As the summer winds down and the warmer weather transitions into fall, many homeowners resolve to finish some home maintenance projects before the weather gets too cold. This is a wise decision, especially considering that severe winter weather is the third leading cause of insured catastrophic losses. (The other leading causes, tornadoes and hurricanes, can also happen during this time of year.)
Homeowners can literally save themselves upwards of tens of thousands of dollars by spending a small amount of time and money toward proactive home maintenance. Projects such as replacing air filters or preventing frozen pipes can save you money on costly home repairs. Meanwhile, ensuring you have a working smoke detector can literally be a lifesaver.
Although it’s great having full control over your own home, it does mean you’ll have to put in a little extra work and responsibility. If you’ve got any home maintenance and/or repairs that you still need to complete this season, here are some expert tips and guidance for staying on top of these important projects.
Set a schedule. Having a set home maintenance schedule can help you remember to perform important tasks without getting overwhelmed. Ideally, your preventative schedule should include:
- Weekly tasks, such as dust removal or leaf removal
- Monthly tasks, such as removing flammable lint from the back of the dryer
- Seasonal tasks, such as replacing air filters (see below)
- Annual tasks, such as draining the hot water heater
Prevent frozen pipes. Frozen pipes are fairly simple to prevent with proper home maintenance. Unfortunately, when homeowners overlook this type of preventative maintenance, it can cause a pipe to freeze and burst. For homeowners, an average claim for a frozen pipe might cost $18,000. Even with insurance, homeowners are looking at a minimum deductible of $500 to $1,000.
You can yourself quite a bit of money by taking some simple steps to prevent your pipes from freezing in the first place. Start leaving your pipes trickling on cold winter nights to encourage water flow. Homeowners should also insulate pipes using special materials such as pipe sleeves or heat tape.
Replace air filters. As mentioned above, air filters should be replaced seasonally. Luckily, they’re incredibly easy and affordable to replace on your own. This simple step will prolong the life of your HVAC system, and can help keep allergies at bay during the colder months when the furnace is running.
Test your detectors. One of the most important safety considerations as a homeowner is making sure your carbon monoxide detector and your smoke detector are both in working condition. Deaths from fires or carbon monoxide poisoning can be avoided by testing your detectors in advance, making sure they work, and replacing the batteries with new ones.
Make time. Never procrastinate with your home maintenance. You can save money by maintaining your home on your own or, if you lack time or simply don’t trust your DIY skills, you can invest in a professional contractor. Either way, by staying on top of your home maintenance projects, you’ll hopefully avoid having to make costly repairs this fall and winter.
The end of summer can be a great reminder to finish any remaining home maintenance projects before the weather gets too cold. With help from the handy tips and expert guidance listed above, you’ll be on track to completing your end-of-summer home maintenance projects before the arrival of fall.