If you're looking to save some money around the house, a little fixing up can help. Just ask Jennifer Galluzzo. She remembers the day the shower floor shifted under her feet.
“It had completely molded out underneath. The shower needed to be completely gutted and redone,” she said.
The culprit was a backed up bathroom vent. She learned too late that it should have been cleaned every two to four months.
“We were completely surprised,” said Galluzzo.
Polyana da Costa with BankRate.com says Galluzzo's story is all too common. While there are no statistics, BankRate says anecdotal evidence shows a growing number of homeowners simply aren't aware of, or find it tough to pony up money for basic home maintenance, cleaning and repair.
But by coughing up a few hundred dollars early on, you can save thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars down the road.
“When you’re on a tight budget, the mentality tends to be ‘Why fix it if its not broken,’ but instead it should be ‘Let’s take care of it now before it becomes an issue,” said da Costa.
Starting with H-Vac units, or heating, ventilation and air conditioning: A yearly tune-up by a professional can help prevent a furnace blower breakdown.
You should also schedule an annual termite inspection.
“I’ve seen people who have to replace an entire wall because of termites. They can do substantial damage,” said da Costa.
So can a chimney fire, so have it swept and inspected for cracks each year.
Environmental inspector Robert Weitz, with RTK Environmental, says dryer fires are also common.
“Periodically, the dryer vent either needs to be cleaned out, or it needs to be really replaced if it’s a flexible dryer vent,” he said.
Another must-do, clean out your gutters four to six times per year to prevent significant flooding and water damage.
And experts say it's a good idea to have your roof inspected once a year, to catch issues before they become big problems.
“Over a period of time, the shingles will start to curl. They’ll become deteriorated. If you put it off too long then water will enter the house,” said Weitz.
You'll also want to check for mold on a regular basis. It has the potential to destroy walls, cabinets, flooring and more.
“The best places to check for mold are in the basement where water can seep in through the foundation or where water leaks end up, up in the attic for a lack of ventilation, in bathrooms,” said Weitz.
Finally, if you have wood deck, be sure to power wash and seal it every one to three years, depending on use. Replacing the entire deck can be pricey, like $4,000 to $20,000.
Galluzzo now has a home maintenance checklist, and the bathroom vent is at the top.
“We would have saved thousands of dollars and weeks of headaches,” she said.