Having a place of your own requires you to do housework, whether you want to or not. Regardless of if you live in a house, apartment, condo, townhome or even a mobile home, there are certain items in your home that you NEED to have regular maintenance conducted. If you don’t maintain these certain items, you could be looking at spending THOUSANDS of dollars by replacing them. So, don’t stress out your bank account. Get these items what they need now before it’s too late!

Air Conditioning Unit

Did you know hundredths of an inch of dust or dirt build up could cut your air conditioner’s efficiency by over 20%? It’s true! It’s also a good idea to ensure nothing is growing around or on your AC unit. If it is, it can cut the unit’s efficiency as well and your energy bills will be higher because of it. That’s why it’s a good idea to get a yearly tune-up on your air conditioning unit. An annual cleaning of your AC can cost you around $100, but it can also double the unit’s lifespan. If you neglect your AC unit, not only will it break when you need it most, but it can cost you over $5,000 to replace!


Did your parents make you clean the gutters of your childhood home when you were young? Buckle up, this chore isn’t over for you yet! You should be cleaning your gutters at least twice a year, depending on where you live. If you live in a place where there are many trees, cleaning your gutters at least seasonally—or on an as-needed basis—is a good idea. Removing the leaves, sticks and other debris from your gutters and from around your downspouts is extremely important. If you clean them yourself, it will cost you virtually no money at all! All you need is a ladder, a scoop, some gloves and potentially some yard waste bags. If you don’t ever clean your gutters, they could overflow, sag or even completely break and then cause water leaks inside your home! Completely replacing your gutters can cost between $600-$2,400; it all depends on what type of material you want your gutters to be (vinyl, aluminum, steel, copper, covered, etc.) and how many square feet you need. Throw in some water damage to your house from the leaks and the repair cost continues to skyrocket.

Decking and Fencing

Do you have a wood deck for entertaining? What about a wood fence around your yard? Or do you have both? Either way, you should be annually staining your deck and/or fence. Staining either object isn’t much fun. It’s also labor intensive, but it needs to be done if you want to make them last for a while. Not everyone has the budget to afford high-quality stains, but there are stains that cost around $20 per gallon and are more budget friendly. The amount of stain you need depends on the square footage of your deck or fence. The cost for brushes can also run you between $10-$20. But buying the stain and the brushes is much cheaper than paying someone to come out and do it for you. If you don’t do the annual maintenance, it will cost you. Replacing a deck can be upwards of $5,000 depending on the size and materials you use. Replacing a fence can cost you up to $6,000 depending on how high you want it to be, the amount of fencing you need and the materials you use.


If you live in an apartment or a condo, you probably don’t have to worry about maintaining a driveway. But for the rest of us, we do have to do maintenance on our driveways. If you have an asphalt or a blacktopped driveway, it’s relatively easy to maintain. Patch material or sealer only costs $2-$2.50 per square foot to fill in normal wear-and-tear cracks. The only downside here is getting the driveway re-sealed annually. That can cost around $440. But it’s better than paying between $1,000-$3,000 to replace the driveway completely! Normal wear-and-tear on concrete driveways is also relatively inexpensive to repair; rubberized or synthetic crack fillers only cost up to $0.15 per square foot. If you neglect your driveway though, it can cost you a lot of money to replace it. For a 750 square foot concrete driveway, it can cost around $1,600 to replace!

Grouting and Caulking Tubs/Showers

The grout and caulk in your showers and bathtubs are there for a reason:  to prevent leaks! If you regularly re-grout or re-caulk places that need it, your shower and bathtub will be in good shape and shouldn’t leak. Grout and caulk can cost around $10-$25 per square foot, depending on what you use and how much you need based on your shower/tub size. The labor is totally free if you grout/caulk it yourself! But if you don’t take good care of your shower or tub, your wallet could be in for a world of hurt. Replacing your tub or shower could cost you up to $2,000! If you had water leaks from not caulking or grouting and now have water damage or mold, it could cost you an extra $1,000 to fix it.

Clothes Dryer Exhaust

Do you clean your clothes dryer’s filter after each use? Good job if you do. But do you also have the dryer’s exhaust cleaned out annually? Got you there, didn’t we? Lint build-up occurs in the exhaust tubes/vents of your dryer, which poses a fire hazard and can decrease the efficiency of your dryer. The average cost to have someone clean the exhaust once a year is around $130. If you don’t get it cleaned out, you could pay up to $1,750 for a brand-new dryer or you could pay THOUSANDS to find a new place to live and replace your belongings if a fire starts because of the lint in the exhaust. We suggest getting it cleaned out.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Every time you spring ahead or fall back, you should check to see if your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly. If you find the batteries are dead, replace them! A 9V battery for these devices costs around $4 each. If you find the detectors themselves aren’t working even after a battery change, new monitors can cost around $10 each. Replacing either the batteries or the detectors in your home is a heck of a lot cheaper than replacing your ENTIRE home or having to deal with the grief that comes from losing a loved one.

Replace Your Furnace Filter

Much like the lint trap on your dryer, your furnace filter collects a lot of lint, dust, dirt and debris. You should replace your furnace filter monthly in order to keep your furnace running efficiently! Depending on the type and brand of filters you use, you’ll probably pay on average of $30 per pack of furnace filters. If you neglect your furnace and let months or years of debris build up on a filter, you’ll end up clogging your furnace, decreasing its efficiency and then you’ll need to replace it. It can also be a fire hazard. A brand-new furnace can cost you around $4,000, so make sure you’re not one of those people that pay no mind to changing the filter! If you want to save yourself money in the long run, conducting routine maintenance on these items in your home will do just the trick!