Home repairs are expensive. We all want to do whatever we can to keep from spending any more money than we have to. For that to happen, we need to use some common-sense strategies for keeping the house solid and weather-tight. These four steps are a good start toward maximizing the life of your home and preventing those big-dollar repairs.

Perform Routine Maintenance

It is easy to take your heating and cooling system for granted. Generally speaking, you flip a switch or push a button and it gets to work adjusting your home’s temperature. It’s only when it breaks down that you may realize how badly you’ve been neglecting it.

Routine service work is key to keeping your air conditioner in good working order. According to Climate Works, a provider of home air conditioner in Ottawa, a qualified technician will thoroughly clean the unit inside and out, going much deeper than you can safely go. The technician will replace filters and recommend any repairs that the system may need. These suggestions will give you the chance to address a developing problem in one part before it creates damage to other parts, dramatically increasing the repair bill.

Address Leaks

Water is the single most destructive force that a home must withstand. If water begins to get into it, it can cause problems ranging from decay and mold to electrical shorts and insect infestations. Keep a close eye on your roof, windows, doors, and foundation for leaks. If you see any signs of water in the attic or notice missing shingles, have a qualified contractor check the entire roof. A new roof is expensive enough without the added costs of making repairs to the attic or ceilings.

Water in the soil is a serious problem as well. It can seep through the foundation or basement wall, slowly damaging the interior of the home. Wet areas around the foundation can also cause settling or shifting of the home, creating cracks in walls and making windows and doors stick.

Prevent Pests

No discussion of home maintenance would be complete without addressing termites. These pests are incredibly destructive, but what makes them even worse is the quiet way in which they work. Termites can literally be active for years before you even know you have them, devouring the wood components of your home and doing thousands of dollars in damage.

It’s important to monitor for termites and to take action if you find anything. It’s better to have a professional do a home inspection. Pest control technicians are trained to find even the most subtle signs of a termite problem. If something shows up, they can treat for termites with products and techniques that are not available to homeowners. Many firms offer long-term contracts for regular monitoring and treatment as well.

Understand Home Systems

In addition to the heating and cooling system, your home has a number of complex systems and appliances. Your water heater, appliances, and options like backup generators can all be very expensive to repair or replace. Being diligent in their care is essential to prevent breakdowns. Read and keep your owner’s manuals, warranty information, and service plans so that you can keep up with what you should be doing.

A good example is the water heater. Many homeowners shut off their water when they will be out of town for several days, knowing this will minimize the damage if a pipe breaks. It’s a good move, but it’s also an incomplete one. If the water heater is still on when a leak occurs, the system will quickly run dry and cause the water heater to run dry. It will quickly overheat and fail, potentially damaging the home in addition to itself. Talk to qualified maintenance and repair personnel who can advise you on how to prevent these problems.

It is easy to assume that warranties and insurance will cover the major expenditures associated with keeping up a home, but they are not enough to cover everything. Many repairs will land squarely in your checkbook. To keep the impact to a minimum, it is vitally important that you maintain your home properly and prevent as many problems as possible and reduce the impact of others. A little time and attention will pay big dividends to you in the long run.