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Little Fixes to Prevent Big Problems

By Writerinterrupted @writerinterrupt

Little Fixes to Prevent Big Problems

I’m blessed to have a husband who is very good with schedules. I like to think I manage our daily routine well enough, but I tend to concern myself with whatever’s right in front of my face. Meanwhile, minute by minute or month by month, my husband excels at keeping up with meetings and appointments as well as seasonal inspections and semi-annual maintenance.

So often, the interruptions of time, energy and money that we all face are either avoidable or mitigated with planning. No one ever makes a compelling argument against preventative maintenance. We all know we should get our oil changed, floss daily, and save for kids’ college funds and retirement. We’ll get around to it. We forget. It’s not in the budget right now.

Here’s another thing we all know: excuses are lame. Though budgeting through unpredictable income can be a challenge, it’s still easier than finding unexpected financing in an emergency. Household maintenance should be on the calendar and in the budget, because little fixes are always better than costly surprises. This month, we’ll look at easy checks for three main household areas: the kitchen, the laundry zone, and the roof.

  • As a core room and the access point for meals, losing the use of a kitchen appliance for any length of time is a major hindrance. If you’re fortunate to have a dishwasher (instead of being the dishwasher!), take care of it by checking for leaks in both input and output lines. Carefully pre-rinse dishes to prevent drainage backlogs, and run dishwasher cleaner through it semi-annually. Likewise, if you have a garbage disposal, check it frequently for smells or leaks. A quick degunking-method: grind up an ice cube once in a while to help break up any sludge stuck inside. It’s particularly galling when a refrigerator or freezer decides to quit since it comes with the cost of replacing spoiled food. Check for water leaks at the base of the unit and be aware of its normal sounds so that you’ll be certain to notice if the compressor begins making unusual noises.
  • Your laundry zone may be a whole room or a compact closet, but any area of the house involving massive amounts of water and electricity deserves your attention. Check dryer venting and exhaust tubing semi-annually or quarterly depending on usage, and vacuum or replace vent tubing to prevent dryer lint buildup from becoming a fire hazard. Also check water lines periodically. Friends of ours suffered extensive damage when a water line burst while they were away from the house. Rubber lines are more likely to fail and burst, especially the hot water line. Use steel braided water lines to minimize that possibility over a longer period of time.
  • Care for your roof and know its lifespan. Loose or cracked shingles can damage the liner underneath, and liner leaks allow the decking to get wet, leading to rot and bug infestation. By the time you see it in your ceiling, you’re looking at major repairs. We had our roof inspected after minor damage in a storm last year. Along with replacing a few blown-off shingles for us, our roof inspector gave us fair warning: we had about five years left before we’ll need to replace it. We can’t avoid that big expense in our future, but we can definitely plan ahead to spread the cost out across several years instead of resorting to a high-interest loan in a need-it-now scenario.

Next month we’ll cover a few more areas of the home. Until then, share your preventative maintenance tips or experiences in the comments!

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