Some homeowners think they’re saving money by skipping small maintenance requirements because they don’t think the checks will have a major effect on the system. In the short run, they might save $30–$50, but they’re risking long-term damage that could cost them thousands.
Skipping routine maintenance and repairs is penny smart but pound foolish, especially on major appliances. Here are three parts of your home and car for which you shouldn’t skimp on maintenance unless you want to pay dearly a few years down the road.
Change Your Oil and Rotate Your Tires
Car maintenance is easy to forget as long as your car continues to run. Unless they’re unable to get from point A to point B, few people remember to change their oil and rotate their tires as soon as they hit their 6,000 mile or six-month limits. However, failing to properly maintain your car can significantly cost you in the long run.
Failing to change your oil (a $30 expense) can ruin your engine and cost you almost $4,000 for a new one. Ignoring your tires and forgetting to rotate them can lead to an unbalanced drive, costing you almost $500 for new ones.
It’s worth giving up your morning for an oil change, tire rotation, and car inspection if it means your car keeps running for the next several years.
Have Your HVAC System Inspected
There are two main steps you should take to maintain your heating and air conditioning unit. The first costs about five dollars and takes less than two minutes: the replacement of your air filter.
Change your filters once a month to reduce the pressure on your system and keep the air flowing freely through your house. If you buy your air filters in bulk, you should only have to pay about $50 per year to keep them going.
The second step is the bi-annual system check from your local HVAC repair team. These are typically included in a treatment plan that will cost $100–150 per year.
Although this might seem like a lot at first, these services can prevent major damage to your system that could cost you $3,000 to replace. The techs will usually stay for an hour and run a deep clean and analysis of your system to ensure that it operates at its best during the hottest and coldest months.
Unclog Your Gutters Regularly
Gutters work to remove water from your home to reduce pressure and potential damage. However, your gutters will fill with leaves and dirt over time, which slows the movement of water and will even create dams.
Homeowners should clean their gutters at least twice a year — ideally in the spring and again in the fall. This can cost $50–$100 depending on whether you hire a professional or a neighborhood kid to do it.
This is worth it compared to the damage to your roof, plants, and foundation that comes with clogged gutters.
Next time you’re thinking about skipping on maintenance, ask yourself if you’re ready to pay for a complete replacement. The answer is probably no.