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Maintenance tips keep big expenses at bay

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Routine home maintenance can save homeowners a bundle, but need not cost a fortune. The following maintenance items can typically be performed by the homeowner for less than $25 each.

?Sealing roof flashing can prevent roof leakage.

?Cleaning gutters prevents improper roof drainage and basement leaks.

?Caulking exterior trim, windows and doors prevents water seepage and leaks.

?Replacing missing roof shingles prevents leaks.

?Installing extensions, downspouts or splash blocks to gutters prevents basement leaks, flooding and soil erosion.

?Applying deck preservative avoids premature wood aging and wear.

?Properly trimming trees that grow near the house and roof prevents damage to the roof and siding.

?Preemptive grouting of bathroom and bathtub tile can stop loose tiles from falling out, a condition that would lead to water seepage.

?Cleaning and replacing kitchen exhaust fan filters can prevent fire.

?Checking the foundation and structure for termite tubes or evidence of carpenter ants, and taking action when they are found, prevents structural damage.

?Cleaning dryer vents prevents clogging and the danger of fire.

?Cleaning air system ducts minimizes dirt and mold buildup that can cause allergies.

?Filling in low spots around the foundation with soil prevents basement leaks and flooding.

?Changing furnace and air conditioning filters helps prevent clogged filters that reduce efficiency and useful life.

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