The Business of Regular Home Maintenance

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Some information gathered from All in a Day

Homes and all of their related costs have become big business. There is money to be made and saved in home repair and home maintenance. You can significantly reduce the cost of home repairs by performing regular maintenance.  A number of household systems should be inspected annually, including your air conditioner, furnace and water heater.  At least once a year you should also power wash your deck and driveway, clean your gutters and do some touch-up painting.

Generally speaking, your air conditioner and furnace filters should be examined and replaced during the spring and fall seasons, if not more often.  In many cases, indoor filters will require replacement every month.  You'll also need to inspect your air conditioning and furnace vents regularly to ensure they're not full of dust or other debris.  Then, go outside and make sure the outdoor air conditioner unit is also free of leaves and other debris.  Inspect the condenser fins for damage and make sure everything is lubricated properly.  Check the tension and condition of the unit's belts and pulley, and oil any areas you can reach.  Always remember that it's very important to read the owner's manual for your unit and turn off the power before performing any of this maintenance.  If your home is in a part of the country where it snows during the winter, do this work in the fall and then cover the outdoor unit securely with a tarp or pre-made cover before the snow arrives.

Major appliances such as your washing machine, dryer, stove and refrigerator should be pulled out from the wall at least once a year so you can check for the presence of frayed wires, leaks or other visible damage as well as clean under the units.  While they're away from the wall, clean all vent openings and around all coils.  Make sure the exhaust duct for your dryer is clean, because if it's clogged your dryer will need to work harder and will require more energy to dry your clothes.  Running a special cleaning agent through your dishwasher and washing machine is recommended and can make them run more efficiently, especially if you have hard water.  These agents are specifically formulated to break down calcifications and other deposits that can build up within your appliances.

It's possible to do much of your own home maintenance, but some things are better left to the professionals.  Air conditioning service people and a plumber are two major service people to call as these jobs are difficult for the home owner. Most people find it's not only easier, but less expensive in the long run to arrange for an annual inspection program performed by a qualified, reputable appliance service technician.  Just one service call by a qualified technician could save you hundreds of dollars, because when he or she is finished you'll have a safer appliance that runs more efficiently.  The specialized tools and testing equipment utilized by qualified service repair workers enables them to perform a much more thorough inspection and detect minor problems before they can develop into something much more substantial which might not be able to be repaired.  Qualified service techs also have the knowledge and ability to inspect parts and systems you can't access.

Despite performing regular maintenance, your appliances will still break down from time to time.  This likelihood means you should consider obtaining appliance insurance if you don't already have it.  Appliance insurance is different than homeowner's insurance.  Unlike homeowner's insurance, which does not cover general repairs and only covers appliances if they're damaged as a direct result of fire or flood, appliance insurance covers repairs and replacement required by normal wear and tear as well as emergencies.