Checklist: Make Your Home Run Efficiently

February 9th, 2012 by The Responsibility Project

Getting the most out of your home and appliances.

Brought to you by Liberty Mutual's
The Responsibility Project

Homeowners should always be aware of how their homes are running, from the safety of their electricity source to the lifespan of their appliances. That is why we’ve assembled a helpful overview of how to get the most out of your home, from systems to appliances.

Systems Checklist
Make sure you can watch that new flat screen and stay warm in the winter.

• Electrical: Today’s technology taxes older systems. Upgrade your service if your outlets or light switches fail or if ground-fault interrupters (GFIs) or breakers trip. Before calling an electrician for an assessment, map out areas where you need more power and note spots for additional outlets, especially GFIs close to water sources.
• Plumbing: If yours is more than 20 years old, consider an annual inspection by a pro. Look for warning signs – small leaks, corrosion, faucet drips, slow or clogging drains.
• Heating-Ventilation-Air Conditioning: For greatest efficiency, have your HVAC system cleaned and serviced at least once a year, and replace air filters as recommended. If your equipment is more than 10 years old, consider replacing it. Energy Star-qualified units may cut nearly $200 from your annual utility bill.

Appliance 911: Fix or Nix?
Here are some common scenarios to help you decide, plus how long you can typically expect these major workhorses to last.

Dishwasher Life Expectancy: 9 years
Fix: Leak? Check for broken door latch or bad motor pump seal. Won’t drain? Make sure garbage disposer is clear.
Nix: If the motor fails or if leak repairs will be too expensive.

Dryer Life Expectancy: 13 years
Fix: Clothes take too long to dry? Clean exhaust duct all the way to the outside. Replace plastic or foil duct with metal.
Nix: If motor fails.

Washer Life Expectancy: 10 years
Fix: Vibrating during spin cycle? Check for solid footing. Adjust leg height to level, or reinforce floor with plywood screwed to the joists.
Nix: If drive motor or transmission breaks.

Stove Life Expectancy: 15 years gas; 13 electric
Fix: Gas burner doesn’t light or lights only partially? Clean holes with a needle. Electric burner element fails? Buy a new one.
Nix: If repair will cost more than half the price of a new unit.

Microwave Life Expectancy: 9 years
Fix: Broken or damaged? Don’t mess with high voltages and electromagnetic radiation. Call a pro for any repairs.
Nix: If the magnetron is ruined from running the microwave empty or using metal pans.

To learn more about protecting your home, visit Liberty Mutual’s home insurance site for tips, tools, resources and more.