There are many things we can do ourselves to prolong the life and quality of our homes while avoiding costly repairs. These five tips include preventative measures that you can do yourself that will reduce the need to call for professional renovation help which is expensive.
Keeping the coils of your air conditioning unit clean and straight helps the unit run more efficiently and can even make it last years longer. On most models of residential A/C units, the coils are visible from the outside. There are “coil cleaners” that are a canned foam, available at any home improvement store. After you use the foam as directed, rinse carefully.
Never use high pressure water as that can bend your coils. You can straighten bent coils using a radiator comb, found at any auto parts store. Doing this regularly will extend the life and improve the performance of your A/C units.
One of the most expensive plumbing issues to fix is when you have problems with your septic tank. Since a new septic tank can cost anywhere from $3,000-$10,000 it is wise to take daily precautions in caring for your system.
According to Imagine Plumbing, easy way to prolong the life of your septic tank is to limit what goes down the drain to human waste and toilet paper only. No grease or oil, ever, should go down the kitchen drain. Even coffee grounds can clog a septic system, so those should go in the trash can. If you have a garbage disposal, your septic system is even more at risk.
The average homeowner should have their systems checked once every 3-5 years. This, in addition to good habits on your part, can avoid more costly repairs in the future.
3. Washers and Dryers
Washing machines and dryers take a lot of abuse, especially if you have a large family with a lot of laundry. Keeping filters and drains clear for your machines not only avoids calling a professional repairman, it can also be as a safety measure. A lint clogged dryer vent can easily cause a house fire if not cleaned and maintained properly.
In addition to cleaning, it is also important to keep the dryer ventilation hose as straight as possible. If it gets squished or kinked behind the dryer, air flow can be impeded, thus increasing the chances of the appliance overheating and being damaged, or worse, causing a fire.
4. Chimney Cleaning
If you have a fireplace, it is vital that your chimney be as clean as possible. This is especially important if you burn real wood (as opposed to the man-made fire logs made of compressed particles). Real wood leaves more soot and highly flammable waste called creosote which can be carried by air current to the roof, causing roof fires.
Burning fully dried wood vs. green wood, and using a spray cleaner such as Anti-Creo-Soot on a regular basis can reduce the dangerous buildup from forming. Creosote does not build up if your fireplace is run by natural gas.
5. Foundation Care
Keeping the ground around the foundation of your house watered is vitally important. Neglecting to water your foundation can cause it to crack, costing thousands of dollars in foundation repairs.
Placing a soaker hose up against the house and running it for an hour or so 3-4 times per week will work if you don’t already have an in-ground irrigation system. Planting shrubbery around the outside of your house and keeping it mulched and watered regularly is the best way to ensure the ground underneath the foundation does not dry out and crack.