Protect your home and family
In honor of Money Magazine's 35th anniversary, here are ways to protect your prized possessions in less than 2 days.
NEW YORK (Money Magazine) -- Unexpected repairs needed for a house or a loss of a family member can catch a person off guard. Here are steps that can be completed in two days or less to help you prepare for a sudden event.
Protect the value of your home
Devote four Saturdays a year to home maintenance and you can prevent costly repairs later. The biggest threat: water damage, which can lead to rotting and mold, says Dave MacLellan, co-author of "The National Home Maintenance Manual" and founder of Housefixit.com.
Day 1: Clean the gutters - clogs can cause water to back up into the eaves, and the acid produced by leaves and bird droppings eats away at metal. For better energy efficiency, change the air filter in your furnace.
Day 2: Water can seep in around windows and doors, so open each one to check whether dirt has clogged the weep holes, the small drains in the tracks. Unclog them with a straightened paper clip.
Next circle your home's exterior looking for gaps around windows and doors. Fill them with caulking. Also watch for protruding nails. As the temperature changes, the holes expand and contract, pushing out the nails. Replace them with galvanized nails.
Day 1: Inspect your roof from a ladder (walking on it can cause damage). Look for shingles or tiles that have loosened, slipped or blown off. You'll likely want to hire someone to install new shingles (the smallest project will start at $250); ignore the problem and one day you may have to spend $11,000 to $30,000 on a new roof.
Day 2: Repeat the fall inspection of your walls. Change your furnace's air filter again.
Look out for your family