Cleaning Gutters

Looking to cut home maintenance costs in 2014? We talked to HomeAdvisor personal finance expert Leah Ingram, who offered these money- and time-saving tips — not to mention advice on how to avoid expensive emergency repairs.

“According to HomeAdvisor’s Cost Guide, the price of completing the tasks listed in the yearly home checklist can add up to $2,950,” says Ingram. “However, the cost of emergency repairs that can result from not completing these tasks can be up to 14 times that amount.”

Ingram lists key projects homeowners should complete each season:

 

Winter
• Check the caulking around tubs and showers. Repair the caulking if there are any cracks or black mildew stains that can’t be removed.
• Hire a professional to clean and service the furnace. Annually servicing the furnace can extend the life of the unit.

Spring
• Hire a professional to service the HVAC unit. Having the unit regularly inspected can increase its energy efficiency and prevent it from needing to be replaced.
• Hire a professional to clean the gutters and downspouts. A clogged downspout can prevent water from being released a safe distance from the house, which can cause damage to the foundation.

Summer
• Touch up the exterior paint on the house. Annually touching up the paint can extend the life of the paint job. Any area of the house where the paint is chipped, peeled, flaking or has signs of bubbling, fading or water damage should be touched up.
• Hire a professional to trim the trees and shrubs. All dead branches should be removed and all other branches should be cut back to promote healthy growth.

Fall
• Hire a professional to winterize the sprinklers. Draining the sprinklers of any remaining water and turning off the exterior faucets can prevent water from freezing and damaging the unit.
• Hire a professional to inspect the roof and chimney for cracks and damage.
• Install weather stripping around the doors and windows. By checking for leaks, homeowners can prevent an increase in their energy bill.

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