Paid for by SimpliSafe
When it comes to taking care of your home, making small, preventative changes now can save a lot of money later.
"Unlike a car, you don't get an owner's manual for your house. A car will warn you that you need an oil change after 10,000 miles, but your home doesn't come with that," says Kevin Busch, vice president of operations at Mr. Handyman, a Neighborly Company.
Instead, experts advise becoming familiar with your home, noting upkeep, and scheduling regular maintenance for key areas. Regular monitoring, plus a little maintenance, can end up saving you a lot of money in the long run. With that in mind, we’ve teamed up with SimpliSafe to provide you with expert tips on how you can save money while protecting your most valuable asset.
Seal leaky doors and windows
Leaky doors and windows let in hot or cold air, which can cause your heating or cooling bills to skyrocket. Make sure your windows and doors properly close and seal and that latches work properly. With double-hung windows (windows with two panels that move up and down) both the upper and lower sashes need to be locked for the window to close properly and form a tight seal. Singled-paned windows are not as energy efficient as double-paned windows, but if you can't swap them out, consider applying a window film. Use weatherproofing strips if you have drafty doors.
Clean the gutters
Gutters lead water away from your house. But when they get clogged with leaves or sticks trapped water can damage the outside or inside of your home. Stagnant, trapped moisture can cause the wood in the roof to rot. It can also leak into the foundation or basement, causing damage. In colder climates, melting snow that gets stuck in the gutters can refreeze, causing further damage to the roof, says Linda Wigren, real estate agent for Real Living Realty Group in Massachusetts.
Clogged gutters can also create a home for various animals and insects. Fixing any of these problems can get pricey, depending on the extent of the damage. To prevent water damage or hosting pests, make sure your gutters are cleaned at least once a year — possibly more often if your house is surrounded by trees or if you live in a climate that freezes during the winter. While the cleaning schedule in Florida may be different from that in the midwest "the benefit is the same benefit," says Busch. In addition, you can also use water sensors to detect leaks before they cause damage.
Replace rotted trim
Houses often have wood trim at the corners, along the roofline, doors and windows. While the trim is aesthetically appealing, it also serves a functional purpose — to keep water from seeping into the corners of the house. Wood trim needs to be replaced from time to time since it can rot, especially when left out in the elements, and can become a home to insects and other small pests. Left unchecked, rotting trim can spread to the house framing.
To inspect the trim, look at corners with trim and look for signs of rot in door and window frames. Wigren recommends homeowners take a walk around outside to take a look at these kinds of often-missed signs of trouble. "Many people don't walk around the outside of the house, but if you do that from time to time you can spot problems.”
Change furnace filters
Your heating and air conditioning work most efficiently when the filters are clean. If your air conditioner feels like it's lost its oomph, it could be because of a dirty filter. A dirty filter forces the unit to work harder, increasing your electricity bill and decreasing air circulation. An inefficient filter can cause ice to form on the coils, which can lead to mold growth and may require you to repair or replace the unit. Experts recommend changing or cleaning the air filters every few months or at least twice a year, depending on your unit, how much you use it and the season. Depending on climate and usage, the filters may need to be changed as frequently as every month.
Upgrade according to your homeowner’s policy
Homeowners insurance sometimes provides a discount to homeowners that install home security systems or certain types of sensors, like SimpliSafe temperature sensors for extreme weather changes. In some cases, home improvements such as new plumbing, new wiring or a new roof may lower your premiums. Read the fine print on your policy and check with your insurance agent prior to an improvement or upgrade to see if it may make a difference to your monthly premiums.
Chances are, your home is your biggest asset, and preventative measures prevent big expensive fixes later. Once you've identified specific areas in your home that need attention, create a regular maintenance schedule to address them.
For “whole home security,” SimpliSafe provides protection for every window, room and door against intruders, fires, water damage, medical emergencies and more. Trusted by experts, Simplisafe provides the protection you need for your most valuable investment.