a drainage path by using a small garden trowel. You can use this and line a path with gravel to ensure that mold and algae stop forming. This can be a serious health hazard if these spores are pulled into the appliance and blown in the cold air in your home.
Make sure that the screen around your air conditioner is free of debris to keep air flowing easily. This ensures that your air conditioner does not consume more power than required to cool your home and makes sure that the internal parts do not wear out fast.
Use a qualified heating and cooling contractor to clean and service the outside unit. Clean the coils for the air conditioner to operate efficiently and make the annual service call to keep your systems working at its peak performance levels. Do make sure that you change the interior filters regularly.
Leaky faucets are caused by worn-out washers. The washers inside the faucet handles are rubber and tend to wear out quickly. To replace these washers turn off the main water supply and unscrew the leaky handle that controls the flow of water to the spout. Then remove the old washer and drop the new one in.
8. AIR FILTERS
The air filters in your home’s central heat and air unit need to be changed frequently, especially during its peak usage. The longest you can leave an air filter in place is for thirty days. During months of high usage, air filters need to be changed every two weeks.
You can use cheap fiberglass filters instead of expensive HEPA filters. This is because of two reasons. The first being replacing expensive air filters often isn’t cost-effective. Second, fiberglass filters actually let in more airflow into the climate-controlled unit and this reduces the amount of energy that is required to efficiently heat or cool your home.
Certain climate control systems have in-duct humidifiers that help keep air healthy and moist through the winter when artificial heat systems are being used. However, if these systems malfunction they become a breeding ground for bacteria and mold that could cause serious air quality issues.
Every winter, it is important to drain out the unit and shut the water valve to prevent water from collecting and stagnating in the system. Clean the reservoir with a mixture of vinegar and water to ensure that the mineral deposits are at a minimum.
One of the main components of your refrigerator that calls for your attention is the door seal. The door seal keeps your refrigerator working effectively by preventing premature wear on internal parts. A tight door seal reduces the amount of energy that the fridge requires to keep the items inside frozen or cool.
To check if your door seals are tight, close the fridge on a dollar bill and try pulling the bill out. If the bill does not come off easily, your seals are in a good shape. But if the bill slides out easily or without any resistance, your seals need to be replaced. You can buy a new fridge door seal from your local home repair store.
If your fridge has coils at the back, you need to vacuum them periodically. If not, dirt and dust tend to collect. These coils contain the coolant that is required to keep the temperature inside your fridge cool. If the coils are dirty, they may affect the cooling functions of your refrigerator entirely.
Extra tip: It requires lower energy to keep a full refrigerator cool when compared to an empty refrigerator. So try keeping your refrigerator full if you want to cut down on your energy costs.
These home maintenance tips are sure to keep your home in a good condition and cut down on your cost of repairs.
HOME WARRANTY FOR YOUR HOME
Refrigerators, air-conditioning systems, washers and dryers, and plumbing systems are some of the items that are covered under most home warranty policies. Home warranty policies cover the cost of repair and replacement of a list of home appliances and systems that are caused due to regular wear and tear. Investing in a home warranty policy can help you protect your budget. A home warranty policy comes in handy, especially in a home where most of the appliances and systems are no longer covered by a manufacturer’s warranty.
Before you invest in a home warranty policy, you need to put in the research and read reviews to make sure that the company you are investing in provides quality service in your area. You can find out which are the top companies that provide service in your state and city on our website. You can find reviews for 80+ home warranty companies. If you still aren’t sure about getting a home warranty policy, you can use the home maintenance calculator to help you out with your decision. The home maintenance calculator gives you an estimate of your home maintenance expenses for the year after taking into consideration a few factors like the age of the home, age of the appliances, etc. You can also get a free home warranty quote by entering your ZIP code and email ID.
If you have any questions regarding a home warranty that you would like to ask us, go ahead and use the comments section. We are more than happy to help you.