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5 Bad Home Maintenance Habits to Leave Behind in 2013

We all have a few bad habits (except Channing Tatum, he’s perfect in every way). It could be that you’re always a few minutes late to meetings, maybe you haven’t made your bed since 2010 or perhaps you tend to go just a little too fast on the highway. Little stuff like that.

As a homeowner, you probably have a few bad habits, too. Except there aren’t any highway patrolmen to write you a ticket for them. We don’t want to play the bad cop, but it is the season for resolutions, so we figured it was the perfect time to point out a few foibles you might be guilty of around the house. Ditch these five bad habits in 2013!

1. Ignoring your furnace. Your furnace works hard to keep you nice and toasty in your home, but a lot of people give this vital system the cold shoulder. Depending on the type of furnace, you may need to change your filter as often as once a month to keep it running properly. A furnace can cost as much as $10,000 to replace, so you want yours to last! Make a point to change your filter regularly in 2013. Need help keeping track? Sign up for a free BrightNest account and we’ll send you reminders.

2. Abusing toilets and drains. We may live in the age of smart phone controlled lights and 4G internet, but that doesn’t mean your toilets and drains are invincible. As much as humanly possible, avoid putting things like grease, oil, coffee grounds, egg shells or animal fat down your drain. For your porcelain throne, avoid flushing diapers, feminine items, cleaning wipes or paper towels. All of these items can create a clogged sanitary sewer line if they get stuck in the pipe.

3. Skimping on home inspections. If you don’t use areas like your attic or basement frequently, it’s easy to forget about them entirely. However, these “fringe” spots are more prone to floods, rodent infestation and mold outbreaks than other parts of your house. Earmark your 2013 calendar for a basement and attic inspection every six months – it could save you a lot of hassle and heartache!

4. Neglecting your smoke detector.  If your house catches on fire, you want to know about it, right? Testing your smoke detectors takes 10 minutes, and it could very well save your life. If you’ve been a neglectful smoke detector owner in 2012, be sure to check them every three months or so in the New Year.

5. Not saving enough money. It’s important to set aside some money for home maintenance each year to prevent unexpected costs from becoming unaffordable disasters. That way, if you get slammed with an unanticipated basement flood, you’re not maxing out credit cards to take care of it. A good rule of thumb is to try and save 1-3 percent of your house’s initial price each year. If you have money left over from this year, roll it over to 2013!

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