These days, every homeowner is looking for places to cut costs and save money. One of the best ways to do just that is to work smarter—not harder—when it comes to your home maintenance. Working “smarter” means investing in preventative maintenance to avoid major repairs, bringing in a professional for high-risk projects, and finding clever workarounds for common home issues. In this article, we’ll review how you can do all three of those things.
Preventative maintenance is worth the investment
Most experts recommend that homeowners set aside between 1-2% of their home’s total value for ongoing annual maintenance. At first glance, that might seem like a lot of money for upkeep—and it’s not even being spent on anything fun, like a new kitchen or backyard. However “boring” it might seem, preventative maintenance and home upkeep are crucial if you want to avoid major (and majorly expensive!) issues down the road.
Consider your air conditioner and furnace. It’s recommended you have an HVAC professional out to your home twice per year—once in the spring, and then again in the fall—to perform a seasonal tune-up. This preventative maintenance is actually really important: not only does a professional tune-up reduce your risk of a breakdown, but it also may preserve the manufacturer’s warranty protecting the system against premature component failure. Without that warranty, you might find yourself having to spend thousands on a new system years ahead of when you should have had to otherwise.
Caring for a home is an all-seasons job. From clearing out your gutters and downspouts in the fall to maintaining the basement sump pump in the spring, there’s no shortage of things to do to keep your home in its prime shape. However, the fruits of your labor are certainly worth it: your home will need fewer emergency repairs and retain its value better in years to come.
Do the small things yourself, but hire an expert for the big projects
For most homeowners, proper home maintenance is something best learned from experience. As you get more comfortable working in your home, you’ll be able to handle your own deck maintenance, clean out your own gutters, and patch up your own drywall. However, there are some projects that you should call in a professional for, no matter how handy you are around the house. Generally speaking, these include:
- HVAC Services: As we alluded to before, air conditioner and furnace maintenance is important. However, you’ll want to bring in a certified expert for this, as most manufacturers include an important caveat in their warranties: opening up and working on your own system generally voids it.
- Plumbing Services: Anything that involves leaks, water, or water damage is best left to a professional. With enough time, water is incredibly destructive to a home. If you have a leaking pipe, a faulty sump pump, or another major plumbing issue, you need to bring in a licensed plumber in California who knows exactly what they’re doing.
- Roofing: As you can imagine, working on a roof can be incredibly dangerous without the right training or equipment. Putting aside the risk of falling, however, it’s also easy for a non-professional to damage a roof or compromise its ability to deal with water and moisture. It’s best to call in a pro.
Make use of these life hacks
Of course, outside of high-risk, big-ticket projects, there are a lot of things you can address in your own home. To save money, we recommend making use of “lifehacks”—creative tips and tricks that allow you to solve small issues without spending too much. Here are a few examples:
- Is your toilet wasting a ton of water with every flush? Long-term, you may want to have a plumber replace your toilet with a water-efficient model. However, in the interim, you can reduce the amount of water used with every flush by placing a heavy, solid item—such as a brick—at the bottom of the tank, displacing water.
- If your in-sink garbage disposal is starting to smell, run some lemon peels through it. The acidity of citrus can help clean and sanitize the blades, leaving your sink smelling a lot nicer. Then, run some ice cubes and rock salt through the disposal to sharpen up the dull blades.
- Have your kids turned your home into an art gallery? You can remove crayon easily from walls by using a hairdryer to heat up the wax. Then, just wipe away, and the wall should look good as new!
If you’re looking for even more ways to save money through both preventative maintenance and lifehacks, check out this new infographic from the team at ABC Cooling, Heating & Plumbing in Hayward, California.