Top 5 Home Maintenance Tips to Prevent the Need for Expensive Repairs

Before you buy a home, nobody tells you about all the maintenance and upkeep you’ll need to do just to keep things running smoothly. This includes keeping the lawn mowed in the spring and summer, cleaning out your gutters regularly throughout the year (especially in the fall) so you don’t have a build-up of outdoor debris that could clog them and trap moisture, and you also have to routinely check on the structural integrity of your home — does your foundation have any issues with cracks or settling, or are your basement walls bowing?


These are all likely issues/tasks that you never had to deal with when you lived with your parents or were renting a residence. Problems seemed to magically get better on their own. Unfortunately, that’s not how things work when you own a home. And when a problem pops up or a routine task needs to be completed, it’s up to you — you can’t rely on a landlord (or your parents) to tackle the issue for you.


The same could be said for other maintenance tasks around the house. We’ve put together a list of tips to help you with caring for your home. Doing so could prevent the need for untimely and expensive repairs.


Tip #1: Maintain your heating and cooling units.

Unfortunately, many homeowners think that if their furnace or air conditioner is working as expected, then they don’t have any reason to schedule a tune-up appointment. However, even when things seemingly are working just fine, there could be underlying issues that your unit is facing, and you might be waiting to find out about them the hard way — when an unexpected (and expensive) breakdown occurs.


To stay ahead of potential problems, have your heating and cooling units cleaned and inspected by a professional on an annual basis. During a maintenance appointment, a skilled and experienced technician will carefully and thoroughly clean and inspect all working components inside your unit to be sure things are operating safely and efficiently. If a potential problem is discovered, it can be taken of before a costly breakdown occurs.


Additionally, don’t forget to change your air filter monthly. The filter’s job is to trap airborne contaminants before they get pushed out through your ducts and into the air you breathe. When the filter is full of dirt and dust, it could jeopardize your family’s indoor air quality, and trigger your HVAC units to work harder than necessary to keep your home comfortable. This could lead to premature wear and tear, and potentially an expensive breakdown.


Tip #2: Be mindful of what’s going down your drains.

When you’re clearing plates after a family dinner, you might think that your garbage disposal can handle grinding up those leftover bones from chicken wings. Or maybe you think that you can put those eggshells down the sink when you’re prepping egg salad for lunch. Wrong. Putting the wrong things down your sink or garbage disposal could lead to an expensive clog.


NEVER put the following items down your drains: eggshells, bones, uncooked pasta, batter, grease/fats/oils, coffee beans, potato peels, onion skin, or nuts.


If you’ve noticed that your garbage disposal has a foul odor coming from it, one simple hack you can do is put orange peel inside of the device and turn it on. Your home will be smelling citrusy fresh in no time!


Along the same vein of not putting certain things down your drains so that you don’t get a clog, there’s also a list of items that you should never flush down your toilet.


NEVER flush the following: flushable wipes (they’re not really flushable!), diapers, cotton swabs/balls, cigarettes, medication, sanitary items, or paper towels.


Tip #3: Clean your fridge.

You might be thinking, “Clean my fridge? But I already do that whenever I bring in new groceries.” While you should be throwing out expired items to make way for new ones whenever you go to the store, you should also be keeping your refrigerator clear of any dirt, dust, and pet hair build-up as part of your routine kitchen appliance maintenance tasks.


Your fridge has condenser coils to help keep its inside nice and cool for your food. When the coils are dirty, air flow is hindered, and it could cause your unit’s compressor to work harder than it needs to. When this happens, you’ve got an expensive repair job on your hands — and a fridge full of spoiled food.


So dust or vacuum the coils on a regular basis. They are often found on the back or underside of a refrigerator. If you have trouble locating them, consult with the manufacturer’s guide that came with the appliance, or you can search online for your specific model.


Tip #4: Inspect and clean your dryer hose.

If you’re like the average homeowner, you probably do laundry more often than you’d like to admit. But clothes have to be clean, and you and your loved ones have to be presentable (at least outside the home).


With all this laundry being done in your home, have you made sure your clothes dryer’s hose is clean? It’s one of the most often overlooked areas when it comes to home maintenance, but it’s also one of the easiest to get taken care of! After you’ve done a load of laundry, always clean the lint trap. Many people are amazed by how much lint is collected after just one drying cycle.


Also, routinely disconnect the hose from the back of your dryer and use your vacuum’s attachments to clean out any build-up of lint. Failure to do so could lead to your dryer not being able to efficiently get your clothes dry after one cycle — you may need to start it again and again. This extra use could lead to premature wear and tear on the unit, and ultimately a breakdown. Not just that, but a clogged dryer hose could also lead to a deadly fire. When you use your dryer, this lint inside the hose heats up to dangerous levels and could cause a fire to develop.


Tip #5: Check your concrete surfaces.

Spring is a great time to get outside and do an inspection of your home’s concrete surfaces. This includes your driveway, sidewalk, stairs, patio, and even the pool deck (if you have one). If you live in an area that has brutal winters, you already know what kind of damage snow and ice can do to these surfaces.


Make note of any areas where you can see cracking or sinking. These are the problem spots that will need to get taken care of sooner rather than later. Failure to do so will only lead to the issue getting worse and more costly to get repaired. Not just that, but when you have uneven or cracked concrete, it poses a tripping hazard to visitors (and to your own family members).


Want more helpful homeowner tips?

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