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Home projects you shouldn’t put off

Home projects you shouldn’t put off


by Terri Gruca / KVUE News

Bio | Email | Follow: @TerriG_KVUE


Posted on May 14, 2010 at 9:27 AM

Updated Monday, May 17 at 9:17 AM

This is the time of year when most of us have pretty lengthy to do lists. And since many people are staying in their homes longer you may be wondering which projects you need to get done right away.

Angie’s List talked to contractors and service providers across the country and came up with this list of projects you can’t afford to put off:

  • Change your air filters. HVAC experts estimate that 60 percent of all service calls are the result of dirty filters. Changing air filters regularly (every month or so), especially if you have shedding pets or kids frequently running in and out, can save you up to $100 each year in energy costs.
  • Repair leaky faucets and running toilets. Doing so could save hundreds of dollars per year on your water bill. And don’t neglect your sump pump. Check the batteries and update the appliance every few years. A flooded basement will cause thousands of dollars in damages, not to mention the loss of personal possessions.
  • Check the caulking around your tub and shower for moisture penetration, which can lead to mold. Bath fixtures can avoid premature replacement if the tile surface is kept watertight, and the subsurface, usually drywall, remains dry.
  • Inspect electrical cords and outlets for signs of distortion, discoloration or cracks in the insulation, and hire an electrician to replace tired outlets that no longer hold a plug. A defective receptacle, light switch or fixture replaced during a scheduled visit will save you hundreds of dollars over an emergency repair.
  • Weatherproof windows and doors. These are the two areas with the largest amount of air transfer in both cold and hot weather. Use a digital thermometer to check the seal quality and inspect the caulking for areas that have cracked or shrunken, which will allow water to damage siding and floors. Once sealed, use a programmable thermostat to help regulate air temperature, which could save you up to 10 percent on your monthly energy bill. Consider getting a home energy audit.

 Here are some other items of interest for Austin homeowners:

  • In the past 3 months, plumbing has been the second most requested service category among members.
  • Electrical was the 7th most requested category in the same time period.
  •  In the past 6 months, Austin members have submitted nearly 100 reports about plumbing repairs and jobs.
  • The average plumbing job in that time period was $900.
  •  The average electrical job/repair in that same 6 months was $840.
  • In the past 6 months, we’ve had more than 80 member reports in the heating & a/c category. The average job was just over $2000.