Buying a home is the biggest purchase you’ll ever make. Maintaining it regularly can prevent complicated and costly repairs down the road. At Affirm Financial, we understand that saving money wherever and whenever you can, can sometime make the biggest differences. Here are eight simple and inexpensive maintenance tips that will help you maximize your home’s value and save you money without sacrificing comfort.
1. Seal doors and windows
Weather stripping - Lower your heating and electrical bill by applying weather stripping to the moveable parts of doors and windows. Be sure to replace every spring and fall before you turn on your air conditioner or furnace. This video shows you how.
Caulking – If you live in an older home, consider caulking the outer frames of your windows and doors. The best way to check for poorly insulated windows and doors is to run your hand over their outer edges. If you feel a draft, seal it. You can also purchase a clear, plastic shrink film to cover certain windows.
2. Change your air filter regularly
A dirty air filter reduces airflow through your home, forcing your furnace to work harder to maintain a desired temperature. Over time this takes a heavy toll on your furnace, which will cost thousands of dollars to replace. Change your air filter once every three months. Not sure how? Check out this video.
3. Reverse your ceiling fans in the winter
Most people ignore their ceiling fans until the warm weather hits. However, by simply reversing the direction of the blades your fan will redistribute warm air from the ceiling to the rest of the room. This will keep your home warmer for longer and make your furnace work less, saving you cash. If you don’t have ceiling fans, consider purchasing them – they are a low-energy way to keep air flowing in your home.
4. Learn to program your thermostat
Set your thermostat so that it raises the temperature when you and your family are at home, but cools things down when you’re away. This will save your furnace from having to keep the house warm when no one is around. Alternatively, do the opposite during the warm summer months to best optimize your air conditioning. Most thermostats allow you to program for weekdays and weekends, and also include a manual override function. Also, don’t forget to cool things down when you’re sleeping.
5. Insulate your pipes and turn off your outdoor taps
Insulating hot water pipes will ensure that hot water doesn’t lose its temperature as it travels your home. In some cases, you should also consider insulating cold water pipes to prevent pipe bursts during winter. Bursts can be very expensive, especially if it results in flooding. Lastly, you should also turn off the valve to your outdoor taps during the winter months to prevent water from freezing inside of your pipes – just be sure to open the valve outside to let water out.
6. Clean your roof and eavestrough
Remove debris off your roof to prevent moisture from building up. Moisture can weaken roofing material, resulting in more money out of your pocket. Look out for any loose shingles and repair where necessary. While you’re at it, clean out your eavestrough. A clogged eavestrough prevents water from flowing properly. This will force water to collect where it shouldn’t, resulting in very expensive roof and foundation damage.
7. Seal cracks in your ducts
Improve the efficiency of your HVAC system by sealing cracks in your ducts. An inexpensive foil tape (not duct tape) will allow you to quickly and easily patch up the problem, resulting in less stress on your furnace or air conditioner. You may also want to consider covering vent registers in unused rooms.
8. Fix leaky faucets and running toilets
Go through your home once per year to check for leaky faucets and running toilets. If you do have a leaky faucet fix it before the dripping becomes a stream. Otherwise, it’s money down the drain. A running toilet can also be an expensive – and annoying – problem. Here’s a video that shows you how to get your toilet flushing properly again.
To make life easier, create a home maintenance checklist you can refer to monthly, quarterly or annually depending on the task. For more helpful tips, check out the ultimate home maintenance guide. It offers a great breakdown on how to plan and budget for your maintenance.