How to Prevent Costly Home Maintenance Repairs
The tried-and-true tradition of spring cleaning airing out and deep cleaning a house after a long, cold winter can totally refresh a home. By taking spring cleaning a step further to include home maintenance, homeowners can help retain the value of their home and save money by helping prevent future costly repairs and replacements.
Tackle these nine items to get your home in tip-top shape, and then relax and enjoy the idyllic flowers and warmer temperatures of spring in the Southeast.
1. Maintain your HVAC system
Sign up with a reputable heating and air conditioning company for semiannual visits, once in the spring and again in the fall, to inspect and maintain your HVAC system and to change the filters. Preventive maintenance of your HVAC system can prevent inconvenient and expensive emergency repairs.
2. Clean your gutters
Gutters need to be clear to do their job, which is to keep water away from the house. Water infiltrating the home could damage the foundation, cause mold to grow, or harm the roof if gutters fall off from holding debris. The best times to clean gutters are the spring and fall. For homes surrounded by trees, it's good practice to also clean gutters after a storm to clear out any branches, twigs, and leaves. Gutter cleaning is a job you can do yourself by getting on a ladder and clearing them out, or you can hire a handyman or gutter cleaning service to perform this job for you.
3. Have mossy roofs professionally cleaned
Having a house nestled among trees keeps you cool during blazing hot southern summers, but shady conditions can promote moss growth on your roof. If that happens, you need to remove the moss; otherwise, it can cause the roof to degrade, shortening its life. This job is best suited for a professional. Tackling this project yourself can be dangerous. Power-washing could cause water damage inside your home if the spray gets under the shingles and other aggressive cleaning could shorten the life of your shingles. A professional roof cleaner is best equipped to do the job safely and thoroughly without causing any unintended damage.
The U.S. Fire Administration estimates that 34% of the roughly 2,900 home clothes dryer fires each year are caused by failure to clean the dryer.
4. Tackle any fire hazards
Dryer vents, stovetops, and range hoods are potential fire hazards if not kept clean. Lint buildup in dryer vents combined with heat from the dryer can cause a fire. In fact, the U.S. Fire Administration estimates that 34% of the roughly 2,900 home clothes dryer fires1 that happen each year are caused by failure to clean the dryer. Grease, like lint, is also flammable, especially when it builds up on the stovetop or in a range hood. Cleaning all three places are possible do-it-yourself projects. Here are instructions for cleaning a dryer vent2 , a stovetop3 , and a range hood.4
5. Trim back bushes and shrubs
Bushes and shrubbery add beauty to a home but only if they are maintained. If not, besides being unsightly, they could damage your home. Plants that touch a home can retain moisture that can damage the siding. Branches and vines growing onto the roof can damage the shingles and possibly even the home's structure if those damaged or uplifted shingles let water into your attic. Since the cellulose of shrubby plants and trees (especially the falling twigs and branches) can attract termites, it's best to not have any close to your home lest the termites decide to turn your home into their next meal.
6. Clean forgotten parts of your fridge
Throwing out old leftovers and cleaning the refrigerator shelves are routine cleaning tasks, but your refrigerator needs a good spring cleaning as well. This is accomplished by cleaning the refrigerator coils the long tubes typically on the bottom or back of the fridge. Cleaning the coils keeps the refrigerator working at full capacity; when the coils are clogged, the fridge will not cool as well. You can use a refrigerator coil brush or vacuum cleaner for this job.
7. Make sure you have a working bathroom ventilation fan
An exhaust fan removes moisture from the bathroom. This is especially important in a windowless bathroom. Too much moisture can lead to mold and odors. It can also cause paint and wallpaper to peel. To keep the exhaust fan working optimally, clean it each spring. Turn off the fan, remove the cover, and wash it. Then, vacuum inside the fan housing.
8. Paint the home's exterior if needed
You don't need to paint your home's exterior every spring; it's typical to paint every five to 10 years, depending on climate and the quality of the prior paint job. But every spring, you should look for rot, dampness, and mold. Taking care of those problems early keeps your home's paint looking fresh for a longer time. If you notice peeling or faded paint, this might be the year to paint your home. Intense sunlight, high humidity, and beachfront homes typically need to be painted more frequently. Decks, porches, railings, window sills, and other horizontal exterior surface may need some attention between house paintings, because paint in these places starts to peel first.
9. Replace smoke alarm batteries
Every spring, replace the batteries in your smoke alarm. Although you should hear a beeping or chirping sound when the batteries need replacing, it's a good idea to replace the batteries before that happens to ensure your alarm goes off when needed. Remove the cover, replace the battery, and then test the alarm to make sure it works.
Now that you know how to spring clean your home to include maintenance, you can keep your home in great shape. If any repairs are needed, you may be able to finance your improvements with a home equity line of credit. Visit your nearest Synovus branch or call us at 1-888-SYNOVUS (1-888-796-6887). (Loans are subject to credit approval.)
Important disclosure information
This content is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.
- U.S. Fire Administration, "Clothes dryer fire safety outreach materials," accessed February 23, 2020. Back
- The Home Depot, How to Clean a Dryer Vent," accessed February 23, 2020. Back
- The Home Depot, How to Clean a Stove Top," accessed February 23, 2020. Back
- The Home Depot, How to Clean a Range Hood," accessed February 23, 2020. Back
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