July 18, 2018
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” goes the old adage, but for homeowners, it’s more apt to say a few dollars spent on maintenance now avoids thousands on home repairs later. It’s all about taking a proactive, affordable planning approach so you won’t have to deal with reactive (and expensive) cleanup and replacements down the line.
Of course, with all things homeowner-related, there will be some costs involved for home maintenance—but how much? A good rule of thumb is to budget 1—3% of your home’s value for upkeep each year. (For example, if your home cost $800,000, set aside $8,000 annually to keep everything in working order.)
You’re committed to staying on top of home repairs and you’re setting money aside. Bravo! Now, which home maintenance projects should you tackle first? Here are five options for home upkeep where a little effort today results in big savings tomorrow.
Gutters are notorious traps for leaves, dirt, and debris and that detritus buildup can lead to leaks, mold, roof and foundation damage, pest issues, and other (costly) headaches. Home experts recommend having your gutters cleaned at least twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring, or up to four times a year if you have pine trees on your property.
Estimated gutter cleaning cost:_ $100 to $250_
Estimated roof replacement cost: $12,000
Potential maintenance savings: $11,900
Weatherstripped windows and doors stop drafts and keep heat and A/C inside. This not only means more comfortable rooms, but more efficient heating and cooling systems with an average savings of 10—15% on your energy bills. Bonus: Depending on your income and residence, you may be eligible for weatherization assistance from your state weatherization agency.
Estimated weatherstripping cost: $250
Estimated utility savings: $48 to $139 per bill, based on heating fuel type
Potential maintenance savings: up to $300 per season
If your hot water heater springs a leak, a drip pan connected to a drain line whisks the water out the drain and away from your floors, drywall, and furnishings. Check your water heater to ensure a drip pan and drain line are properly set up on your water heater, and if not, schedule a replacement installation ASAP to avoid an interior flood.
Estimated water heater replacement costs: $500 to $1,800
Estimated basement flood cleanup costs: $500 to $10,000
Potential maintenance savings: up to $9,500
Caulking seals the area around a bathtub, preventing leaks that can damage tile, walls, and ceilings. For maximum effectiveness, caulk should be replaced every five years or earlier if there are significant chips, cracks, peels, or mold/mildew buildup. (One way to tell: If there’s black gunk on or around your tub that never seems to get clean that means the growth is behind the caulk and it’s time to repair.)
Estimated bathtub caulking costs: up to $150
Estimated cracked bathtub/fixtures replacement costs: up to $3,000
Potential maintenance savings: up to $2,850
If you have pipes near walls that aren’t insulated—such as in basements, attics, or under sinks—you can prevent them from freezing (and bursting) by wrapping them directly with foam, fiberglass, or rubber sleeves. These extra layers, coupled with keeping your heat on and running your pipes during frigid temperatures, are a cost-effective way to safeguard your pipes.
Estimated pipe insulation costs: $95 to $300
Estimated burst pipe repair costs: $1,000
Potential maintenance savings: $700 to $905
How much can you save?
Total estimated maintenance spending: up to $2,750
Total estimated repair/replacement savings: up to $25,000
*All estimate figures are based on national averages and are for illustrative purposes only. Consult local professionals to get specific figures for your home.
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