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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on The Penny Hoarder.
For many people, spending a lot of time at home can point to the weaknesses in their life situation. Either we need to do a bit of tweaking to bring things up to date, or we need some maintenance to keep things running smoothly.
Judging by the amount we spend on the maintenance and remodeling of houses, we have to find many shortcomings.
By the third quarter of 2021, the U.S. had spent $ 357 billion on home improvement and repairs on the way to a projected total of $ 368 billion, according to the Remodeling Futures Program of Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. The program predicts the total will grow to $ 400 billion by the end of 2022.
Are you one of those people who plan house maintenance and repair projects? If so, then you probably don’t have a large supply of cash on your household maintenance budget.
Some home maintenance and repair tips we Penny Hoarders learned in 2021 can save you pennies. We’ve put them together in this home maintenance and repair guide.
1. Don’t ignore your house’s calls for help
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Your house can’t speak, but it can text you. If it calls for help, ignoring the message can cost money later.
Don’t ignore home repairs and you’ll save in the long run. Here are eight that you can’t put off:
- Everything that has to do with water. A small wet spot can be a sign of a leak anywhere. Eventually, this leak will grow and potentially destroy floors, walls, furniture, and more. A leaking faucet, running toilet, or leaking water heater can cost more water than repair.
- Everything that has to do with electricity. Flickering lights, defective electrical outlets or switches, triggering breakers, and GFI electrical outlets that won’t reset can all indicate electrical problems that could lead to a fire.
- Pests. Rodents and bugs can do a lot of damage if left alone.
- Peel off sealant and paint. Once the protective compound or paint is gone, water will penetrate and cause damage.
- Broken or faulty HVAC. Problems with your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) could mean that you are too sweaty or too cold. But temperature fluctuations in the house can cause problems. Extra moisture can lead to mold growth and cold temperatures can freeze the pipes.
- Cracks. Small cracks are normal. There are no large or alternating cracks.
- Carbon monoxide detectors and alarms. Functioning detectors save lives. Change the batteries regularly.
- Darkening ceilings near fireplaces. Dark places or a sooty smell could mean the fireplace is not drawing properly, which allows deadly gases to enter.
2. Keep up to date with home maintenance
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Maintenance is usually cheaper than repairs, so keeping up with inspections in your home can help you avoid later bills for repairs. Finding out how much to budget for house maintenance is wise. Here are the things to be aware of:
- Avoid moisture problems. Water can be nasty when it shows up in places it shouldn’t. Regularly check your gutters, sump pump, water heaters, faucets, drains, septic tanks, and irrigation systems.
- Devices and devices maintain. Perform annual HVAC maintenance and change filters regularly. Check the connections in the laundry room and clean the dryer opening. Change the filter and clean the extractor hood in the kitchen.
- Keep it up with the outside. Keep dirt out of the house so the water can drain properly. Examine the paint and trim to make sure they look good and do their job of protecting your home. Maintain the seal around the openings. Inspect chimneys. Service the electric garage door.
Financial experts recommend saving about $ 200 a month on home maintenance. That way, you have $ 2,400 a year that hopefully can cover maintenance and potential repairs.
3. Know when to DIY and when to use a professional
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Sometimes it is necessary to consult the professionals when it comes to house maintenance or home improvement projects.
Do you really want to DIY and regret it?
If you decide to build yourself or hire a professional, ask yourself how much experience you really have. It often looks easier on TV or on a YouTube video than it really is.
Experts say you shouldn’t avoid doing home improvement using electricity (especially 220 circuits) or water unless you are experienced. It can go wrong very quickly.
4. Obtain offers for home projects
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If you need professional help with your home, getting quotes on home projects can save you a lot of money and time.
A professional handyman can do a variety of jobs such as caulking, painting, gutter cleaning, drywalling, tiling, hanging items, and installing fittings. It can be helpful to make a list of the tasks you want to get done so that you can prioritize when you’ve only hired a handyman for a few hours.
Looking for the right expert for your home project:
- Learn more about the project by watching videos. This will help you know if someone’s time estimate is off too far.
- Ask for recommendations. Neighbors, friends, and family often know good people who do a good job. Also, real estate agents can tell you who they recommend to prepare homes for sale.
- Websites and apps make it easy to research who can do what you need. Some even allow you to ask someone to bid on your project.
- Read reviews before hiring anyone.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and discuss exactly what the estimate includes and what payment terms apply. It is your home.
5. Do what you can to lower your electricity bill
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A few simple things can help you get a lower electricity bill every month.
- Seal cracks and leaks.
- Upgrade to more energy efficient devices.
- Use fans.
- Air dry the laundry as much as possible.
- Switch to LED lighting.
You can also save on other utility bills if you pay attention to your consumption habits. For example, some simple reductions in water usage could mean saving money on water bills.
6. Know what your home insurance covers
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Disasters or repairs can ruin your budget. Home insurance can help protect your property and belongings from damage and loss. It also offers liability insurance.
But it is not always easy to know what is covered and what is not. And when is a complaint worthwhile?
Not all home insurance is created equal and can vary greatly depending on where you live and the type of apartment. It’s important to understand when it can help you – and when it can’t. This article will tell you what home insurance covers.
7. Homebuyers: Don’t skip home inspections
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When you’re ready to immerse yourself in the world of home ownership or moving into a new home, don’t get so caught up in the excitement that you make a huge mistake.
Following this eight-point home inspection checklist could shake your cold water plans, but it will also prevent buyer’s remorse if you’ve fallen in love with a money pit.
Inspectors look at more than 1,000 things around the house. In general these are:
- Structural components
- Attic and insulation
- HVAC systems
- Plumbing and water
- Electrics and wiring
- Outside the house
- domestic appliances
In today’s insane real estate market, not going through the inspection could make your listing more attractive to the seller, but the average inspection cost of $ 350 could save you thousands of dollars across the board.
Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, sometimes we get compensation when you click on links in our stories.