Looking for ways to save money? Routine home maintenance saves you money. Here’s a look at some routine home maintenance that can keep cash in your pocket (like, potentially thousands in some cases). Routine home maintenance is kind of like oil changes for your car… skipping it to save a few bucks now can cost you a lot more in the long run!
Routine Home Maintenance Saves You Money
Clear Your Gutters
Debris such as leaves can accumulate in gutters over time. That’s why it’s important to clean your gutters at least twice a year (ideally in late spring and autumn).
With the average gutter replacement cost being over $700, cleaning your gutters often could hold this cost off by many years. You will need to replace your gutters eventually but the longer you can hold it off, the better.
Here are the steps involved in cleaning gutters:
- Get yourself a ladder, protective gloves, a gutter scoop, a bucket, and a second person to help out!
- In most cases setting a ladder will suffice for reaching your gutters. In this case, a second person should be there to hold the ladder from the bottom for safety reasons while you are using it. Not a fan of ladders? You can also try a gutter brush with a telescoping handle to clean the gutters with your feet on the ground.
- Gradually clear your guttering. You’ll need to go up and down the ladder a good few times and empty the bucket as you go (while on the ground – you don’t want the debris landing on your friend below!) If you have a compost bucket, you can put the leaf litter in it. Dead leaves are high in carbon, which is great for composting!
- Consider giving your guttering a wash with your garden hose. Just ensure it is not too powerful. So, test it out on the ground first and check the manufacturer’s instructions. This is because a) you don’t want to risk its power pushing you back and making you fall off the ladder and b) you’ll want to avoid damaging your gutters.
You can, of course, hire a professional for this job. This is especially true if you also want to clean the downspout which is not a DIY-friendly job.
Bleed Your Radiators
If you live in an older home with radiator heat, you should also bleed your radiators annually. This is the process of removing trapped air from your radiators. Bleeding your radiators at least once a year can prevent your energy bills from increasing due to unbled radiators and add to your central heating’s longevity, prolonging the time between now and a boiler replacement being unavoidable. You can perform this DIY home maintenance as long as you haven’t lost the radiator key. I had radiator heat for years, and I know how easy it is to lose those little keys. I recommend keeping at least two, one in the toolbox and one in the junk drawer in the kitchen. That way, you can always find one.
Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to a T for this task. However, broadly speaking, these are the steps involved:
- Turn off your heating and allow your radiators ample time to cool down! Also, be sure that your heating isn’t scheduled to turn on again while you’ll be in the middle of bleeding your radiators.
- Turn the relevant valve toward the top of your radiator with a radiator key. Gradually turn it counterclockwise. Have a cloth ready to catch excess water that comes out.
- Once you no longer hear a hissing sound (from the air escaping), retighten the valve. Be sure to retighten fast to avoid a lot of water coming out. This can be tricky, but the more you’ve done it the quicker you become.
- Move on to the next radiator and repeat the process.
- Once you’ve bled all of your radiators, it’s safe to turn your heat on again.
- Take a look at the pressure gauge and ensure it is not too low (the water pressure in your system can drop following radiator bleeding). If the pressure is below 1 bar (or the lower limit recommended by your manufacturer – generally 1 bar to 2 bars is the correct range) then take the steps laid out by the manufacturer’s instructions to repressurize or top up your boiler.
- As your radiators heat up, the heat should now be evenly spread. Do not put your hand on the radiator as it will be too hot to touch. Instead, carefully place your hand near to get a feel for how hot each area of the radiator is.
- Be sure to add this DIY task to your calendar so that you don’t forget to do it!
Regularly Change HVAC filters
Have an HVAC system rather than radiator heat? The filters that you use in your heating and cooling systems should be changed regularly. The frequency depends on how much you’re running the system. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations. Clean filters make it easier for the HVAC system to circulate the air, which helps the whole system be more efficient. Efficiency saves money.
Repair Leaking Toilet
Another issue worth addressing as soon as possible is a leaking toilet. Should you find your toilet leaking, I recommend hiring a professional plumber to come out and fix it. This will generally cost $50 to $75 per hour and can go upwards of $125 per hour plus supplies for an emergency call.
That said, ensuring it’s dealt with right away could save you many hundreds more in costs caused by water damage. Even a small toilet leak can lead to damage to flooring or a major leak elsewhere. Whatever the case, it’s imperative to fix a leaking toilet as soon as possible. This is one small issue that can lead to major headaches if left unaddressed!
Clean Your Dryer Vent
Ever notice that your clothes are taking forever to dry and then realize you forgot to clean the lint trap with the last load? That same thing happens when lint builds up in the dryer vent. You might be surprised by how many people overlook this seemingly simple task. Cleaning your dryer vent isn’t difficult, and it should be on your regular home maintenance calendar. Since your dryer is likely the second highest energy-using appliance in your house, next to your refrigerator, you want to keep it as efficient as possible. Not cleaning your dryer vent regularly can lead to it taking longer for your clothes to dry, but it can also lead to fires because dryer lint is pretty flammable.
These are just a few of the many routine home maintenance jobs that you can do to save yourself some money. It’s important to maintain your home to prevent major problems later.