Home maintenance is an ongoing task. Experts recommend budgeting 1 to 4 percent of your home’s overall value for yearly maintenance expenses, but why not tackle some preventative repairs now? You can save a lot of time and money on maintenance later. Here are 15 DIY repairs that can decrease maintenance over time.
1. Replace Caulk
Caulk wears out eventually, and then moisture and then moisture and rot become a problem. You’ll find caulk throughout your home, including the exterior. If you notice it’s starting to shrink, crumble, or it’s missing entirely, take a weekend to replace it. The most common areas are windows, doors, trim work, tubs, sinks, skylights, vents, gutters, and backsplashes.
2. Paint the Exterior
Not all exteriors require paint or stain, but if yours does, you’ll need to repeat the process every 7 to 10 years. Otherwise, moisture may penetrate your siding, which leads to rot, mold, mildew, and foundation problems.
3. Seal Concrete
Some people mistakenly believe that concrete surfaces don’t require maintenance. While that may be true short-term, if you don’t seal your concrete, it may cause issues later. Experts recommend sealing concrete every four or five years to prevent cracks and shifting. If your concrete already has cracks or shifting, you can repair these issues before they get worse.
4. Replace Your Filters
When did you last replace your heating and air conditioning filters? What about your vacuum filter? Many home appliances have filters that need regular cleaning or replacement. If you don’t perform these tasks every few months, the appliance may break or perform poorly. Bonus tip: Ask for reusable filters. Some HVAC systems and other appliances come standard with disposable filters, but replacement filters may be an option, too.
5. Remove Plumbing Clogs
Plumbing clogs aren’t always noticeable. In fact, you could have several clogs in your home right now. Over time, these clogs get bigger and bigger until they require extensive repair. Even if you haven’t noticed any drainage issues yet, make sure you flush your drains with cleaner every now and then so they stay clear and functional.
6. Insulate Your Attic
Attic insulation is fairly easy to install, and it can save a lot of money on heating costs. Check your insulation to see if it’s at least R-30. You can use this chart to measure the thickness. If you don’t have enough, you can DIY the job by laying or blowing additional insulation on top of your existing insulation.
7. Fix Any Leaks
That drippy faucet may be more than just a nuisance. Ongoing water leaks may cause moisture issues, leading to mold and mildew buildup. Over time, they could even cause structural damage. If you notice any leaks, repair them quickly to prevent costly repairs later.
8. Flush Your Water Heater
You should also flush your water heater every six months. This task is much easier than it sounds. The process differs a little depending on the type of water heater you have (electric or gas) and the model. Check your user’s guide for details.
9. Clean Out Gutters and Add Gutter Guards
Gutters can get dirty quickly, which may lead to much bigger problems later. Ice dams, water leaks, and insect problems are all common concerns that result from dirty gutters. You can add a leaf guard for gutters to keep your gutters clean and free of debris.
10. Install a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats are much more efficient than manual thermostats. This simple DIY task can save you lots of money each year on energy bills.
11. Fix Running Toilets
Does your toilet continue running after it’s finished flushing? That’s a simple fix that can save you money down the road. This problem is usually due to a leaky toilet flapper or a problem with the toilet’s ball valve. Both repairs are quick, easy, and cost just a few dollars in parts.
12. Repair Railings
Wobbly stair and deck railings are a recipe for disaster. Please don’t put off these repairs. You can easily tighten the railing with just a screw or two. Make sure the screw is anchored well to prevent accidents later.
13. Reset Your Breakers
Have you reset your breakers recently? Probably not, but it’s easy to do. Just locate your breaker box, and flip each breaker individually. This prevents corrosion on the contacts. Note that your breakers control the flow of electricity, so you’ll lose power to certain rooms and appliances when you flip each one. It’s usually safe to DIY this task as long as you follow basic safety rules. Make sure you leave other electrical tasks to the experts, though.
14. Stain Your Deck
Decks need proper staining and sealing to maintain the integrity of the wood. If you don’t perform this task every few years, your wood may rot. Thankfully, it’s not a difficult task. Just apply the new stain, let it dry, and then apply sealant.
15. Clean Out Your Dryer Lint
Of course, you should clean out your lint trap each time you use your dryer, but you’re also supposed to clean the dryer vent, too. Perform this task at least twice a year to prevent fires and keep your dryer working at peak performance.
There’s a lot to maintain in the average home, but these simple DIY repair jobs can keep your tasks at a minimum. Why not take some time this weekend to knock a few projects off your list?