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Home Projects You Shouldn’t Ignore

By: American Heritage06.20.24
Young male plumber fixing a sink

Let’s be honest, home improvement projects can feel overwhelming. Between work, family, and that ever-growing to-do list, it’s easy to put them off for another day. But consider this: Tackling a few key projects now can save you a lot of trouble (and money) down the road. Here’s a quick rundown of some home maintenance tasks that shouldn’t be ignored.


Roof Repairs

The roof over your head does more than keep you dry; it protects the entire structure of your home. Small leaks can quickly turn into significant water damage affecting ceilings, walls, and even the foundation of your house. Inspecting your roof regularly and making timely repairs can save you from the headache of extensive renovations and preserve the value of your home. Remember, water damage from a leaky roof can also lead to mold and mildew issues, putting your family’s health at risk.


Best Practices:

  • Schedule a professional roof inspection at least once a year, especially before winter.
  • Look for signs of wear and tear, such as missing or damaged shingles, loose flashing, or moss growth.
  • Address any minor leaks or repairs promptly to prevent them from becoming major problems.
  • Trim branches near your roofline to avoid possible damage.

    HVAC Maintenance

    Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is vital to your home’s comfort. Regular maintenance, like changing filters, cleaning ducts, and servicing the equipment, can significantly extend its lifespan. These steps not only ensure efficient operation (saving you money on energy bills) but also prevent the sudden failure of the system, which can be expensive to replace.


    Best Practices:

    • Replace your air filters according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, typically every one to three months.
    • Schedule professional cleaning of your air ducts every two to five years, depending on usage and pet dander.
    • Have a qualified technician inspect and service your HVAC system annually, ideally before the peak cooling or heating season.

    Plumbing Fixes

    A dripping faucet might not seem like an emergency, but even small leaks can waste gallons of water every day, increasing your water bill. What’s more, undetected leaks within walls can cause extensive damage over time. Addressing clogged drains and leaky pipes promptly can prevent more severe problems, like burst pipes, which can lead to expensive and inconvenient repairs.


    Best Practices:

    • Regularly inspect your faucets, toilets, and showerheads for leaks. Tighten loose handles and replace worn-out gaskets as needed.
    • For stubborn clogs, try a drain snake or plunger before using harsh chemicals.
    • If you’re not comfortable tackling a plumbing issue yourself, don’t hesitate to call a licensed plumber.

      Electrical Updates

      Electrical issues are not just inconvenient; they pose a significant safety hazard. Flickering lights, humming outlets, and frequent breaker trips are signs that your home’s electrical system might be overburdened or outdated. Upgrading your electrical system can prevent fire hazards and accommodate modern appliances, ensuring your home is safe and functional.


      Best Practices:

      • Avoid overloading circuits with too many appliances.
      • Never attempt electrical work yourself unless you are a qualified electrician.
      • Have a licensed electrician inspect your home’s electrical system periodically, especially if your home is older or you’ve added new appliances.
      • Be sure ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are installed in kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas with high moisture content.

        Dryer Vent Cleaning

        Did you know? Lint buildup in your dryer vent is a leading cause of house fires. Regularly cleaning your dryer vent can significantly reduce this risk. Plus, a clean vent improves your dryer’s efficiency, reducing the energy needed to dry your clothes and extending the lifespan of your appliance.


        Best Practices:

        • Disconnect your dryer from the electrical outlet before cleaning the vent.
        • Pull out the dryer vent hose and remove any lint buildup inside the hose and dryer vent opening.
        • Use a dryer vent cleaning brush or vacuum cleaner attachment to clean the entire length of the vent.
        • Repeat this process at least once a year or more often if you have pets that shed a lot.

          Gutter Cleaning

          Gutters help direct rainwater away from your home’s foundation, roof, and walls. When clogged with leaves and debris, water in the gutters can overflow and cause damage to your home’s exterior or lead to basement flooding. Cleaning your gutters, especially before the rainy season and winter, can prevent costly water damage and protect your home’s structural integrity.


          Best Practices:

          • Clean your gutters at least twice a year, once in the spring and again in the fall.
          • Use a sturdy ladder and wear gloves to protect your hands while cleaning.
          • Be careful not to overload the gutters: Remove large debris like branches and clumps of leaves first.
          • Consider installing gutter guards to prevent leaves and debris from accumulating in the first place.

            Foundation Fixes

            Signs of foundation issues, like cracks or uneven floors, can be alarming. These issues can worsen over time, leading to severe structural damage. Early action can prevent minor problems from becoming major challenges, safeguarding your home and your investment.


            Best Practices:

            • Conduct regular visual inspections of your foundation for cracks, especially around crawl spaces, basement walls, and door and window frames.
            • Monitor your doors and windows for sticking or uneven gaps, which can indicate foundation movement.
            • Address any minor cracks promptly by contacting a professional foundation repair contractor.
            • For extensive foundation issues, seek professional advice from a structural engineer to determine the best course of action.

              Taking Charge of Your Home Maintenance

              Keeping up with home maintenance can feel like a never-ending chore, but the good news is that you can tackle many of these projects yourself with a little research and some elbow grease. However, it’s always best to call in a professional for certain jobs, like electrical work.


              American Heritage Credit Union Is Here to Help

              The cost of some home improvement projects can add up quickly. That’s where American Heritage Credit Union can help. A home equity line of credit (HELOC) from American Heritage can provide you with the funds you need to tackle those important home maintenance projects, all at a competitive interest rate. With a HELOC, you borrow only what you need, and you pay interest only on the amount you use.

              So don’t wait until a small problem becomes a major headache (and expense). Reach out to American Heritage Credit Union to learn more about how a HELOC can help you keep your home in top shape.



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