Maintain Today, Save Tomorrow

by Erin Huffstetler


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Maintain and Save

Home Maintenance Schedules

Preventative Home Maintenance

Like it or not, unexpected repairs are just a part of home ownership. Roofs will leak, appliances will break and accidents will happen. While you can't avoid unexpected repairs entirely, there is a lot that you can do to ensure that your home remains in working order.

Think you are staying on top of your home's scheduled maintenance? Perhaps you are, but even the most maintenance-savvy homeowners tend to overlook a few areas. Read on to learn about four critical maintenance items that you may be overlooking.

Hot Water Heater - Sediment deposits inside the tank can mean big problems for your hot water heater, leading to rust and premature deterioration of the unit. To combat this problem, simply use the spigot on the side of the unit to drain a bucket of water from the bottom of the tank. Doing so will remove a lot of the sediment, and slow down the rusting process. Repeat the process every six months for best results.

Refrigerator - Dirty refrigerator coils cause the unit's air compressor to work harder, thus using more energy and significantly reducing the life of the appliance. To keep your refrigerator working efficiently, take the time to clean the coils every few months. Just pull the refrigerator away from the wall, and use a vacuum cleaner to remove all of the dust and build-up on the coils. If you have animals in the home, you may find that you need to vacuum the coils more frequently, as animal fur will tend to accumulate on the coils.

Smoke Detectors - Dust in and around a smoke detector can inhibit the device's ability to function properly in the event of a fire. To ensure your detectors are in working order, clean each unit at least a few times a year. To do so, vacuum the outside of the cover, and then remove the cover and finish by vacuuming out the inside. While you are cleaning, it is also a good idea to make sure each smoke detector has fresh batteries, and responds properly when tested.

HVAC System - Dirt and debris pose the biggest threat to the life of a heating and cooling system. While changing the air filter on a monthly basis is a great way to maintain the cleanliness of the furnace coils, it is not the only part of the system that requires routine maintenance. To optimize your system, you should also check your outdoor condenser unit on a monthly basis to be sure that there aren't any leaves or other foreign objects hindering the airflow. If upon inspecting the unit, you determine it needs to be cleaned, simply turn the unit off, unscrew the top cover, and remove the debris. Then screw the cover back on, and restore power to the unit.

Make maintenance a part of today's routine and you will save a lot of time and money tomorrow!


Erin Huffstetler is a freelance writer and mother of two who resides in East Tennessee. She is the Guide of the Frugal Living section at About.com and the owner of the site My Frugal Home.

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