Good money management comes with preparation. Those who foresee and plan for expenses long before they have to be paid are in a better position to avoid debt in their lives. Of course not all expenses can be planned for but many of our expenses occur on a regular schedule. The seasonal maintenance required on our home is one such regularly occurring expense.
If you own a home, what do the experts recommend you do for the upcoming Spring and Summer season? A lot but fortunately, most of the items come at a low cost.
Air conditioners are expensive to purchase and repair but a little routine maintenance  will increase its life. First, a vacuum or garden hose goes a long way. Unplug the power to the unit and remove all debris. In September, purchase an air conditioner cover to keep debris from building up during the fall and winter months. Covers start at $20 and may save you from paying a costly repair bill later. Finally, some heating and air conditioning companies have fall and winter maintenance packages for your furnace and air conditioning for a reasonable price.
During the fall and winter, gutters fill with leaves and other debris from surrounding trees. Although cleaning the gutters after the leaves fall in September and October is advised, Oak trees, as well as many others, may continue dropping leave through the winter. Start the Spring and Summer out right with clean gutters and for homes with a lot of trees, gutter guards are an easy project for many do it yourselfers. According to Consumer Reports , do it yourself models outperformed the professionally installed guards and were a fraction of the price.
Garage Door Opener
You might have noticed the large springs attached to your garage door. These springs counterbalance the weight of the door making it easier for your garage door opener to open and shut the door. Unbalanced garage doors significantly reduce the life of the opener. Disengage the door from the opener and lift it to about waist height. The door should stay in place or fall slowly. If it is out of balance, hire a pro to balance the spring. This is a modest cost compared to replacing the opener but because these springs are dangerous, the do it yourselfer is best advised to steer clear  of this repair.
The weight of snow and ice can produce dangerous situations. Cut tree branches away from your home to reduce the amount of insects and debris reaching your roof. Examine the trees for major cracks and if you see that the tree is leaning or appears dead, hire a tree service to take it down. You’ll get the best prices if you get the work done while the temperatures are still cold but remember to get multiple estimates. Finally, if you neglect a dangerous tree and it damages your neighbor’s property, you may have to pay for repairs to their property. Take care of any dangerous branches that could cause damage if it falls.
Consumer Reports  has a list of Spring repair ideas to consider. Not everything has to be done every year but just like your car, neglected maintenance often results in costly repairs down the road.
(Photo: Dan4th )