Last updated December 16, 2001.

Three DIY Home Preventative Measures that Can Save You Big Bucks

Big Money

It’s been said that a person’s home is their castle. But true as that may be, the fact remains many of us don’t really treat our homes with the tender loving care that would suggest we really cherish the structure that keeps us warm, dry and safe.

It seems somehow we tend to forget how hard our ‘castle’ works for us. But with each subsequent season coming and going with little attention paid to problem areas, we are asking for trouble. Trouble that, left unattended long enough, can run up some pretty hefty repair bills.

So, that said, we give you these three DIY home preventative measures that, if done on a regular basis, will go a long way toward protecting your home and, at the same time, save you big bucks.

Check your laundry dryer. In particular, its lint vent.

The United States’ National Fire Protection Agency reported clogged clothes dryer vents were responsible for over 15,000 fires in the US in 2010. 

So ask yourself these questions: Have your clothes been taking longer to dry than usual? Do your clothes come out of the dryer feeling especially hot or does the outside of the dryer feel hot to touch? Does your vent hood flap close properly?

If the answers to the above questions are three yesses and a no, it’s definitely time to clean your lint vent at the very least and maybe even consider an appliance dealer to inspect your dryer.

Look up and check for damaged or dead overhanging branches or limbs.

After a long winter of rain, wind, snow and ice the branches of that towering oak tree in your yard may not be as sturdy as you assume it is. In fact, it could be only one storm away from letting you know it’s sick with a loud, massive crash into your roof.

While grabbing a chain saw and climbing a ladder might not be your definition of DIY maintenance, being aware of the signs that big tree isn’t healthy is something anyone can learn to do. Start with looking for fungus at the base of the tree as that indicates the tree could be rotting from the inside out. Look for exposed roots as this can suggest root damage that can eventually lead to a leaning, unstable tree. Is the tree shedding an excessive amount of leaves or are the leaves falling at the wrong time of the year? Also, what about the tree bark? Is it flaking or missing entirely in big patches. If so, chances are your tree is sick and needs attention.

Be on guard against water and excessive moisture. The single, most important preventative measure against water damage to your house (after a solidly sealed roof, of course) is seeing to it your gutters are not clogged.

Clogged gutters are responsible for carrying water from your roof down and away from the side and foundation of your home. Without gutters, water can easily find its way into damaged or poorly sealed house siding or, equally damaging, pool up around your home’s foundation and do thousands of dollars’ worth of damage.

The same goes for clogged gutters since clogged gutters allow for rainwater overflow and for water to pool up and corrode your gutters that can cause the leaks that may lead to costly repair bills.

Cleaning your gutters requires a decent ladder, long sleaves, gloves, small plastic gutter cleaning shovel, a blower and a garden hose. If working from the roof, a pair of sturdy and reliable shoes is suggested as is an overall awareness of nearby live powerlines in and around the work area. Lastly, an extra set of hands to better stabilize your ladder is also highly recommended.

On the topic of home maintenance, cleaning gutters is one of the more dangerous tasks most people will need to perform. If you do not feel comfortable climbing up a ladder or walking on your roof, it may be a better idea to call a professional gutter cleaner.

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