It might seem slightly counterintuitive, but sometimes you have to spend money to save money. When it comes to home repairs, there are some simple and inexpensive home maintenance items that when done with diligence could save you thousands of dollars down the line. A dripping faucet may seem like an annoying sound you can learn to ignore, but that steady drip could turn into much more than a simple nuisance if it’s indicative of a bigger problem with your home’s plumbing system. Even if it’s just a little drip, this handy little drip calculator will show you just how much that trickle is costing you in wasted water.
USNews and World Report offers up a list of some cheap and easy home fixes that could keep you from plunking down thousands of dollars in the future:
1. Install insulation. You can spend a few hundred dollars and a weekend doing this job yourself or pay hundreds of extra dollars in heating and cooling bills over the course of a year, year after year, because your home is not adequately insulated. A lack of proper insulation means winter nights that are colder than they have to be, and sweltering summer days indoors as your air conditioner struggles to keep the heat at bay. The amount of money you could be saving only increases with every energy price hike.
2. Update your irrigation system (or install one if you don’t already have one in place). The best time to water your grass, plants, flowers, and vegetable garden is during the cool of the evening or the early morning hours before the sun comes up. The ground and your plants will still be warm and thirsty, but with cooler air there will be less evaporation, meaning you’ll need less water than you would during a mid-day watering session. Installing a simple timer means you won’t forget to break out the garden hose and take advantage of these savings on your water bill. Changing to a low flow irrigation system will also help maximize your water usage.
3. Replace moist or moldy drywall. If you suspect a leak, notice a water stain, or your drywall is moist to the touch, removing the damp drywall can help you literally uncover the source of the problem. Replacing drywall is an easy task but be sure to have a professional plumber inspect and correct the problem before covering it up again and delaying the inevitable.
4. Inspect and detect water leaks. Not only should you have a professional plumber investigate any potential problem areas, it’s a good idea to have an inspection every three to five years just to keep potential problems from developing into disasters. The trained eye of a professional now could save you thousands in water damage repair later.
5. Check out your wooden window sills. If you have wood windows and/or window sills, as lots of older homes do, it’s a good idea to check them for cracks in the paint and potential rotting every season. Rainwater, ice and snow can wreak havoc on wooden windows, causing the sills to break down. For less than $10 you can purchase window caulking that will seal and protect your windows from the elements and save you the pricey chore of replacing rotted windows and window sills.
6. Break out the leaf blower. When you haul out the leaf blower this autumn, it can do more than just round up fallen leaves; use it to clear dirt and debris that has built up on your exterior A/C unit before you cover it for the winter. This home improvement is essentially free if you already own a leaf blower and could save you up to 15% on your cooling bill next summer. Change out your interior air filters at the same time and reduce your home’s energy usage, reduce airborne allergens and irritants, enjoy better air quality indoors, and reduce the strain on your HVAC system.
7. Flip a switch and save. Over time, buildup can occur on circuit breaker contacts. A simple flip of the switch from the “On” to the “Off” position will help break this down and prevent circuit breaker failure. Wait 10 seconds before flipping back to the “On” position, and you’ll help prevent electrical problems and a dangerous overload on your home’s electrical wiring. Bad breakers can cost upwards of $500 to replace, not to mention the cost of paying a professional electrician to do the work. This one simple switch can protect your home against a potential fire that could cost you everything.
These simple and inexpensive home repairs take very little time and effort, but could potentially save you thousands of dollars, not to mention keeping you and your loved ones safe from harm.