Get Your Home in Shape This Year

According to a recent survey conducted by HomeAdvisor, more than half of US
homeowners (53 percent) do not engage in any annual maintenance for their home,
and only 18 percent of homeowners are very confident in their general knowledge
of their home's annual maintenance needs.

Amy Matthews, TV Host and HomeAdvisor's Home Improvement Expert, offers
homeowners five simple, useful tips to keep their homes in shape year round.

Spray Foam Insulation

According to survey findings*, 77 percent of bill-paying US homeowners are at
least somewhat concerned about their high energy bills this winter. Small holes
in foundation or siding, including anywhere pipes or wires penetrate the
envelope of the home, can cause serious heat loss and increased costs. These
small crevices can be the equivalent of having a window open all winter.

Matthews recommends using a can of spray foam insulation to seal these cracks
to help save money on energy bills.

Hot Water Heater

Hot water heaters are becoming more energy efficient, but a homeowner who is
not yet ready to upgrade can still get the best use out of their current
appliance. A helpful tip is to see if the hot water heater is warm to the
touch, and if so, to wrap it with an insulated blanket. This will help it work
more efficiently.


Homeowners who live in regions that receive heavy rain, hail or snow should be
on the lookout for water damage after large storms. Set a reminder to call a
roofing pro to inspect the roof for damage or repair needs every one to two
years. This continued maintenance will extend the life of the roof and give the
homeowner peace of mind.

Heating and Cooling Systems

Ensure the proper function of heating and cooling systems by having them
checked by a licensed heating ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC)
professional annually to prevent potential future emergency repairs. Matthews
recommends that homeowners clean or replace filters every one to three months.

Garbage Disposal

The garbage disposal is one of the most frequently used kitchen appliances and,
according to HomeAdvisor, was among the top home appliance repairs in 2012. To
avoid garbage disposal repairs, never place coffee grounds, grease, eggshells,
bones or potato skins in the disposal. Matthews recommends placing a few ice cubes
and the rinds of any citrus fruit in the disposal every few months to keep
garbage disposals clean and odor-free.