For most people, buying a home is the largest investment they ever make. But even with the home being your most valuable asset, it’s all too common (especially with first-home owners) for simple home maintenance jobs to be neglected and costing you big time.
To some degree, it’s understandable. Some issues are difficult to see, home maintenance can take time and if you don’t really know what to look for, it can seem easier to just push the idea out of your mind entirely. But saving in the long term isn’t just for structural maintenance of your house, most people blindly buy a new fridge or washing machine every few years however most appliances can have their life significantly extended by regular checks and care.
In this post, we are going to look at 10 home maintenance tasks that can cost you to forget or neglect.
When the coils on a refrigerator get dirty, it inhibits the heat transfer that makes cooling possible. This forces the compressor to work harder to keep the interior cool, and will shorten the life of your refrigerator as well as rack up electricity costs.
The cleaning schedule for refrigerator coils is about once every 6-12 months. Depending on the unit, the coils will be mounted either on the back or under the refrigerator. To clean them you can start by using the crevice tool on your vacuum. To be safe in cleaning your fridge be sure to turn the power off. Once you have sucked up most of the dust and grime, you can then use a duster or a refrigerator coil brush to finish cleaning the coils.
Many windows have weep holes on the bottom of the exterior side of the frame. The purpose of these holes is to allow water that may accumulate in the frame to drain out to the exterior of the home. If they get clogged, the water cannot drain. This can cause the water to leak into the home. In some cases, the accumulation of water can also cause damage to the frame and surrounding materials, causing structural damage and gaps that allowing hot air in summer or cold air in winter to enter and build up in your home.
We recommend you check the weep holes once a year. If you see that they are clogged, you can use something like a screwdriver to gently clean them out. If you are unsure, you can test the weep holes by pouring a small amount of water into the frame. If the water drains out of the holes, it means you are ok.
It’s easy to forget about the sump pump in your home. Most people just expect it to turn on and be ready for any water that may build up in the basement or crawlspace. While a sump pump is designed to engage automatically when the water rises to a certain level, it is not something you can just forget about.
It is a good idea to test your sump pump at least once a year. That way, you can make sure it is working properly, and this can help you to avoid significant water damage. To test your sump pump, just pour some water into the pit. When the float rises, the pump should engage. If it doesn’t, that means you need to troubleshoot the unit. It might just need to be plugged in, or it could be a tripped breaker. You may also want to look at the float to make sure it isn’t snagged or stuck.
Most people just accept that their garage door is noisy. But all of that noise can be a sign that your garage door is poorly maintained. Without proper lubrication, the parts of your garage door or even the motor could give out early, and this will cost severely you in repairs. Not to mention your car could get stuck inside at the worst possible time. Once it’s happened, hindsight is 20/20 so don’t wait until it’s too late.
It is a good idea to lubricate the torsion springs, rollers and the hinges once a year. You just want to give them a light spraying with garage door lubricant or your trusty WD-40; enough to get the parts moving better, but not so much that it is dripping off.
As long as you are getting enough water to take care of your needs, you’re unlikely to think about the water pressure in your home. However, both low and high water pressure can lead to long term problems. Low water pressure is a much more common complaint and is often a result of debris or rust building up in the pipes or even cracked or damaged pipes. High water pressure however can damage fixtures and cause leaks, and the deeper the damage to the pipes the deeper the damage to your wallet.
Water pressure gauges are inexpensive and they are easy to use. You should be able to find one at your local hardware store. You just want to close all of the sinks and other fixtures and screw the gauge to the hose bib that is closest to the meter. If the pressure is too high, it is probably a sign that you have a faulty pressure regulator.
Clogged dryer vents will make your dryer work harder, and this will increase the cost of drying clothes while also putting more wear and tear on the unit. In addition to that, a clogged dryer vent can also be a fire hazard. If you notice longer drying times or strong odours when you use the machine, these can be signs that you need to clean the vents.
To keep your dryer in good working order, avoid clothing odours or damage, and protect against the potential for a fire, an annual cleaning of the dryer vent is a good idea. To get the vents clean, you will need to disconnect the vent from the back of the machine. Once you have the vent disconnected, there are specialised dryer vent brushes that you can use to clean out the excess lint and are inexpensive to buy.
Mice and other small animals may try to ride out the winter by getting into your outdoor equipment or vehicles. When they are in there, they can chew through wires and hoses, and they can clog different parts of the system. If you have a tractor mower, a boat or any other piece of equipment that stays outdoors and goes unused for a few months a year, it is a good idea to perform a quick inspection before starting the piece of equipment up for the first time each year.
The longer you leave a pest inspection the bigger the infestation will grow and the more expensive it will be to get rid of. Also be sure to check out our full guide on how to identify termites.
Your water heater needs to be drained once in a while. This is true for both electric and gas water heaters. Over time, sediment builds up in the water heater, and if it is not drained, it will just settle to the bottom. This can cause the water heater to malfunction or possibly fail, taking years off what should be a long lasting unit.
You should drain your water heater about once a year. When you do so, you want to make sure to turn the water supply off and disconnect the power. You should also give the water some time to cool down before you start draining.
When a garage door is properly balanced, it will be safer and less likely to injure someone, and it will reduce the stress on the door opener. Checking the balance on a garage door is easy. Just disconnect the door opener and then open the door to about halfway and let go. If the door closes, it means there is not enough tension in the springs. If the door rises, it means that the tension needs to be reduced. Unfortunately, adjusting the tension on a garage door can be difficult and possibly dangerous. This is one task where it is better to call in a professional.
If you have windows at or below the level of the grade, there is a good chance that these windows are surrounded by window wells. Window wells serve a few different functions. First, they make it so light and air can reach the windows. Additionally, they are designed to drain water away from the window to prevent flooding.
If you allow leaves and other types of debris to accumulate in your window wells, it can obstruct drainage and this can allow water to leak in through the windows. In some cases, the water can even fill the window well, and the pressure could break the glass. You want to clean your window wells out regularly. If you have recurring problems with the window wells backing up, you may want to consider installing bubble covers to prevent debris from getting in the window wells.
And there you have it! Do you have any regular tasks you do that you find save money in the long run? Let us know in the comments below.