If you own a home, your castle may also be your heftiest investment. You owe it to yourself to protect it.
How can you keep your home safe while saving cash on unexpected repairs? The following nine tips will help homeowners save money by promoting routine maintenance that helps extend your property’s life.
1. Perform Routine Inspections
Some homeowners pay for a professional inspection each year, and doing so can increase peace-of-mind. However, you can also learn how to DIY and inspect your home independently. Check the following areas:
- Test electrical, HVAC and plumbing systems: Is everything functioning as expected? Does your HVAC heat or cool less efficiently? Are there signs of leaks under cabinets? Do you see frayed wires?
- Walk your exterior: Are there any cracks in driveways and walkways? What about your foundation? If you have a septic tank, are there signs of leakage?
- Check basements and attics: How is your insulation — are you bleeding heat and cooling? Do you see any signs of mold or rodent droppings? Does standing water indicate a leaky foundation or roof issue?
- Keep a list of interior needs: Do you have loose tile in the kitchen? Is your bathroom medicine cabinet listing to port? Many interior jobs require only nominal skills to fix.
2. Follow the 1% Rule
Owning a home can get costly. Even if you carry a warranty, you still owe a deductible. Plus, your policy may not cover everything.
Plan on spending between 1% and 4% of your home’s value each year for maintenance. Please sock this money away in your emergency fund so that you have it on hand when things do break. You don’t want to let minor repairs snowball into costlier problems.
3. Change Your Air Filter
Failing to change your filter regularly doesn’t only affect your indoor air quality. It can also allow particulates to clog up the works, resulting in costly repair needs.
You should change your air filter every 60 to 90 days, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). However, if you have pets or smokers in the home, you might want to do so monthly, especially if you use less expensive fiberglass models.
4. Consider a Bidet
It doesn’t matter if you have a septic system or sewer — flushing anything except toilet paper can result in costly plumbing problems. However, what if you could eliminate the need to wipe altogether?
You don’t have to neglect hygiene — take a cue from other countries and install a bidet. You don’t even need to replace your throne. You can find easy-to-install attachments that work with your current toilet. The next time there’s a run on this essential paper at stores, you’ll kick back, worry-free.
5. Caulk and Weatherstrip
Do you catch a chill when you sit by your bay window? It’s time to whip out the caulk gun if so.
Likewise, tons of heat and AC can leak out through your doors. Install weather stripping to block any loss through the cracks. This method also decreases insect pests — you’ll save money on exterminators and utility bills both.
6. Swap Out Your Lightbulbs
Are you still using incandescent bulbs? If so, you could spend $150 more per year on total electricity costs per lamp. Instead, switch to LED lights. They emit a softer glow and save you a small fortune.
Additionally, this replacement helps you do your part to reduce climate change impacts. Plus, they last considerably longer, meaning fewer trips to the store — further reducing your carbon footprint.
7. Replace Your Carpet With Tile or Hardwood
Professional carpet cleaning can cost hundreds of dollars, and if you have kids or pets, you may need treatment more than once a year. Why not replace your flooring with a more forgiving surface?
Both hardwood and tile stand the test of time — they could last generations once installed. You can clean them with a simple solution of borax, castile soap and water, minimizing maintenance costs.
8. Upgrade Your Appliances
The Energy Star Certification Program began back in 1992, and since then, manufacturers and engineers consider this rating when designing goods. You might save a fortune in utility bills by upgrading.
Plus, newer appliances add to the resale value of your home. If you are thinking of selling soon, keep in mind that many buyers seek these amenities when making their purchase decision.
9. Tend to Your Landscaping
A wayward branch crashing through your roof during a storm can do significant — and costly — damage. It pays to maintain your landscaping by keeping all trees and overhanging shrubs trimmed back far enough away to prevent structural damage. This upkeep also decreases wildfire risk.
Furthermore, keep your shrubbery trimmed in front of windows and doorways. Miscreants often seek out cover to break-in — why roll out the welcome mat? Prickly varieties, like rosebushes, further deter would-be thieves.
Save Money as a Homeowner With These 9 Tips
As a homeowner, you probably live in your most substantial investment. Take care of it and save money with the nine tips above.