6 repairs that can be avoided with maintenance


Doing regular home maintenance is kind of like adult homework – no one wants to do it, but we all know that we have to.

One thing that makes maintenance even more arduous than homework is the cost associated with keeping up your home. Maintaining some parts of a house can be kind of expensive, and as a result, many homeowners avoid these essential tasks. Unfortunately, avoiding maintenance won't make the problems go away, and it is much more affordable to maintain something now than it is to fix or replace it later.

We've put together a short checklist of six of the most important things for you to maintain in you home in order to help you avoid higher costs down the road.

1. Keeping mold out
If you have a basement that regularly gets damp, it is important that you stay vigilant to keep mold from building up. Preventing mold or getting rid of a small colony is relatively easy to do yourself. However, paying to get large amounts of mold removed can be extremely expensive.

To prevent mold from spreading throughout your basement, get rid of organic trash, like newspapers, clothes and wood. Open all of the windows and doors to let some outside air in and kill the existing mold. Finally, seal off any source of moisture in the basement to keep the mold from coming back.

2. Checking the foundation
While you're down in the basement, take a look around for hairline cracks or gaps in the foundation of your house. Pay particularly close attention to the areas around windows and doors, as cracks here can mean that your foundation is shifting.

If you find cracks in your foundation, it will be expensive to replace no matter what. However, fixing the problem now is significantly more cost-effective than waiting until there is damage to your basement or other parts of your home.

3. Removing termites
Termites can wreak havoc in the building materials of a home, as they will eat through virtually anything in their way. Worse, many home insurance policies don't cover damage caused by termites. 

Getting your home inspected for termites is usually not much more than $100 or $200, depending on your location. If termites go unchecked in your home, however, they could cause thousands of dollars worth of damage before they are noticed.

4. Fixing the plumbing
Fixing up your plumbing system is one of the maintenance tasks most likely to pay off. Not only can you avoid leaks and subsequent water damage in your home by doing a regular check of your plumbing, but you can also potentially lower your water and heating bills.

Every few months, do a check for leaks around water-using appliances, faucets, pipes and water heaters. Having finished this, make sure that your pipes are properly insulated and that your water heater is working at maximum efficiency.

5. Redoing the roof
At least once a year – and ideally twice – you should do a check to ensure that your roof is in good shape. Break out the ladder or the binoculars and look for loose shingles, mold, water damage and separated flashing.

Fixing these problems will cost you a few hundred dollars at most, and you may even be able to do simpler repairs yourself to save even more money. Ignore the problem, however, and you could have to pay tens of thousands of dollars in repairs.

6. Repairing the HVAC systems
Hiring a professional to take a look at your HVAC system once a year costs a few hundred dollars and will help you to avoid costly repair bills down the line for replacing parts, doing work or even buying a new system. Better yet, investing in a TotalProtect® Home Warranty plan will ensure that you never have to overpay for these expenses.

The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.