Prevention is the Best Medicine

5 home maintenance tips that will save you headaches in the future


Prevention, not procrastination, is a homeowner’s best friend. Luckily, there are websites, magazines, tv shows and news items aplenty to help homeowners recognize, prioritize and address common home maintenance issues.

 “Mr. Fix-It” himself, Lou Manfredini, who hosts House Smarts TV and is the home improvement contributor for NBC's Today Show, recently released his list of common mistakes and solutions. “Very often, homeowners miss the warning signs that there is a problem or look for short-cuts to save money around the home. However, emergency repairs can end up costing more in the long run, so it's important to be aware of common home maintenance mistakes."

1. Change is a good thing — change heating and cooling system filters regularly

the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that homeowners change the filters in their heating and cooling systems at least every three months. Clogged, older and over-used filters may cause the system to work harder and run longer, costing more in energy costs and repairs over time. 

2. Mind the gap — keep an eye out for loose tiles and gaps in the grout

Check the grout in between bathroom tiles annually, especially around wet areas. Gaps in grout can result in water seeping behind the tiles, causing damp patches, risk of water leaking into other rooms and loose tiles.

3. Water can do more than make your hair curl — check your roof regularly

Once or twice a year, take a good step back (about 50 feet) and check your roof for curled shingles, which generally mean there’s a leak in your roof. If you think some shingles look suspect, call a licensed roofing contractor for a more thorough inspection and assessment.

(for more tips from Mr. Fix-It, see his “Home Maintenance Mistakes Will Cost You”)

HouseLogic, an online homeownership resource from the National Association of Realtors®, also offers a wealth of information on keeping your home in tip-top shape, including Home Maintenance 101.


4. Less water, less noise, less money — fix running toilets to save water and money

Running toilets can not only be annoying with their constant noise, they waste water and cost money. The EPA estimates that constantly running toilet can waste 200 gallons of water or more a day.

5. Preparation prevents panic — become familiar with controlling your utilities

If water starts rushing into your home, do you know how to shut off the main water line?  What about the gas and electricity? The best time to find out how to shut off your utilities is when there is no urgent reason to. Everyone in your household should feel comfortable turning off the water or electricity if needed.


For home maintenance videos, tips, instructions and more, visit these sites:

Home Inspector Locator’s Home Maintenance Guide

House Logic’s Maintenance & Repair

The EPA’s Fix a Leak reviews finding a fixing a multitude of common household leaks

FEMA’s Utility Shut-off and Safety


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