It is easy, especially in this economy, to be tempted to delay or even skip minor home maintenance repairs, cleaning jobs and inspections in your home. But don't be penny-wise and dollar-foolish. That $200 or $300 you save today could result in expenditures of $3,000 or even tens of thousands next month or next year if hidden problems in your home go unnoticed and become worse.
Consider coughing up a little dough to take care of these small jobs before they morph into gigantic, expensive jobs later.
1. ANNUAL HVAC INSPECTION:
How often: at least once a year.
When: spring or fall. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning, or HVAC, companies aren't as busy, and you're not in dire need of heat or air conditioning.
What an inspection might find:
The furnace blower is not working properly. Cost to repair or replace: $100-$150. Possible consequence of letting it go: a broken heat exchanger. Potential savings down the road: $300-$1,000 to replace the heat exchanger or $750-$3,500, depending on the energy efficiency, to replace indoor or outdoor furnace components.
The reversing switch in the heat pump is broken. Cost to repair or replace: $100-$300. Letting it go results in no heat from the heat pump, and the system switches to a more expensive auxiliary heat. Potential savings: lower heating bills.
How often: once a year.
When: before your first fire in winter.
What an inspection might find:
There's no chimney cap. Cost to add: $150. If you let it go, rain water can get into your chimney, damage the chimney liner and damper, and even saturate mortar joints -- causing mold. Potential savings: $2,000-$4,000 to replace the chimney liner.
Other problems may include: a cracked chimney crown, which can be repaired for $300-$500; chimney flashing that needs caulking, which can be done for $80-$100; and waterproofing the exterior brick, $350-$600. All these fixes will prevent rainwater from getting in and mold from forming.
How often: once a year.
When: any time, although termites are more active in spring and early summer.
An inspection might find subterranean termites that come from the ground or flying termites. If left untreated, these bugs damage framing, trim, drywall, furniture, carpet, copper and other soft metals. Termites cause more than $5 billion in damages a year in the U.S. The average homeowner loss for termite damage is $3,000, but losses can be as high as $30,000 or even $80,000. Most homeowners insurance does not cover repair of termite damage.
4. POWER WASHING AND SEALING WOOD DECKS AND PATIOS
Cost: $100-$300 for a 200-square-foot deck, more for a larger deck.
How often: every one to three years, depending on the amount of traffic, moss and mold.
When: any time in sunny weather.
Power washing gets rid of stains, algae, mold, mildew and moss. Algae and mold can make your deck slippery and dangerous. Sealing your deck after it is cleaned helps prevent water damage. Wood soaks up rain like a sponge, expands and then shrinks, Lee says. Sealing makes the water bead up and roll off. And let's not forget -- your deck will look nicer, too.
If you let it go, your deck will warp, nails will pop out and the deck won't last as long.
Potential savings: $4,000 to $20,000 or more to replace your deck, depending on size.
5. DRYER VENT CLEANING
How often: every year.
When: a sunny day.
The purpose is to get rid of lint buildup. If your dryer is not on an exterior wall, it's likely that the vent leading outside is clogged up, says Gessner of A Step in Time Chimney Sweeps.
If you ignore it, the result could be a disastrous fire. Once the vent gets clogged, the dryer starts overheating and it can catch on fire.
Potential savings: your home, your furnishings, your belongings and your life.
6. CARPET CLEANING
Cost: about 50 cents per square foot for hot water extraction cleaning, or $500 for 1,000 square feet of cleaned carpet.
How often: every 12 months; more often for high-traffic areas and homes with small children, pets or smokers. Manufacturers' warranties may require cleaning every 18 to 24 months. You can save money by focusing on regular cleanings for high-traffic areas and waiting up to two years for the entire carpet.
When: any time.
If the carpet looks dirty, you've waited too long because some soil can't be removed with vacuuming. This soil will bind to your carpet and dull the texture, shortening the life of the carpet.
Your home also will be healthier with pollen, bacteria, insecticides and dirt removed, says Howard Partridge, founder and president of Clean as a Whistle, a cleaning company outside Houston.
Potential savings: extending the life of your carpet. Replacing 1,000 square feet of medium-grade carpet, including padding and installation, costs about $3,000.
LINDA SECRIST - LINDA SECRIST & ASSOCIATES - EVERYTHING THEY TOUCH TURNS TO SOLD!
FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK
Salt Lake City real estate, SLC real estate, Salt Lake City homes for sale, SLC homes for sale, SLC Realtor, Salt Lake City Realtor, Holladay luxury homes for sale, Holladay luxury estates, Holladay homes for sale, Holladay Realtor, Cottonwood luxury estates, Cottonwoods Realtor, Walker Lane, Cottonwood Lane, Sandy real estate, Sandy Realtor, Draper real estate, Draper Realtor, Sandy homes for sale, Draper homes for sale, Murray real estate, Murray homes for sale, Murray Realtor, South Jordan real estate, South Jordan homes for sale, South Jordan Realtor, West Jordan real estate, West Jordan homes for sale, West Jordan Realtor, Riverton real estate, Riverton homes for sale, Riverton Realtor, Herriman real estate, Herriman homes for sale, Herriman Realtor, Utah real estate, Utah homes for sale, Utah Realtor, Bountiful real estate, Bountiful homes for sale, Bountiful Realtor, Davis County real estate, Davis County Realtor, Park City real estate, Park City homes for sale, Park City luxury homes for sale, Park City luxury estates, Park City ski homes, Park City retreat homes, Park City Realtor, Alpine real estate, Alpine homes for sale, Alpine Realtor, Highland real estate, Highland homes for sale, Highland Realtor, Farmington real estate, Farmington homes for sale, Farmington Realtor