How to Maintain Your House (to Save Money)
A lot of repairs can be avoided if you carry out routine maintenance on the house and prevent issues before they happen. Follow this home maintenance checklist to avoid any big problems.
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Argh. Home maintenance. Everyone’s favorite thing, next to doing your taxes and getting a root canal.
There are so many reasons why owning your own home is better than renting.
It’s your own space and you can decorate it however you like, and the money that you pay out every month is getting you closer to owning the house, rather than disappearing into somebody else’s bank account.
But there is one big downside to owning a home: it’s up to you to maintain it properly.
When you rent, the landlord is responsible for any repairs and renovations that need to be done, but now that you own your own home, you have to deal with all of that. Home repairs are expensive and when you are trying to budget for a family, you don’t always have the money to spare.
That means that when things go wrong, you could easily end up in financial trouble.
Sometimes, you just can’t avoid it and you will need to do work on the house. That’s why it’s important that you have a bit of money set aside to cover the costs. But a lot of repairs can be avoided if you carry out routine maintenance on the house and prevent issues before they happen.
If you follow this home maintenance checklist, you can avoid any big problems and save a lot of money on home repairs.
#1: Regularly Check For Roof Damage
Roof damage can cause you some serious problems because, once water starts leaking into your house, it will run down the walls and damp will set in. When that happens, mold will start to grow on the walls and that can be incredibly bad for your health (both physical and financial).
Once you have a mold problem, it’s very difficult to deal with and you will have to pay a lot of money to sort that out after you have paid to fix the roof, so the cost will quickly spiral out of control.
The thing is, giant holes don’t appear in the roof overnight, they happen gradually.
Initially, you will just get a few cracked or loose tiles, especially after a lot of bad weather. If you fix them right away, it won’t cost you that much money and it’s fairly simple to do. But if you leave that damage, it will get worse and worse until you have a big hole in the roof and rain starts pouring in.
Maintaining the roof properly is one of the best ways to weatherproof your house, so you need to get up there at least once a year, preferably before the winter comes, and fix any broken tiles. Holes in the roof will also make it a lot harder to keep the house warm because you lose a lot of heat through the roof, so even small gaps can push your energy bills up by quite a bit.
You should also check the insulation in the roof cavity when you check for any damage. Your house loses a lot of heat through the roof, so it’s important that it is properly insulated. But the insulation can degrade over time and it needs to be replaced every so often. If the insulation isn’t up to scratch, you will spend a lot more money on heating costs. It’s cheap and easy to replace, but it will save you a lot of money during the winter months.
#2: Clean The Gutters
Cleaning the gutters isn’t a very glamorous job, but it’s so important. If the gutters fill up with leaves and dirt, the water will not drain away properly.
Instead, it will sit in there for months on end, slowly soaking into the walls and causing a problem with damp. If you leave the gutters for a long time without cleaning them out, it will be a big job and it will take you a long time. But if you are doing it on a regular basis, you can keep on top of it and it will be quick and easy to do.
#3: Check Exterior Paintwork
The paintwork on the outside of the house isn’t just there for aesthetic reasons, it also adds a layer of protection against the weather.
If you haven’t painted for a while, the house will start to look scruffy, but you are also more likely to have problems with damp coming through the wall. If it is starting to flake away, you should consider painting it again. Before you do, scrub away any loose paint and see what the brickwork underneath looks like. If there are lots of gaps, it may need repointing. Once the brickwork is in good condition, you can apply another coat of paint. It’s important that you do this when the weather is good so the paint has time to dry properly and the house is ready for the bad weather in winter.
Make sure that you use good quality paint because it will last longer and it will give the house more protection.
#4: Check The Plumbing
Checking your pipes is important because if you make small repairs now, you will save yourself a lot of money further down the line.
Over time, your pipes will start to degrade and develop small cracks. You might get a bit of leakage and it can cause a few damp spots on the wall. But it’s easily fixed if you catch it early. However, if you leave it for too long, those small cracks will eventually get bigger and the pipe will burst. When that happens, you will need to call out a 24 hr emergency plumber to fix it right away. But even then, you will already have a lot of water damage to the house that needs to be sorted. You should watch out for any damp spots in the wall, and call out a plumber to inspect your pipes on a regular basis. Spending a small amount of money now will save you a lot of money later on because you can avoid burst pipes.
As well as the pipes, you should have a plumber check the boiler and heating systems. If the boiler isn’t working efficiently, it will take a lot longer to heat the house up and that means you are spending a lot more money on heating bills each month. A poorly maintained boiler is also more likely to break down, which means that you will have to replace it and that’s going to be very expensive. But if you have it serviced, you can fix any small issues and make sure that it is working properly.
Make sure to do this before the winter sets in because you haven’t been using it over the summer, so there may be problems that you are not aware of. You should also bleed the radiators before you start using them regularly again. If there is excess water sitting in them, they will not heat up as much and you will waste money on heating costs.
#5: Cut Trees And Bushes Back
This is one that a lot of people forget about but having large trees and bushes near the house can be a danger. When the weather gets bad and the winds pick up, there is a chance that branches can break away and hit the house, causing a lot of expensive damage. Unless you want to be replacing windows or fixing your car because a huge branch has fallen on top of it, you should cut back any branches that come too close to the house. It’s also a good way to let more natural light into the home, so you will save a bit of money on electrical costs as well.
Trees and bushes can also offer a hiding place for potential burglars and if there is a lot of cover, it makes it easier for people to approach the house. If you want to keep your house secure, it’s best to cut back bushes and remove some of that cover.
#6: Clean Out Kitchen Appliances
Replacing your kitchen appliances is very expensive, so you need to make them last as long as possible.
However, a lot of people end up replacing them more often than they need to because they don’t do any maintenance on them. Your dishwasher, for example, will get clogged up with bits of food over time and that can cause it to break eventually. But it’s so simple to take out the filter and clean it every now and again, and you can avoid that. It will also make it clean more efficiently, but a lot of people just don’t bother to do it. Your washing machine can also get a buildup of limescale over time, especially if you live in an area that has hard water. But you can deal with that if you run washing machine cleaner through it every now and again, and take out the drawers to clean them out. These quick maintenance tasks will make your appliances last a lot longer, so you don’t need to spend money on replacing them as often.
If you carry out these regular maintenance tasks every year, you will save a lot of money on home repairs in the future.
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The Stay Sane Mom Staff
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