8 of the Most Neglected Home Maintenance Tasks (Don’t Ignore Them!)

Your home is likely your biggest investment. You use it every day. It’s important. Despite these facts, many of us struggle to keep up with important maintenance tasks that are really essential for retaining our home’s value. When it comes to home maintenance, paying attention to the little things can save you lots of money, time and house-repair headaches.

Preventative maintenance means that you avoid costly breakdowns and repairs. Taking the initiative to care for systems and structures before there is a problem can be difficult. We all have busy lives, and the squeaky wheel gets the grease. If you want to do yourself a favor, though, see about attending to some of these frequently neglected household maintenance jobs.

Change HVAC filters

The furnace and AC in your home work tirelessly, and you may not ever give them a thought –until there’s a problem. Depending on its features, you can expect to get 10-15 years out of an air conditioning unit. Furnaces last a little longer: 15-20 years.  Once it’s time for a replacement you can expect to pay between $8000 and $20,000 for your new system and installation.

Regularly changing the filters will make these systems last as long as possible, and it’s a quick, inexpensive job. You should change the filter at least twice a year, when the seasons change. As a bonus, clean filters help your system run more efficiently, saving energy costs.

Clean dryer vents

Many of us are not aware that clogged dryer vents are a leading cause of household fires. They also make your dryer much less efficient. It’s easy to check the exterior vent occasionally to make sure it’s not blocked, but many people don’t make time for this task.

The vent should be checked annually. It’s as simple as going outside, taking the cover off and vacuuming the dryer vent tube.

Clean gutters

Many homeowners neglect the gutter system on their house, and this can be a costly oversight.  If a system is not maintained, water may pool in the gutters and damage eaves, leak into the house, and damage walls and flooring. Clogged gutters can cause extensive damage to your home’s roof, which then leads to moisture problems.

Thoroughly cleaning and inspecting the gutters once a year can prevent all these problems. Get a sturdy ladder, some stout gloves, a hand trowel and a garden hose, and go to it. Or hire a pro. Either way, make a point of addressing this important maintenance task.

Roof inspection

It’s wise to inspect your roof closely once a year. Even if you haven’t detected any leaks, check for loose shingles, cracks, and damage.  Look for sun rot, cracked caulk, rust, or algae. These issues should be addressed immediately. A small leak in the roof can cause major damage over time, including the creation of cracks and weakness in the foundation, which can be painfully expensive to repair.

With good care, the average asphalt shingle roof lasts about 20 years, and cement shingles last a few years longer. A slate or tile roof can last as long as 50 years. Considering that a new roof will set you back thousands of dollars, it makes sense to invest a little time now to prolong the life of your existing roof.

Flush out hot water heater

The water heater is another appliance that we rarely think of until it fails us and our teeth are chattering in the shower. Besides the risk of a breakdown, neglecting your water heater can lead to damage. Water heater failures make up 20 percent of residential water loss incidents.

Caring for the water heater is easy. Just inspect for leaks, and fully drain the tank about once a year to minimize sediment buildup.

Clean refrigerator coils

You may have never even heard of condenser coils, but they need you. They’re at the back or bottom of your fridge, and they can get clogged with dust and hair. That makes the fridge work harder, which translates to shorter life and higher energy costs. Fix that by cleaning the condenser coils once a year with a brush and vacuum.

Check for high water pressure

High water pressure can waste a lot of water, and also harm pipes, connections, and appliances. With a very inexpensive (about $25) pressure gauge, you can check to see if pressure is too high, and if it is consider installing a new pressure-reducing valve, available at home improvement and hardware stores.

Snake your main drain

This task isn’t something you need to do annually, but it’s a good idea to clear your main sewage drain every few years. Over time tree roots can push in and create cracks and blockages in these lines, which can lead to a major mess and high repair costs.  This job is best done by your plumber, and it’s one of the most frequently overlooked home maintenance tasks.

Get Help

Don’t have the time or energy to tackle these home maintenance jobs? Let Glasshouse help. Learn more about our regularly scheduled maintenance programs today!