Home maintenance can be time consuming and expensive and, as a result, may be one aspect of homeownership you tend to avoid. But there are some easy and cheap DIY tasks that can actually save you money and time in the long run. By spending a weekend performing some simple maintenance tasks around the house, you could reduce your bills or avoid costly contractor fees in the future.
1. Fixing Leaks
Leaks don’t seem like they should cost that much. After all, it’s only a few drops of water at a time. But according to the Environmental Protection Agency, an average household’s leaks can annually waste more than 10,000 gallons of water and artificially inflate a water bill by 10%.
Fixing leaky faucets and toilets can cut back on the wasted water. It’s environmentally friendly and it saves you money. Win-win.
2. Cleaning Gutters
Your gutters are an important home protection system. When it rains, gutters carry water off and away from your home. If your gutters and downspouts are clogged, water builds up on your roof and collects around the foundation of your home. Over time, this can lead to leaky roofs, sagging gutters or even flooded basements. At this point repairs become expensive.
You can prevent this damage by cleaning your gutters of leaves and other debris at least once a year (more frequently if you have overhanging trees). All you’ll need is a few simple tools which may include a ladder, gloves and a hose. It could also pay off to check gutters after strong storms.
3. Replacing HVAC Filters
Your HVAC system circulates air throughout your home and regulates the internal temperature. Unless you live in a moderate climate, your HVAC system most likely uses more energy than any other home system or appliance.
HVAC systems use air filters or screens to prevent larger dust particles from clogging up the works. When these filters become dirty, air flow is reduced and the system has to work harder. Luckily, these air filters are fairly cheap and easy to swap out. You’ll want to switch them out every few months (more frequently if you have pets or a large family).
4. Maintaining Smoke Detectors
Early detection of smoke or a fire could save your life. It could also save your home and your property — for instance, if something starts smoking in the oven, you have a shot of preventing a major fire before it even occurs.
Don’t wait for the telltale “beep” to service your smoke detectors when they’re low on battery life. Instead, check your smoke detectors regularly, ensuring they work properly, and replace batteries or the unit itself when needed.
5. Programming Your Thermostat
When you set and forget your thermostat for long periods of time, your home could be working hard to heat or cool itself while no one is there. When you’re asleep or away from home, you can save money on energy costs by reducing your HVAC system’s workload.
It’s difficult to remember to manually set your temperature before you leave the house. Programmable thermostats can be set around your schedule, and reduce the amount of wasted energy spent cooling or heating an empty house.
As you take steps to repair things around your home, make sure you’re doing so in a way that keeps you on budget, as it isn’t worth going into debt over. You can see how doing DIY projects are impacting your financial goals, like maintaining a good credit score, every 30 days for free on Credit.com.