19 Home Maintenance Tasks & Savings Tips for American Homeowners to do Before November

Posted by Marie Laurent October 27, 2020

October means getting our homes ready for the winter... and saving some money while we're at it.

With autumn in full swing there's a lot to do around the home to get prepared for the cooler weather. Here are 19 things you can do right away to prevent costly repairs and save money on bills. Got something to add? Leave a comment on our post!

  1. Check The Insulation in Your Attic – and Install More If Needed.

    Important: Proper insulation keeps your home warmer in the winter but also cooler in the summer!

    If you have an unfinished attic, pop your head up there and take a look around. You should see insulation up there between the beams, and there should be at least twelve inches of it everywhere (more if you live in the northern part of the United States). Experts suggest an R-Value of R38 to prevent cold/hot air leakage.

    If there’s inadequate insulation up there – or the insulation you have appears to be damaged – install new insulation. Many states offer financial incentives, up to a 75% refund for instance, to encourage homeowners to better insulate their homes.

  2. Automate Your Thermostat & HVAC system

    One of the easiest things you can do to instantly start saving money on your heating and cooling bills is to get an automated thermostat. These smart thermostats will learn when you are home and make sure the home is at a comfortable setting during those hours so you're not cooling the house when no one is around to enjoy it. They also learn when you're going to be home so they can adjust the temperature before you step in the door to ensure your house is always comfortable!

    Last year I replaced all of the thermostats in my house with the Nest learning thermostat. It learns your schedule to keep your home comfortable when you are home.

  3. Homeowners are Ditching Their Home Insurance and Doing This Instead

    Here's How Some Very Smart American Homeowners Are Getting $536 Back a Year on Average

    Still unknown to many homeowners is a brilliant new website being dubbed as "The Amazon of Home insurance" that could benefit millions of Americans and reduce their monthly payments by as much as $536 per year! You could bet the home insurance companies aren't too thrilled about losing all that profit and might secretly hope homeowners don't figure out how to use this site View My Savings Eligibility Now »

    URGENT: So many homeowners could still benefit today, but sadly, many do not realize that this site exists. Remember, this home insurance rate comparison tool is a free tool and there's absolutely NO COST to see if you qualify for significant savings. This can save you $536 every year on your home insurance bills. See if you qualify now before it's gone »

    So while the insurance companies are happy that most homeowners haven't figured this out, we are urging homeowners to take advantage. The good news is that once you're in, you're in. If lowering your payments and putting some cash out back in your wallet would help you, it's vital you act now and see if you could qualify for significant savings in today's marketplace.

    How do I qualify?

    Step 1: Click how long you've been in your home below to instantly check your eligibility for free.

    Step 2: View your new lower rate and save money!

    How many years have you owned your home?

  4. Check Outlets & Power Cords

    Electrical appliances are the 4th leading cause of fires in the home and many can be prevented by a simple check of the health of your cords and outlets.

    All you have to do is walk around your home and inspect your cords, outlets and surge protectors. Make sure the cords are not frayed, especially paying attention to where they have to bend. Confirm there are not burn marks around any outlets and spend a minute or so with each outlet and surge protector listening for any zips or zaps. Replace any that do.

    This is also a good opportunity to unplug any electrical devices that you don't regularly use and may be leaching electricity and costing you money (especially those that have those big black wall-wart transformers -- those are notorious for drawing power when the device they supply power to are off: you should be able to tell if the transformer feels warm to the touch).

  5. Never Pay Out-of-Pocket For Home Repairs Again

    Warning: Not Having a Home Warranty Leaves You at Risk...

    Homeowners know better than anybody: if it can go wrong it will go wrong. When purchasing new construction, buyers are often given an option to purchase a home warranty that covers home repairs on everything from microwaves to roofs. What many people don't know is that almost any homeowner is eligible to get a home warranty for their existing homes. Think of it as insurance for the things that break all the time in your home.

    When homeowners get the best price on a home warranty many are shocked that the cost is so low compared to the many thousands of dollars homeowners spend on repairs and contractors. Home warranties give you peace of mind AND can save you thousands of dollars on covered expensive repairs. Next time something covered breaks or needs repair you'll be able to get it fixed immediately by a qualified professional contractor, regardless of what's in your bank account.

    Get A Free Home Warranty Quote »

  6. Use Coke To Clear Clogged Drains

    A clogged drain can be a nightmare. When a drain clogs, you may not have the necessary chemicals or supplies to fix it immediately. Instead of waiting and hoping for the water to go down the drain, you may be able to unclog your drain with Coke, which contains phosphoric acid that will eat through the clog.

    1. Clean the area around the sink drain to remove any debris. Shine a flashlight down into the drain, and use tweezers to remove any large debris such as hair or food from the drain.
    2. Open a 2-liter bottle of Coke. Pour it steadily into the drain so you can avoid splashing it everywhere.
    3. Allow any foam to subside, then continue pouring the Coke down the drain until you empty the 2-liter bottle.
    4. Allow the Coke to sit in the drain overnight. In the morning, run hot water down the drain for 5 to 10 minutes to rinse it.
    5. Repeat the process if the drain still appears clogged. Allow the Coke to eat away at the clog overnight, then rinse the drain with hot water.

  7. Want To Be A Home Maintenance Pro?

    Get Your FREE 80 Page "Ultimate Home Maintenance Guide"

    With this expert-sourced guide you'll learn the cadence and step-by-step guide to maintaining your home and preventing expensive repairs.

    Stay up to date on the oft-forgotten maintenance of your appliances, flooring, foundation, water heater, plumbing, electrical and more. Learn about the simple tools that can handle almost all projects, and how some simple touchups can prevent breakdowns of your most expensive appliances.

    Maintaining your home is not only financially prudent, but will help keep your family safe from the common causes of house fires, flooding and more.

    Just enter your email and we'll send it to you now!

  8. Use WD-40 For EVERYTHING

    You already use WD-40 to loosen bolts and stop squeaking hinges, but did you know it could do these other amazing things around your house?

    1. Waterproof your shoes and boots. WD-40 works by displacing water (WD stands for Water Displacement) so it can be a great waterproofer in a pinch if it's wet or snowy out! For a longer lasting treatment, try beeswax.
    2. Wipe away stains on shower glass. Spray and rub away stains from circular saw and hacksaw blades. Honestly I'm not entirely sure if the stains are still there and the WD-40 makes them invisible, or if it actually dissolves them — all I know is that my glass door looks great after a light rub down!
    3. Get rid of sticky goos. WD-40 dissolves tough sticky and gluey materials with ease (sap, price tags, soft glue, duct tape)
    4. Remove floor scuff marks and oil spots. If mopping is not doing the trick, try WD-40 to remove tough scuffs and stains. Make sure you wipe it up good though, no one wants to trip on an invisible patch of lubricated flooring!
    5. Clean the toilet. Remove lime stains from the toilet bowl by spraying in some WD-40, then just scrub with a toilet brush and flush. Note: there is conflicting evidence on the environmental impacts of this method. For an absolutely sure-fire, eco-friendly, cost-effective method, grab a pumice stone from your favorite home improvement store and give it a good scrub (gloves recommended). Hard water stains are no match for pumice, and it wont harm the porcelain. You may already have one in the bathroom cabinet for scrubbing feet — though we can't in good faith recommend using the same one for both!


  9. REMINDER Homeowners Are Saving $272/Month ($3,264/Year) Or More By Taking Advantage Of Congress's New Program in 2020

    To prevent a significant recession like we experienced in 2009, the FED has slashed rates to historical lows to ensure that home owners are able to keep monthly payments low and avoid falling behind.

    Although millions of homeowners have taken advantage of this relief program, millions more could save hundreds a month according to a recent CNBC study.

    Unfortunately, these programs have limited availability in 2020. So we are urging homeowners to verify their eligibility before these programs expire.

    Select Your State To Get Started

  10. Change ALL Your Air Filters

    Replace the air filter(s) in your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system, to keep it running more efficiently.

    Old filters have reduced air flow forcing your equipment to work harder. This causes parts like fans and blowers to wear faster, especially after a cold winter. A $10 filter can save you thousands on repair costs!

  11. Protect Your Home

    With rising unemployment and economic uncertainty comes an increase in property crimes like burglary and theft. There's no better deterrent and protection than a world class home alarm system. ADT provides a state-of-the-art smart home alarm system that makes you feel protected when you're at home and lets you have peace of mind for when you're not.

    As a special offer for our readers, ADT is providing $850 worth of equipment for $0. But it gets even better: you'll get peace-of-mind home protection, a ton of free equipment (including a really convenient wireless remote), AND a $100 Visa gift card from Protect Your Home. There's no reason not to get a free quote and protect your possessions and loved ones as soon as today.

    Protect Your Home And Get a $100 Gift Card  »

  12. Clean Your Refrigerator Coils!

    You can eliminate more than 70 percent of service calls with this simple cleaning step. Skip this chore and you’ll be contributing to your appliance repair technician’s retirement fund. Not to mention handing over $5 to $10 a month extra to your utility company because the fridge isn’t running efficiently.

    Do it twice a year or more often if you have shedding pets. Their fur clogs up the coils fast.

    Condenser coils are located on the back of the fridge or across the bottom. These coils cool and condense the refrigerant. When the coils are clogged with dirt and dust, they can’t efficiently release heat. The result is your compressor works harder and longer than it was designed to, using more energy and shortening the life of your fridge.

    Clean the coils with a coil cleaning brush and vacuum. A coil cleaning brush does a thorough job and will easily pay for itself. The refrigerator coil brush is bendable to fit in tight areas. They can be used for cleaning your dehumidifier and air conditioner coils too.

  13. Put a Bowl of Vinegar in Your Dishwasher

    Isn't it frustrating to open your dishwaher and find your "clean" dishes not so clean?

    The culprit is hard water and soap scum. Both leave spots on dishes and leave glasses cloudy. And I'm sure you like telling your guests "it's just hard water stains" when pouring their wine into a cloudy glass...

    The solution? Vinegar. This magical liquid is the answer again and again.

    Some people put vinegar in the rinse aid compartment, but we advise against that as to not run the vinegar through the internal components (it is acid, after all). Rather, fill a bowl partially with vinegar and put it on the top rack of your dishwasher.

    When the machine is running, the vinegar will mix in and dissolve those stains from your glasses, dishes, and even the dishwasher itself. What a relief!

  14. Save Money on New Windows, and Benefit from Greater Energy Efficiency

    Many people opt to replace old drafty windows at home with new energy-efficient ones. Replacing old windows can also lower your utility bill by 40% per month and increase your home’s curb appeal.

    You may also qualify to save $100s in seasonal discounts from manufacturers like Pella, Champion, and Andersen. Make sure you find the best price you can get by shopping around to compare pricing from local professionals.

    Get My Quotes For New Windows »

  15. Utilize New Policies & Discounts to Save $796 On Average Per Year on Car Insurance

    Save $796 Average Per Year With These New Policies

    You see the ads, on TV, radio, billboards… Insurance companies are fighting tooth and nail for your business. They’re constantly coming up with ways to attract customers away from their current insurer, and some drivers are finding ways to exploit that.

    Like wireless carriers and cable companies, insurance companies provide much better pricing and discounts to new customers than they do to their current customers, betting that people won’t leave them once they’re signed up.

    And they’ve been right.

    Most people are happy to stay put for several years. The thing is, rates are always changing, as are offers and discounts. There’s a very good chance you’re not getting the best rate possible.

    That’s why we recommend using this free online rate comparison tool that’s disrupting a 2 billion dollar industry by providing drivers with the best possible rates.

    If any two of these apply to you, we recommend you use this immediately to verify your eligibility for massive savings:

    • - Haven’t switched insurance companies in more than 12 months
    • - Drive less than 75 miles per day
    • - No moving violations or accidents in 24 months
    • - Recently moved
    • - Bought, leased, or sold a vehicle within 18 months

    You're NEVER LOCKED into your current policy. If you've already paid your bill, you can still cancel and receive a full refund for days remaining in your cycle.

    Here's How You Do It:

    Step 1

    Click your state on the map to instantly get your rate for free

    Step 2

    Once you enter your zip code and go through a few questions, you will have the opportunity to check for the best carrier quotes in your area for a savings of up to $796 a year.

    Select Your State

    Compare & Save Hundreds On Car Insurance »

  16. Caulk, Paint, and Seal Exterior Wood

    Exterior trim can be vulnerable to rot and deterioration. Pre-empt this expensive fix by making sure exposed wood has been treated with correct weatherproof supplies.

    Trim around doors and windows is especially susceptible to winter weathering. Most of this painting can be done yourself with some supplies from the hardware store. First identify areas where paint is chipped or flaking away. You’ll need to scrape off this chipped paint and put on a fresh coat. Same with caulking, if there are any areas where you can see it is wearing off, remove damaged caulk and apply a new coat. Given all the moisture that’s bound to come over winter you’ll be glad you did.

  17. Use Colored Dye to Check for Toilet Leaks

    Water leaking from your toilet tank will not only cost you money when it comes to your utility bill, but it can also cause water damage to your bathroom floor and premature wear of your toilet’s internal workings.

    To check if your tank is leaking drop some food coloring in the water tank and check an hour later. If the bowl shows signs of coloring (like turns pink if you use red dye) you have a bad flapper.

    If you find that your toilet is leaking from the tank to the bowl, the flapper needs to be replaced. Grab yourself a new flapper kit from Lowe's or Home Depot and check out YouTube for some great instructional videos!

  18. Clean Out Your Dryer Lint Vent

    Corral those lint bunnies. Those deceptively harmless looking little fluffs love to snuggle down in your dryer vents and lint traps. Before you know it, they multiply like, well, rabbits. Dryer lint is extremely flammable if you let it build up in the vents. You can hire someone to do this for you, or you can do it yourself and buy a vacuum attachment made specifically for cleaning out dryer vents.

    Chances are this task has not been done in years. It's okay! You know what you have to do, and you'll feel better and more safe once it's done. This will not only save you money, it will protect you, your family, and your valuables.

  19. Maintain Your Sump Pump

    Most sump pumps are equipped with water level or flood alarms, usually battery powered, that alert you if the pump isn't working properly and water is backing up. More sophisticated systems can notify your alarm company or call your cell phone if the water starts to rise. Fortunately, this shouldn't happen often. Sump pumps on the whole are quite reliable. But as with any other important piece of equipment, regular maintenance is always a good idea. Spend a few minutes every couple of months, when heavy rains are forecast and in early spring to ensure reliable sump pump operation. Basic sump pump maintenance is usually as simple as doing these few jobs.

    1. Make sure the pump is plugged in to a working ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet and the cord is in good shape. In damp areas, GFCI ­breakers may trip, effectively shutting off the sump pump. Check in on your sump pump periodically so you can reset the GFCI if necessary.
    2. Ensure the pump itself is standing upright. Vibrations during operation can cause it to fall or tilt onto one side. This can jam the float arm so it can't activate the pump.
    3. Periodically pour a bucket of water into the pit to make sure the pump starts automatically and the water drains quickly once the pump is on. If the pump doesn't start, have it serviced.
    4. Physically remove a submersible pump from the pit and clean the grate on the bottom. The sucking action of the pump can pull small stones into the grate, blocking the inlet or damaging the pump over time.
    5. Ensure the outlet pipes are tightly joined together and draining out at least 20 feet (6 meters) away from your foundation.
    6. Make sure the vent hole in the discharge pipe is clear.

  20. Flush Your Water Heater To Extend It's Life

    Regularly flushing out your water heater is an important task. Getting rid of the gunk and mineral deposits that accumulate will help your water heater run more efficiently as well as prolong its life, saving you money in the long run.

    Depending on your model, aim to flush your water heater every one to three years. Really, the job is so easy, it wouldn’t be a bother to do it at least once a year.

    However, if your heater is old and has never been flushed, it may be better to call a professional to get advice specific to your situation. On the same note, if you're not comfortable with the follow steps, always err on the side of caution.

    1. Turn the knob on your water heater’s thermostat to “Off”
    2. Turn off the gas line or electricity to the unit.
    3. Turn off the cold water supply (usually a blue knob similar to an outdoor hose spigot).
    4. Important: turn on a hot water tap in a sink or tub. This prevents a vacuum from forming in the system while draining the tank.
    5. Connect a garden hose to the drainage spigot. Then turn on the spigot and drain the entire tank.
    6. Once drained, turn back on the cold water supply to flush the tank. Look for water coming out the hose to be clear and free of sediment.

    That's it! Simple right? Once completed, just follow the steps in reverse order to get the system back up and running.

  21. Protect Your Gutters (and Entire Home) With America's #1 Gutter Guard

    Leaky & Clogged Gutters Could Cost Tens of Thousands of Dollars! Get This Done ASAP.

    Gutter cleaning is a tedious, messy, and potentially dangerous task that you have to complete year after year. With LeafFilter Gutter Protection, you can end the hassle of cleaning gutters forever.

    But when neglected, experts say gutters can turn from a necessity to a nightmare. A gutter clogged with leaves, sticks and other debris can cause a leaky roof or water damage to the interior or exterior of your home. Contractors say gunked-up gutters also make nice homes for pests, rodents, mold and honeycombs from bee infestations.

    LeafFilter’s award-winning and patented technology is scientifically designed to keep everything out of your gutters — except for water.

    With over 595,000 satisfied customers, LeafFilter is the largest gutter protection company in the nation. From coast to coast, we provide the most effective debris-blocking professionally installed gutter protection system on the market, paired with an exceptional customer experience from beginning to end.

    Protect Your Home for Life With a LeafFilter System! »

  22. Don't Forget About the Top 3 Biggest Savings Opportunities

    ✔ Compare And Save On Your Auto Insurance: Qualify For $1/Day Auto Insurance

    ✔ Get a $100 VISA Gift Card & $850 Worth of Security Equipment for $0 with ADT Click Here To Claim Your ADT Special Offer

    ✔ Get Back $536 On Your Home Insurance With This New Program Check My New Rate >>


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