The Top 13 Money-Saving Tips for 2013
It can be tempting to overlook the dead tree in the yard when you’re doing fall cleanup or to ignore the drafty window as winter comes, but these minor things could become major if not addressed. Putting money into maintenance keeps home equipment in good working order, so it lasts longer and you delay the time frame for replacing it. Consider adding these 13 money-saving maintenance tasks to your spring-cleaning list for 2013.
1. Patch cracks and leaks in your walls: Cool air gets in through these cracks in winter and warm air gets through in the summer. Spend an afternoon caulking drafts near windows and patching drywall cracks to improve insulation.
2. Clean the refrigerator condenser coils: The more dusty and dirty these coils become, the harder your fridge works to stay cool. Use a refrigerator coil brush to keep the unit in good working order.
3. Have your trees trimmed every couple of years: A tree service will remove dead limbs and shape trees to control growth. Directing trees away from the home means fewer pests and reduced risk of downed limbs.
4. Inspect your water heater: Regular maintenance keeps your water heater performing optimally. Drain the tank as part of spring cleanup to prevent sediment buildup, which can shorten the unit’s lifespan.
5. Repair leaky gate valves: These control the flow of water to your home. If gate valves leak or drip, they need replacing. The constant drip of a leaky gate valve wastes water and ups your utilities bill, and may lead to mold and mildew problems.
6. Treat mildew with a bleach solution: Don’t ignore small mildew areas when they pop up in the bathroom or other rooms. If you see large dark patches of mold, contact a mold remediation expert. This can cost you money up front, but treating the mold now will save you the cost of paying to replace drywall if you ignore this.
7. Change AC and heating filters: As filters get clogged, these systems work harder to heat and cool. Replacing old, dusty filters with fresh ones reduce heating and cooling expenses.
8. Tackle laundry lint: It’s not enough to empty the lint trap every time. Once a month, vacuum lint from the dryer hose. A clogged dryer vent is the top cause of house fires, so it’s in your best interest to do this.
9. Check for rotting wood in fences, porches and other exterior elements: Replace rotting wood before it becomes a hazard. It’s easier to replace a couple fence spindles that an entire rotted fence.
10. Check toilets for leaks: Look for leaks from the tank to boil or bowl to supply lines. Call a plumber if you find leaks, since they’re another waste of water.
11. Adjust ceiling fans: When fan blades point down in winter, warm air is pushed from the ceiling back down so the room becomes warm evenly and quickly. Using your fan in the winter shortens the time a room takes to heat, reducing home heating expenses.
12. Steam carpets seasonally: Deep cleaning keeps your carpets from wearing out, so you can delay costly rug replacement.
13. Switch faucets and showerheads to low-flow water fixtures: Spend $10 to $20 on a new faucet or showerhead to cut your water bill by 50 percent.
Spending the small amount of money on proper home maintenance of trees, windows and dozens of other things means less money down the road in one form or another. Try adding one task a month to accomplish your 2013 maintenance goals.