Home Maintenance That Saves Money and Makes You Feel Better
When performing a home remodel in Mission Viejo, Lake Forest, Irvine, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Hills, Portola Hills, Foothill Ranch, San Clemente, and all-over South Orange County California, I’m often asked what is the best way to save money on home utilities and repairs. Here are the best “Home Maintenance That Saves Money & Makes You Feel Better” I know. These are easy and save a bundle:
Always perform the below twice each year; once when daylight savings begins and again when it ends:
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Change the Battery in Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms. This includes electric models as these also have a battery backup. This can easily save you the most money. How? Simple, smoke alarms warn you before your house burns to the ground . . . and home insurance won’t cover everything to replace, especially family heirlooms and sentimental items like pictures. A carbon monoxide alarm will save your life! How much is this worth?
- VERY IMPORTANT: You should change your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms if they do not comply with today’s fire code regulations. Many people don’t know that the chemical within the older alarm sensors typically have a life expectancy of 5 to 7 years. After that, their effectiveness becomes less and less. Today, fire code compliant and California Building Code compliant smoke and carbon monoxide alarms must have a sealed 10-year lithium battery that lasts the life of the alarm (which is 10 years). After 10 years, you simply replace the entire alarm.
Furnace and Air Conditioner Filter
Change the Furnace/Air Conditioning Filter (aka – FAU or Forced Air Unit). After every job I complete, as a courtesy, I always change the furnace filter for the customer. Wow! I have never, and I mean never, changed a filter that was not years (yes, I said years) overdue. The filters are always so dirty; I wonder how any air at all ever gets through! When the FAU is starved for air, just like a cars air filter, it must work significantly harder and longer to do the job. This cost an ever-increasing amount of electricity and gas. Consistently operating your FAU with a dirty filter will reduce its life by 50% or more. The typical replacement FAU cost is $5,000 – $10,000. This also creates health and cleaning problems in your home.
- Health: All that dirt, lent, pollen, hair, mold, mildew, and filth that’s clogged in your filter gets sucked up and travels through your air ducts where it’s dispersed into your home. If your’re having respiratory or allergy problems, try replacing your FAU filter with a high-quality micro allergen electrostatic filter. You will be so happy!
- Dirt: Again, all that dirt and grim is being deposited throughout your home. It gets on your cloths, furniture, bedding, carpet, food, dishes, and you breathe it. How nasty is this? And you wonder why you sneeze and cough constantly, your carpet looks dirty, your furniture has 2” of dust on it, and your cloths (especially your whites) look dingy? If you have pets, it’s even worse.
- Never, and I mean never, replace your filter with a standard, flimsy cardboard looking filter. These are worthless and what many Air Conditioning and Furnace Contractors use. Why? Because they are cheap, and they can charge you $150 to come out to your home and install a $1.50 filter that does essentially nothing. Always use a quality micro allergen electrostatic filter. They cost $10 – $20 depending on the size you need. That’s nothing compared to the cost of doctors, prescriptions, medications, and time off work. Who wants to feel bad anyway? So, change your filter!
Microwave and Cooktop Hood Filters
Clean the Filters on Your Microwave and/or Cook Top Hood. Not doing this can easily cause a fire. That ventilation removes the heat when you’re cooking and gets rid of the grease and moister that’s generated when you cook. When these filters get clogged with grease, the heat, grease, and moisture can’t get outside. It stays in your house and makes everything dirty and greasy. Try feeling the walls and cabinets in your kitchen – nasty? What happens as grease gets old? It gets rancid and generates all kinds of nasty bacteria – which you’re now breathing and it’s getting on your food! It can also invite ants and roaches who like to eat this stuff.
- Next time you see a Firefighter, ask them how many fires they extinguish each year that are caused by cooking. They’ll be happy to share with you that most of these were caused by excessive heat and carelessness. Clean the filters!
Bathroom Exhaust Fan
Clean Your Bathroom Exhaust Fan. Go into your bathroom and look up. Your right, the cover on the exhaust fan should not be solid – you should see slats so the moisture can get out! I can’t tell you how many bathrooms are damaged and destroyed costing tens of thousands of dollars to repair and replace because the moisture was not removed. When the moisture can’t escape, mold, mildew, and bacteria take over everything. Some of this is very dangerous and incredibly unhealthy. These can seriously injure and kill you. You’re breathing all this stuff and it’s getting in your cloths, toiletries, towels, floors, walls, carpet, bedding, and food – everywhere.
Drain your water heater
If you have a tank type water heater, have you ever noticed that “hose bib” on the front of it? No, it’s not to water your lawn or wash your car. It’s to drain your water heater of all the impurities like rust, dirt, sand, etc. How does this stuff get into your water heater? From the water pipes that bring water into your home and from your house water pipes. Most water is also very hard, containing lime, calcium, and other minerals. These too, get deposited inside your water heater tank. I’ve changed water heaters that are half full of “stuff”. I’m not kidding, half full. Most of the water heaters I change are at least 1/3 full of impurities. Think how much you’re paying for the extra gas to heat 2-3 feet of solid nothing – before it even gets to the water!
- When you drain the tank, make sure to turn the gas off first. Wait 4-6 hours. This will allow the water to cool enough where you can hook up your garden hose and drain the water into your yard and/or planters. Don’t drain it into the street – that’s a waste of good water. Grass and plants love this stuff – just ask them!
Home maintenance saves money!
That’s it . . . easy! Think of all the money your saving and how much healthier you can now be. Twice each year, once when daylight savings begins and again when it ends, get together as a family and spend a morning or afternoon enjoying quality time together cleaning a few filters, changing some batteries, and water the yard! You’ll be teaching your kids important lessons, and everyone will breathe easier. There is nothing like “Home Maintenance That Saves Money & Makes You Feel Better!”
I hope this information on “Home Maintenance That Saves Money & Makes You Feel Better” was helpful.