Nikki Waller, Director of Financial & Relational Development
When I purchased my 1950’s home, I was on an independent-woman rampage, and I was determined to do every repair on my own. I learned a lot about how to maintain a home. I learned a lot about how to save money with some low-key routine maintenance. Some of these I wish I knew before it became an expensive problem. But, they were lessons along the way, and now I’m sharing them with you.
- Caulk. Caulk is actually my number one tool in my home repair toolbox. I probably use it too often, but it can be very useful in keeping water from going where it shouldn’t go. Replacing crumbling caulk around the exterior of your home can save thousands in deteriorating wood replacement and will cost less than $50 (depending on the amount of caulk you need, of course).
- Seal the shower. After you caulk the windows, be sure to seal around your showers (see, I told you I probably use it too often). Not sealing around your showers can eventually lead to rotting floor boards and a lot of money in repairs.
- Flush the hot water heater. Every hot water heater owner’s manual comes with instructions for flushing hot water deposits from a hot water heater. It can save you thousands of dollars in replacement costs. This only needs to be done about once per year.
- While we’re on the topic of owner’s manuals, every piece of equipment you buy for your home that comes with an owner’s manual has a “Routine Maintenance” section. It's always wise to read this section of the owner’s manual. It’s like getting the cheat codes to every game and it takes less than five minutes to read.
- Flip the breakers. This FREE habit can increase the life of your breakers immensely and only needs to be done once every three to four months.
- Keep liquid drain cleaner on-hand. Once every couple of months, pour liquid drain cleaner down drain lines. This can save hundreds in plumber repairs and unpleasant smells. In older homes, with more serious clogs, removing and unclogging the drains under your kitchen and bathroom sink to remove years of build up is probably easier than you think. There are videos like the one here that can help you avoid the cost of a plumber. That’s not to say the cost of a professional won’t actually save you money in the long run; sometimes a plumber is less expensive because they’re more likely to do it right the first time.
- Change the furnace filter. Even in the summer months, keep this filter fresh. This can save you in monthly bills and keep your furnace from having to work so hard.
- Clean your air conditioner. Especially in the spring time, before you turn it on for the warmer months. If you have pets around a central unit, you may want to do this more often. There are videos that show how to clean a central unit and a window unit.
Over the years I’ve owned my home, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve had to cut roots out of my own drains, re-wire my own lights, pay a certified electrician to come in and re-wire what I re-wired, and I’ve learned where I can save money and where it’s important to spend money. What’s most important is to know what you are capable of and what you need help in completing. And, most of all, it’s important to take pride in your surroundings. Because your home is your largest investment, and one day someone will hopefully want to pay you for it.