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healthy_home_furnace(TNS)—It’s the time of year when we’re inundated with articles on how to be healthy, start good-for-you habits and dump the bad ones. But, what about giving some attention to another major investment in your life—your home.

To help get your home in tip-top shape, here are five healthy home habits to start in the upcoming year:

1. Create a home maintenance and repair budget
Don’t break the bank when your washing machine stops or the hot water heater leaks. Create a budget now for expected maintenance projects, and set aside extra funds for those unexpected, emergency repairs that always seem to occur at the most inopportune time. According to financial pros, you can expect to spend about one to four percent of your home’s value annually on repairs and maintenance.

2. Clean refrigerator condenser coils
Help your refrigerator live longer and stay cool by cleaning the condenser coils. Appliance repair pros say it’s the No. 1 refrigerator maintenance task. Condenser coils, which are located under or behind the refrigerator, eventually become covered with dust and pet hair. Keeping the condenser coils clean can save up to 10 percent on your energy bill. A professional cleaning costs around $100. However, you can do it yourself with a vacuum cleaner and an inexpensive coil brush.

3. Service your garage door
Regular garage door maintenance ensures safety and helps prevent costly repairs. In many houses, the garage door is the most used door—and it’s a big, heavy one. Hire a garage door pro to check the tracks, rollers and hinges; tighten screws and bolts and lubricate the moving parts. According to professionals and Angie List members, garage door inspections cost $40 to $100.

4. Hire a chimney sweep
Regardless of whether you use a wood-burning fireplace or a gas log fireplace. A gas fireplace burns clean, meaning there’s no creosote or soot, but you want to be sure the ceramic logs, valves and connections work properly. A gas log fireplace poses the risk of carbon dioxide poisoning if not properly ventilated.

For wood-burning fireplaces, highly flammable creosote builds up in the chimney walls and can cause a fire if not removed. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) advises hiring a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) Certified Chimney Sweep.

Also, inspect the chimney for debris, such as bird nests or other objects that could block ventilation.

5. Schedule a furnace tune-up
Annual furnace inspections and cleanings cost less than $100, but can potentially save you hundreds of dollars in repairs by keeping your HVAC system in optimal working condition and catching problems early. HVAC maintenance contracts typically cost $150 to $500 per year. Don’t forget to change the furnace filter as a clogged air filter puts extra stress on your HVAC system.

Oseye Boyd is a reporter at Angie’s List.

©2016 Angie’s List
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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