Home Maintenance Tasks That Cost More Later
Save money by addressing these home maintenance chores now
Most people maintain a rainy day fund so they can fix things around the house that need repair. But in addition to that rainy day fund, it’s important to keep a home maintenance account so you can proactively address issues before they require repair.
Remember the old proverb “A stitch, in time, saves nine?” That can also be translated into financial terms. Perhaps the updated version might be “A dollar now saves ten dollars later.” That’s particularly true when it comes to home maintenance projects. There are quite a few homeownership responsibilities that you should address before they require repair—it will ultimately save you money and time down the road.
Consider the following home maintenance tasks that you should consider taking care of now before they cost you more in the future.
Roof and Gutter Care
The average cost of cleaning gutters is under $250, HomeAdvisor reports and shelling out that cash can save you more than ten times that amount down the road. That’s because if you don’t have your gutters cleaned, they can get clogged, allowing water nowhere to go when it rains. That water subsequently finds its way under shingles, and later, through your ceilings.
Water damage is incredibly insidious once it gets into your house, and can be very challenging to mitigate.
The cost of a new roof ranges from about $5,000 to $15,000 depending on the material and the size of your house. Add to that any cost to replace or repair drywall and paint over water damaged walls—and worse yet, the cost of mold removal if the water damage goes unnoticed—and you could be paying up to $25,000 if your roof leaks. That’s a startling 10,000% increase over the $250 you would spend for a gutter cleaning.
Termite, Pest Prevention
One problem that can be almost as costly to fix as water damage is damage from pests. From squirrels chewing up the insulation in your attic to carpenter ants eating your deck, repairing the damage that pests cause can get expensive. But for most homeowners, the most costly damage can come from termites.
To protect yourself against termite damage, it’s a good idea to partner with a pest company that can treat your home against the bugs and then checks it annually for damage. These types of treatments usually cost less than $500 and can give you peace of mind that you won’t be experiencing termite damage in the near future.
If you choose to forego such preventive treatment, prepare for expensive issues if termites do make their way into your house—and many homeowners insurance policies don’t cover these damages, which can run, on average, about $3,000 to fix. That’s about 1,100% higher than the cost of preventive treatment.
Before your heating and air conditioning units are ready for the busy seasons (winter and summer), it’s a good idea to have a professional HVAC company inspect and clean your units. You can typically get a contract with a local company to service your HVAC units twice a year for under $500, and they’ll clean the systems, check for leaks and ensure that everything is in working order.
This is one of the most important preventive maintenance services you can do, and the reason goes far beyond the financial.
In reality, if you don’t know about a leak in your HVAC systems, you could end up with carbon monoxide leaking into your home, which can be a fatal problem.
Of course, most HVAC issues aren’t that serious, but some are. More commonly, your system may need freon added or parts replaced so they’ll operate properly, and the HVAC inspectors will easily find these issues and fix them. If you don’t perform this type of maintenance, you could end up with a compressor that goes kaput in the middle of the most important periods, and you’ll not only be left with a freezing or sweltering house, but also with a large bill.
Replacing a central air conditioning unit can cost between $3,500 and $7,600, while a new gas furnace will run you between $4,000 and $5,000, Modernize reports. The increase between the $500 HVAC inspection contract and the price of a new central AC unit is about a 1,420% difference.