There are many ways to keep your home safe and save lots of money. You can extend the life of various expensive appliances, and prevent damage, through simple maintenance of certain major systems in your house.
Change your furnace filter every 30 days
Replacing the filter can extend the life of the furnace by 33% and save on operating cost dollars. Clean debris from the outside air conditioning compressor at the same time for even better maintenance.
Consider buying a year’s supply of filters – the inexpensive ones are fine if replaced regularly. A furnace/AC combo can cost anywhere from $5,000-$8,000 to replace, so regular filter replacement for just a few dollars per month provides a pretty significant return on investment.
Seriously, if you only do one thing, do this.
Use the vacuum
Break out your vacuum and use it for some deep cleaning and maintenance. Chances are you regularly clean the lint filter on the dryer after each use. But, you should vacuum the lint from the dryer vent as it exits the house at least once a year. Lint accumulates in the vent and it is a fire hazard.
While you have the vacuum out, move the refrigerator out from the wall and vacuum the coils. This will extend the life of this expensive appliance by several years.
Clean out your plumbing
Keep all your house’s plumbing working smoothly. Pour a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda down drains, followed by a quart of hot water after the vinegar and baking soda bubbling has stopped. This flushes out hair and other gunk and keep your drains flowing freely. It is cheap and effective, and much easier on your pipes than harsh chemicals. Do this twice a year.
Drain your hot water heater
Drain the sediment from the hot water heater once a year. Check your owner’s manual or do an internet search for instructions. You can even contact your friendly neighborhood plumber. Getting rid of the sediment not only extends the life of the tank, but helps it work more efficiently.
Check your garage door
It’s always a good idea to check the condition of your garage door. Tighten garage door bolts and check the door balance. When placed at the halfway point, the door should stay in place. Springs and door openers need to be replaced less often when the door is balanced, and the bolts are tight.
Watch your downspouts
Tour the outside of your home and inspect your downspouts. Are they in place? Are they free of debris? Pour a bucket of water into the downspout to be sure. If there’s a blockage, be sure to get that unclogged.
Almost all basement water intrusion problems are due to a failure to maintain drainage immediately around the house. Water pouring down right by the foundation can get into the basement and the repair costs can be expensive. I have first-hand experience with this one! Make sure water escapes the downspout at least three feet from the foundation and that the slope of the ground is away from the house.
Set a reminder
How are you going to remember to do all these small – but incredibly effective – things? Put a reminder on your calendar or smart phone for one day a month. Then, keep this list in a small spiral notebook in a kitchen cabinet and record when you complete particular tasks. When it’s time to sell, a buyer can have confidence that you took great care of these important items.