Owning a home is much more than just paying a mortgage. Just like you do for your car, you need to maintain a home for everything to run smoothly.
Some house maintenance tasks are easy to do by yourself, but some things require the expertise of a professional.
That means you need to have a plan to pay for home maintenance projects. Also keep in mind that maintenance is usually cheaper than repairs and replacements. Setting aside $ 200 a month for routine maintenance is a good idea, but prepare for something bigger every few years – like getting the house painted.
“It is very important to maintain the value of your property. To me, routine maintenance is relatively inexpensive, but the damage caused by lack of maintenance can be very expensive, ”said Home Inspector John Wanninger. He and his INSPECTIX Team in Nebraska inspected more than 30,000 homes.
Wanninger suggests several house maintenance projects that you should do on a regular basis.
Not every expert will agree on the frequency of some of these tasks, and location and climate also make a difference.
3 top home maintenance priorities
Several topics stand out when it comes to house maintenance:
- Moisture prevention
- Equipment and equipment maintenance
- External condition
Prevention of moisture problems
We need water to live, but it can also be a great enemy if it shows up in places it shouldn’t. Any Problems with water should be addressed as soon as possible.
The gutter system of a house is designed in such a way that it directs the water from the roof to the ground without stopping in between.
Wanninger recommends checking your gutters and drainpipes at least once a year, before the rain or snow season in your area, to make sure the water is flowing freely and there are no blockages.
Remove any leaves or debris obstructing the flow.
Do not do this alone. Make sure someone spotted you on the ladder.
If you decide to hire someone HomeGuide The average cost of gutter cleaning is $ 150.
In the middle of a rain, is a bad time to find out your basement sump pump isn’t working.
“You should test your sump pump every month, especially during the rainy season, to make sure the pump is activated and the float is working,” said Wanninger.
To check the sump pump make sure it is on, pour some water into the pit area to make sure it starts up properly. Don’t forget to check the system’s backup battery as well.
Many experts say it’s important to drain your tank water heater annually to remove any debris that may have settled on the bottom. Usually this is done with a long hose from the nozzle to a sink or shower drain or an outside area.
Wanninger has a warning about this.
“You have to start it from the time it’s new and that will prevent rust and corrosion from building up on the bottom of your water heater,” he said.
The first time you drain a water heater two years, more or less, after installing it, it can cause problems. Any rust and debris that may have built up could clog the water heater’s neck, preventing you from closing it. This could result in a permanent leak or, worse, flooding your home with the water in the tank.
To make sure that everything is in order in any bathroom, regularly flush the toilets and run water through taps and drains that you don’t use often.
Check for leaks around the toilets and under the sink and that they are not wobbling.
Make sure the sealant and grout in bathtubs, showers, and behind the sinks are still intact.
“It prevents water from getting behind the wall, and if water sits there it will damage the wall and ultimately cause a very expensive repair,” warned Wanninger.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a professional should inspect your septic tank at least every three years and pump it out every three to five years.
Wanninger said this is something a lot of people don’t do, which could cause the system to malfunction or create a backup.
If your system has electrical float switches, pumps, or mechanical components, it should be checked annually by someone.
According to HomeGuide, cleaning and pumping a septic tank costs between $ 250 and $ 895, with most people spending around $ 375.
When done properly, lawn irrigation systems keep grass and plants lush and beautiful.
Malfunctioning systems can cause many problems in addition to keeping your lawn dry.
Wanninger suggested an annual inspection to make sure the sprinkler heads are working properly and watering where they’re supposed to. He said many homes he inspects have sprinklers hitting the home, which can cause rot and other damage.
Broken or leaking heads can create high water bills as the water has to go somewhere if the heads don’t come out of the ground.
HomeGuide says that it costs between $ 65 to $ 95 for a professional to replace a sprinkler head and about $ 2 to $ 12 if you do it yourself.
Maintenance of devices and equipment
We spend a lot on HVAC systems, washers and dryers. Regular maintenance can help these items work well.
To keep us cool in summer and warm in winter, we rely on our heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
It is important to change the air filters monthly and make a routine service visit to verify that everything is working properly.
An annual maintenance call costs about $ 100.
Make sure that there is a clear area around your outdoor compressor and that there are now leaves or debris in the unit.
Learn more about how to best maintain your HVAC system
In the laundry room, check the connections between the water source and the washing machine for leaks.
Wanninger said he saw a lot of floor and wall damage due to loose connections.
Make sure you clean the lint filter after every few washes in the dryer.
It’s also a good idea to have a professional clean the dryer opening every year or so (more if you do a lot of laundry).
A clogged dryer opening can affect the functionality of your dryer and even cause a fire.
A professional cleaning of the dryer openings with a vacuum cleaner, a brush, or a combination of both costs, according to data, an average of 145 US dollars Fixr.
Kitchen maintenance tasks
Your kitchen appliances can take a little TLC every now and then.
- Replace water filter: If you have a water or ice dispenser, you likely have a filter that removes contaminants so your water and ice cream taste great. Your owner’s manual will tell you how often to replace it, but it usually happens every six months or so. New filters can cost around $ 50.
- Vacuum the cooling coils: Your refrigerator’s coils can get dirty, which can cause your refrigerator to need more power to keep it running. Vacuuming them regularly can help keep them clean.
- Clean your filter on the cooker hood or in the microwave: A fat deposit on these can impair the functionality of the fan or leave a film on devices and walls.
- Check GFI: Make sure that your earth leakage breakers are working properly. GFIs protect you from electric shock, especially when an electrical outlet is near a water source. Check all sockets and switches throughout the house.
While there are many things about your home that are important to look out for, don’t ignore the outside. Several things on the exterior also require maintenance, making sure you have something in your budget reserved for home maintenance. The color alone could hit the budget by $ 5,000.
Keep dirt away
The water should drain away from the house, not on it. This will help prevent water damage.
“The dirt around your home is called backfill. When this house was built, the dirt was ripped out of its original state, ”said Wanninger. “So if you dig and backfill a foundation, this dirt will settle for many, many years.”
He urges his clients to monitor the dirt around the house and if they notice a buildup or flat area they should build up the slope to allow the water to drain from the structure.
Paint and siding
Color does more than just make your home look good. It also acts like a skin, protecting the house from damage.
“The wood we use for our houses today is not weather-resistant like the wood we used in the past,” said Wanninger. “The unpainted material will spoil very quickly, so sealing and painting the outside of the house is extremely important. Painting a house is likely a five-year project. “
According to HomeGuide, repainting the outside of a home costs between $ 2,600 and $ 5,700.
Also, check the siding regularly to make sure there are no cracks or soft spots that suggest moisture has gotten under the siding. Water damage is one of the usual repair costs.
If there is no caulking around siding or window trim, take care. The lack of sealing can lead to significant moisture damage to the exterior cladding and the house structure, warned Wanninger.
He suggested that windows, doors, chimneys and everything else that penetrates the exterior of the house be inspected and sealed annually. If you are not up to the task yourself, hire a professional window maintenance company. Depending on the size of the job, it can cost around $ 500.
Chimney and chimney
Speaking of chimneys, if you have a fireplace make sure you inspect the smoke outlet and chimney annually. A blockage could cause dangerous gases to get back into your home or start a fire.
HomeGuide says the average cost of a chimney cleaning and inspection is $ 155.
Electric garage doors are a great convenience and can last for many years.
Many garage door manufacturers say it’s important to have your electric garage door serviced at least once a year.
Garage door maintenance often includes:
- Lubricate moving parts of the door.
- Tightening of bolts and screws.
- Adjusting the spring tension.
- Sealing strip inspection and replacement.
It is also important to check the safety mechanisms that prevent the door from closing if something is in the way.
Put something blocking the electronic eyes or a broomstick on the floor to test the pressure feedback and make sure the door pops up again.
HomeGuide says a garage door maintenance call costs about $ 85.
No matter what you do to maintain your home, there are a few things everyone should know about where they live.
- The location of the electrical fuse / breaker box.
- The position of the main water shut-off.
- How to shut off the water in toilets, sick taps or washing machines.
- The position of the main shut-off for heating fuel.
Wanninger said one mistake a lot of people make is thinking that their home is new or new to them, it doesn’t need maintenance.
“Since we carry out inspections, we train our customers about this maintenance as soon as they move in and then carry them out according to a routine schedule.”
How much money do you have to budget for home repairs?
Mary Bell Carlson, blogger at Chief Financial Mom and a state-certified financial planner and accredited financial advisor, has just bought a new house and is finding out first-hand about the importance of house maintenance.
She advised her customers to set up a so-called Life Fund.
“It’s not your emergency fund, because your emergency fund is there when something disastrous happens. This is when something breaks in the house and we need to replace it. It is for this ongoing maintenance piece that you have to feed constantly, ”she said.
The relatively low fees for professional house maintenance or even do-it-yourself consumables add up. $ 100 here, $ 95 there, and $ 150 next month can add up to a few thousand dollars a year.
Carlson suggested having a home maintenance fund and putting a few dollars in each month to pay for the type of maintenance suggested by Wanninger.
“If you set aside $ 200 a month and don’t have house maintenance that month, you have $ 2,400 at the end of the year and can withdraw it when things come,” he said. “You have something to get out of that won’t cut your monthly expenses or jeopardize your other savings goals.”
Assumption of maintenance costs
The key is to try to avoid a problem and that is why it is worth paying the maintenance cost.
“Look around your house for problems. Don’t wait for a problem to appear. Find it before it becomes a major problem. Examine your own property, “said Wanninger.
Although some of these tasks don’t require special training or equipment, if you are uncomfortable doing them, hire a local craftsman could be a good idea.
For more information on budgeting for home improvement, see Here’s How To Build A Home Improvement Budget Instead Of Going In More Debt.
Tiffani Sherman is a Florida-based freelance reporter with more than 25 years of experience writing on finance, health, travel, and other topics.
This article originally appeared on www.thepennyhoarder.com