When it comes to homeownership, the to-do lists can feel never-ending. Throw in the stress and bustle of work and family, and it can be easy to put off tedious home-repair chores like changing the HVAC filter or cleaning out the gutters. Procrastination is a gamble, though; small issues can turn into big problems before you know it. Here are six basic maintenance tasks that could save you some serious money in emergency repair costs down the road.

1. Keep Gutters Debris-Free

Gutters may not be glamorous, but they do the important work of carrying water away from the roof, walls, and foundation. Clogged gutters can lead to pooling water that seeps into the woodwork and causes wood rot and water damage both outside and inside the home. Overflow can also make it into basements and crawlspaces, potentially leading to flooding and unhealthy mold issues.

2. Peeling Paint

Fresh paint makes your house look nice, but it serves a more important purpose: keeping your house dry and rot-free. If the paint on your home is peeling off, it’s time to go after it with a scraper and a paint can.

3. Flush the Water Heater

Whether you have a tankless or storage water heater, you should flush it every 1 to 3 years to clear out mineral and sediment buildup. Sediment in the system makes the heater work harder and take longer to do its job. Worse, if there is enough sediment, particulates can get into the plumbing and cause low water pressure, leaks or even a burst pipe.

4. Change the HVAC Filter

Dirty filters are the most common cause of HVAC failure, but new ones are inexpensive and easy to replace. Making sure to change the filter every 1 to 3 months keeps your heating and cooling equipment efficient and effective, saving you on energy costs and significantly extending the life of your HVAC system.

5. Maintain Sewer Main Lines

Many sewer clogs and sewage backups can be avoided by using a main-line sewer cleaner every 12 months. Most of these heavy-duty cleaning solutions take 7 to 8 hours to set (during which time you should avoid using the facilities), but the temporary inconvenience could help to prevent a major plumbing problem.

6. A Plumbing Leak

Big leak, small leak, any type of leak can do big damage to your home. Address all plumbing problems as soon as they arise. Then, learn how to keep your plumbing in tip-top shape, so you have fewer problems going forward.

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