Money drains in your home

A lot of us are watching the bottom line and forgetting to watch the furnace, roof and even the dryer vent.  It turns out we're skipping basic home maintenance, cleaning and repair.

But spending a little now can save you thousands down the road.

Jennifer Galluzzo 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."

The culprit was a backed up bathroom vent.  She learned it should be cleaned every 2-4 months, "We were completely surprised."

Polyana Da Costa with says Jennifer'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 for basic home maintenance, cleaning and repair.

But by coughing up to a few hundred dollars early on, you can save thousands, even tens of thousands down the road.

"When you're on a tight budget, the mentality tends to be, 'Why fix it if it's not broken', but instead it should be 'Let's take care of it now before it becomes an issue," Da Costa says.

Starting with HVAC 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."

So can a chimney fire, so have it swept and inspected for cracks each year.

Environmental Inspector Robert Weitz 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."

Cleaning your gutters 4-6 times a year to prevent significant flooding and water damage.  And have your roof inspected once a year, otherwise Weitz says, "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."

Finally, 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," Weitz says.

Jennifer 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."

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