As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and nowhere is this more true than in basic home maintenance. Spending a little bit of time and effort caring for your home today may save you days of costly repairs tomorrow. Here are some simple, cheap ways to protect your home against potential damages in Massachusetts:
- Run your water. If you have a guest bathroom that generally goes unused, for instance, flushing the toilet and running the bath and sink can help to prevent buildup and grime that can lead to costly repairs. However, never let the water run unattended, of course.
- Clean your food disposal with vinegar ice cubes. This sounds like a weird home remedy tip, but the white vinegar helps to dissolve grime and the ice sharpens the blades, preventing sludge from forming on the mechanism. These items can also help clear your drains.
- Change your HVAC filters. Once a month if you have pets, five or six times a year otherwise. HVAC pros will often recommend that you go with cheaper filters and replace them frequently rather than spending more on costlier filters. This can prevent breakdown and extend the life of your unit, and save you money on your electric bill.
- Run a monthly inspection to make sure you're fire-ready. Check your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide systems. Also check the pressure gauge on your fire extinguisher, and clean up any fire hazards like stacks of old newspaper, dry leaves gathering in the backyard, or anything blocking escape routes, like storage boxes stacked up by the back door. It takes minutes to do this, but may save your home.
- Run exterior checkups. A few times a year you should make a walk of the premises. Look for missing siding or chipped paint, missing shingles or broken locks. Take a look under the house for any leaky pipes and make sure there's nothing that demands your attention. See if there are any signs of rodent damage.
There's quite a bit more that can be done, but these are some of the easiest, cheapest measures that you can take to protect your home. Your home insurance policy is there to help you when disaster strikes, but most policies are not written to cover damages that are caused by a lack of regular maintenance.
As homeowners, it's nice to know that we have insurance there as a safety net, but it's our responsibility to correct minor problems before they become major problems.