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Our very best home maintenance tips and tricks

There’s typically a point where many new homeowners, when confronted with a major home emergency—such as a broken furnace or a busted pipe—will wonder what exactly they got themselves into by buying a home. It’s true: owning a home can be filled with unexpected challenges and expenses. 

The best way to get on top of things? Put together a home maintenance budget and make preventative maintenance your focus as a homeowner. In this article, we’ll walk you through how to do both, and what you should prioritize when it comes to caring for your home.

Set your home maintenance budget

For many homeowners, setting aside the right amount for their home’s maintenance and upkeep requires trial-and-error. Over time, you’ll eventually settle on a number that you know from experience works for your home. However, if you’re a new homeowner or recently moved into a new home, a good rule of thumb is to set aside 1-2% of the value of your home into a home upkeep savings account. That means a homeowner whose home is worth about $250,000 should save somewhere around $2,500-$5,000 every year.

Bear in mind that your home’s mileage may vary. Older homes require more maintenance than newer ones. Homeowners with pools on the property should set aside more than those without. If you are capable of setting aside and saving more, you should do so: worst case, you’ll roll over some of that money to the next year and have a “rainy day” emergency fund set up for your home’s future.

Take care of your cooling and heating systems

Your home’s air conditioner and furnace represent two of the largest investments in your home outside of the structure itself. Keeping them in good working order should be one of your highest priorities as a homeowner. A professional tune-up helps do just that, while also making your HVAC systems operate more efficiently. This matters: your cooling and heating systems account for nearly half of your home’s energy use. Making both more efficient can really pay off throughout the year.

We recommend that you set aside some of your home maintenance budget for annual tune-ups for both systems—one in the fall to get your furnace ready for the winter and one in the spring to prepare your AC unit for our summer heat and humidity. Call a local HVAC pro in your area to schedule your HVAC maintenance.

Energy-smart decisions can really pay off

If you have some of your maintenance budget left over at the end of the year, consider reinvesting that extra cash into your home. A good place to start is with energy-efficiency upgrades. Why? Well, for one, these upgrades help prime your home for future savings, which means they can eventually pay themselves off through lowered electric and gas bills. Second, making your home more efficient can reduce the wear-and-tear on both your air conditioner and furnace. This means lower maintenance and repair costs moving forward.

Plus, not all of these projects carry a large upfront cost! Even something as simple as replacing your home’s air filter at regular intervals can improve the efficiency of your HVAC systems by up to 15%. That’s less than five minutes of work that can really pay off down the road. Similarly, you can cut your monthly electric bill by swapping out your old light bulbs for energy-efficient LED or CFL bulbs. These changes take very little money upfront, but can yield month-over-month savings.

The long-term value of home maintenance

It may not be immediately apparent, but preventative maintenance and energy-saving upgrades do pay off over time. As a homeowner, you’re in this for the long haul. The right decisions now, in the present, will have positive ramifications on the future of your home.

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