We understand. You don't want to waste your weekends or money on home improvement projects. Aside from the time commitment, some people are just gifted with better DIY talents — or handy spouses — than others. Preventive maintenance for your home, like regular dental checkups and car tune-ups, may save you huge cash and even bigger headaches.

Here's a quick checklist of simple house maintenance tasks to help you avoid costly and catastrophic repairs. File these under the "pay now" category so you don't have to pay a lot more later. Whether you can perform any of these duties yourself or need to engage a handyman service or specialists, it only makes sense to take good care of your primary investment, your home. 

1. Gutter cleaning 

There's a reason why gutter cleaning is frequently at the top of most home maintenance checklists. Ignoring this simple task might cause a chain reaction of problems that could cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars in subsequent repairs. Clogged gutters can prevent water from draining off your roof, causing roof damage and leaks, which can lead to ceiling and wall damage, as well as mildew and foundation issues. Do you get the picture? Sure, getting up on a ladder to blow leaves and shovel debris out of gutters is a pain in the you-know-what, but this is one duty you don't want to put off.

Gutter cleaning should be done at least twice a year, in the spring and fall. It's also a good idea to inspect them after a big storm to ensure they're clear of obstructions and that the downspouts are functional. If you don't have the time or willingness to climb ladders and get dirty, you may easily hire a gutter cleaning service. According to HomeAdvisor, gutter cleaning will cost between $120 and $225, depending on the size of your home and if it has one or two storeys. 

2. Avoid expensive roof repairs and extend the life of your roof

If you clean your gutters on a regular basis, you've just taken the first step toward preventing roof damage. Because a new roof costs between $5,400 and $11,000 on average, you want to do everything you can to extend its life. Not to mention that your roof is your home's and your family's first line of defense from severe winds, rain, and heavy snow. As a result, maintaining your roof is an essential element of disaster preparedness.

Here's a brief checklist to keep your roof in good shape:

  1. Maintain the cleanliness of your gutters.
  2. Visually inspect your roof for debris, missing or broken shingles, and evidence of moss, fungus, or algae.
  3. Keep adjacent trees pruned – nothing should come into contact with your roof.
  4. Remove leaves and debris from the roof with a leaf blower.
  5. Replace any missing or damaged shingles as soon as possible.
  6. Get your roof inspected by a professional on a regular basis.
  7. Caulk or seal cracked mortar around joints, chimneys, and skylights.

3. Keep up with tree-trimming requirements

Don't wait for a severe storm to call a tree-trimming service. Trees with dead or diseased branches pose considerable dangers to property and human safety. Regular pruning and tree trimming will also assist keep your gorgeous trees healthy and extend longevity. If you can securely prune and trim the trees yourself, you can utilize the Department of Agriculture's tree pruning guidance.

If you have large trees on your property, it's advisable to contact a professional tree trimming firm for a free arborist examination. They will notify you if any trees require trimming and will offer you a thorough, written quotation if they do. If they recommend trimming, have at least one other arborist assess the area. In this manner, you can ensure that the work is indeed necessary. You might be surprised, but an honest tree service will tell you if your trees don't need to be trimmed. They will be more likely to use them when they have earned your trust because they know you will have them out every year to inspect. However, if you want extensive tree work, seek multiple estimates because tree service charges vary greatly.

4. Get your HVAC system chekhed out.

Do you ever wonder if those frequent HVAC tune-ups are worthwhile? Yes, if you want to avoid costly breakdowns in the midst of a sweltering heat wave or a bitter cold snap. Aside from keeping you comfortable and preventing costly delays and emergency repairs, annual or twice-yearly HVAC system maintenance can assist in cutting energy expenses and lengthening equipment life. Most importantly, you can safeguard your family's health and safety by testing for dangerous carbon monoxide gas that may be escaping through the furnace's heat exchanger. Clogged HVAC pipes can also cause leaks, which can cause ceiling damage. Yikes!

A good HVAC tune-up will address the following areas:

  • Examining and unclogging a congested vent system
  • Cleaning clogged evaporator and condenser coils
  • Gas pressure testing and correction
  • Drain line inspection and flushing
  • Filter cleaning or replacement

If the $100 to $200 for an HVAC tune-up service is out of your budget, two things you can do yourself change the filters on a regular basis and flush the drain lines. 

5. Don't throw away your sump pump

According to scientific studies, rising sea levels and a rise in heavy rain events are putting more properties in danger of floods. That means it's more crucial than ever to ensure your sump pump is capable of protecting your property from floods and water damage.

Experts recommend having a professional evaluate your sump pump once a year for $75 to $200, depending on if additional repairs are required. 

6. Clean the dryer vent to eliminate the risk of fire in your home

Every year, the US Fire Administration (USFA) reports 2,900 home clothes dryer fires, resulting in five deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss. Cleaning the lint filter after each load of wash isn't enough. To guarantee that the dryer vent heading outdoors is not clogged, it should be cleaned once a year. While the USFA suggests hiring a professional for around $130 to conduct the job, as long as the vent is on the ground floor, this is a very simple DIY effort.

7. Clear out the chaos and get your garage in order!

Cleaning out your garage will help protect your car, which is likely your second-largest investment after your home. If your garage is too crowded to put your car inside, it will be exposed to the elements and more vulnerable to theft outside. Sun, snow, and debris can degrade your car's exterior, lowering its resale value.

A well-organized garage will also help you stay on top of the other home maintenance tasks on this list. It's difficult to complete tasks when you can't find the necessary equipment! If your garage is so cluttered that you don't know where to start, try hiring a PODS portable storage container, which can be delivered and stored in your driveway while you clear stuff out.

Whether you're a first-time homeowner or simply overwhelmed, we hope this checklist inspires you to tackle these home maintenance duties. It may not be fun, like any sort of preventive, but it is far preferable to coping with the consequences of letting things go. Furthermore, the better you care for your home, the more you'll be able to enjoy it.

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