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(TNS)—Unexpected repairs can cause financial stress for homeowners. When crises occur, homeowners can find themselves in a financial pinch, needing to rely on professionals like a general contractor to get the issue fixed quickly. Emergency repairs typically come with hefty price tags, but with proper planning, you can avoid draining your bank account.

Experiencing Unexpected Roof Repairs
One of the most important things to maintain is a solid roof over your head, so when that starts to deteriorate, it can quickly descend into a nightmare. Although many roofs are guaranteed for around 30 years, it’s better to take preventive action than wait until a crisis occurs to start thinking about how your house can weather the next storm.

A new roof for an average-sized house—using medium-priced asphalt shingles—can cost at least $5,000 in most parts of the country, assuming that the sheathing is still sound, says Timothy G. Wiedman, a retired professor of management from Doane University in Nebraska. Wiedman—who has bought, maintained, upgraded and sold several homes—says homeowners would be wise to start putting $600 to $700 per year into a roof replacement fund.

Handling an Unplanned HVAC Breakdown
When it comes to maintaining your heating system, don’t find yourself left out in the cold.

“This equipment will last 12 to 15 years before it should be replaced,” says Gene Amick with Climate Control Heating near Kansas City, Mo. Depending on size and efficiency, he says replacement costs range from $5,000 to $14,000.

Your best bet would be to find a local heating and cooling contractor who offers a maintenance program.

“This will prolong the life of your existing equipment,” Amick adds. “The proactive approach of being ready for the eventual changing of your equipment will save you money.”

Managing Old Window Emergencies
Old, drafty windows are a significant source of heat loss in a home.

“You’re literally throwing money right out the window,” cautions Phil Eby, owner of Eby Exteriors, Inc. in Lancaster, Pa. “Replacement windows are a home improvement necessity you should be saving for.”

In addition, he pointed out energy-efficient windows can be tax deductible, and to save more money, homeowners should look for window manufacturer rebates. In Eby’s area, replacement windows can range anywhere from $4,500 to nearly $9,000.

“It really depends on how many windows need replacing and sizes,” Eby says.

Mending Crumbling Driveways
A compromised driveway can be dangerous. Not only can someone fall, but also vehicles can be damaged. A quick fix can cost only a few hundred dollars, but depending on the length, some repairs can easily cost over $1,000, according to Teris Pantazes, CEO of home improvement platform EFynch.

For a complete repaving project, a good place to start is to ask a trusted neighbor for a recommendation. A smooth driveway not only has aesthetic appeal, but could also increase your home’s curb appeal and value should you choose to sell.

Understanding Chimney Maintenance
Blocked chimneys are a serious fire hazard, so proper cleaning is a must.

“With each chimney sweep, the professional should also inspect the chimney for cracks, nests or damage,” says Pantazes. “Gas should be every two years; wood every year.”

Typical costs are about $100 per sweep, and a maintenance contract with a reputable chimney sweep company might reduce some of these costs. DIY-ers beware: Leave this job to a professional.

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