How to Avoid Costly Repairs with Inexpensive Maintenance

By John Voket

In our quest to help homeowners save money while avoiding the disruptive headaches of costly repairs and breakdowns this winter, your RIS Consumer Confidant sought the advice of Summer Mandell at The Texas Association of REALTORS® (

Mandell says first-time homeowners can avoid some costly mistakes by doing routine home maintenance that protects their investment. Check out her basic home-maintenance checklist to help get started.

  • Check gutters regularly to make sure they’re properly attached and clear of sticks and leaves. Also confirm the flow of water from your gutters is away from your home to avoid foundation damage.
  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly. Experts also recommend changing batteries when you change the clocks in the fall and spring.
  • Change filters in your home at intervals recommended by your HVAC manufacturer, especially if you have allergies or pets.And arrange for seasonal checks on the heating and cooling system to avoid emergency repairs.
  • Hire a tree-service company to inspect trees on your property to identify weak limbs that should be cut before a storm.
  • Toilets that run and faucets that leak when not in use are wasting your water. Sometimes you can fix these problems yourself, but hire an expert if you’re in doubt.
  • Check the water supply hose to your washing machine, which can leak and cause expensive damage.
  • Clean the dryer vent regularly – not just the lint trap – which should be cleaned often, too. Clogged dryer vents can be a fire hazard.
  • Clean around the vents and coils underneath and behind your refrigerator to support its efficiency. Also check for gaps when it’s closed to make sure your cool air isn’t being wasted.
  • Check your doors, garage door, windows, and any places where pipes and wires enter the structure for gaps and cracks. Replace weather-stripping that’s missing or in disrepair and add caulk where needed to keep heat/cool in and keep bugs and small creatures out.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

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