Home Maintenance Tips
Few things are as disrupting to a budget as unscheduled repairs to your home. Yet having a plumber, electrician, carpenter, or other professional contractor to keep things in tip-top shape can be expensive too.
The solution is to conduct regular inspections of your house and learn how to do the routine things yourself. This not only saves on the cost of paying someone else to do them, but it also eliminates many of the major repairs by taking care of the minor ones that can cause them.
Here are some things you can do:
Your Washer & Dryer
Water supply hoses can leak and cause damage to surrounding floors and walls. Inspect them regularly and replace plastic ones every three years or so. If the metal ends of the lines get corroded, replace them immediately. The drain hoses also need to be inspected and replaced when they begin to deteriorate. Cleaning the lint filter in your dryer not only reduces the risk of fire but helps lengthen the life of the heating element in electric dryers.
Federal regulations have made replacing water heaters frightfully expensive. To prolong its life and to minimize the possibility of leaks, it’s important to drain it at least annually. Sediment can collect on the bottom and reduce the efficiency of the water heater, or it could lead to leaks. Connect a garden hose, turn off the power, and drain it into a sump pit or outdoors until the water coming out is clear.
Never pour oils or fats down your drain. If some accidentally go down, pour hot water and dishwashing liquid down to break it up and flush them out of the system so they won’t cause a clog. Put strainers over your bathroom drains to prevent hair from going down. Also, skip the commercial chemicals that are supposed to open clogged drains. They can damage the plumbing and rarely work. If you can’t clear your clog using a plumber’s snake, it’s best to call a professional.
Do you want to know if your toilet is leaking? Put a little food coloring in the tank and check the bowl in about an hour. If the color has made its way there, you have a leak. Changing the flapper is quite easy and inexpensive, and stopping that leak will reduce your water usage and prolong the toilet’s internal workings.
Central air conditioners require unobstructed air flow to work efficiently. Regularly inspect yours to make sure no debris has accumulated on or around it, and remove it if it has. That keeps it from using extra power and working too hard to provide the cooling you need. Also, make sure its drain tube is unobstructed and can flow freely.
Yes, we know cleaning gutters is one of the worst chores around the house. But we also know clogged gutters cause a lot of damage. Make sure to clean them at least once a year, and to clean the channels by running water in them with a garden hose. Avoid gutter guards. They don’t keep all the debris out and make cleaning quite difficult.
A little effort and a few dollars now can save a lot of effort and many dollars later.