Easy Steps Today to Prevent Costly Repairs Tomorrow

In Homeowners by Doug PhelpsLeave a Comment

Maintenance Today . . .
. . . Saves Thousands Tomorrow

Ideas to keep you safer in your home and save you money by extending the life of various items and preventing damage from deferred maintenance. Remember the saying — an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!


Change your furnace filter every 30 days. Buy a year’s supply of filters – the inexpensive ones are fine if replaced regularly (and you don’t have health issues such as allergies). Replacing the filter can extend the life of the furnace by 33% and save operating cost dollars.
Clean debris from the outside air conditioning compressor at the same time. Considering that a furnace/AC combo can cost anywhere from $5,000-$8,000 to replace, regular filter replacement at just a few dollars per month provides a significant return on investment.  If only do one thing, do this.


1) Chances are you regularly clean the lint filter on the dryer after each use. Go a step further: vacuum the lint from the dryer vent as it exits the house. Lint accumulates in the vent and it is a fire hazard.

2) 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.

3) Drain the sediment from the hot water heater. Check your owner’s manual for instructions, or do an internet search or contact your friendly neighborhood plumber. Getting rid of the sediment extends the life of the tank and helps it work more efficiently.

Twice a Year…

1) Keep all your plumbing working smoothly with a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda in drains, followed by running hot water after the vinegar and baking soda “boiling” has stopped. This flushes out hair and gunk and keep drains free flowing. It is cheap and effective, and much easier on your pipes than harsh chemicals.

2) Tighten garage door bolts and check door balance. When placed at the halfway point, the door should stay in place – neither going up nor down. Springs and door openers are replaced less often when the door is balanced and bolts are tight.

3) Tour the outside of your home and inspect downspouts. Are they in place?  Are they free of debris? (Pour a bucket of water into the downspout.)
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 repair costs can be expensive. I have first-hand experience on this one! Make sure water escapes the downspout at least three feet from the foundation, and the slope of the ground is away from the house.

How are you going to remember to do this little – 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 do particular items. When it’s time to sell, a buyer can have confidence that you took great care of these important items.

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