(ANGIE'S LIST) - Too many of us wait until things around the house either break down or die altogether before we fix them.
Angie's List founder, Angie Hicks says changing this habit should be among your resolutions, and three chores to tackle first.
"Now's a great time to make a resolution to take care of the little things around your house. Even the most experienced homeowner often leaves these things go and they can cost you big in the long run," she said.
When was the last time you noticed your water heater? Never? Chances are good that you've also never done the annual chore that will keep it working well for the 12 years it's meant to run well.
"Plumbers tell us the leading cause of cracks in your water heater is the buildup of calcium and lime in the tank. That's why the flushing of the sediment each year is a real money-saver," says Hicks.
Another annual chore some of us have never done: Clearing your outside dryer vent. Fifteen thousand homes catch fire when backed-up lint and debris get too hot. A clogged vent will also have an effect on how well your dryer performs.
"Once that starts to stop up, you're still wanting to dry clothes so where it might have taken you 30 minutes to dry that laundry maybe it takes you 35 and then it's 40, and then it's 45 minutes. Well that's all a byproduct of my dryer vent is getting stopped up," says Williams Comfort Air Service Manager, Roger Elkins.
This annual chore might surprise you: deep cleaning your carpet. Pros say most carpet will look good for a decade if you take care of it well, and that means an annual deep cleaning for high-traffic areas on top of weekly vacuuming.
If you're not sure where to start, check out the Angie's List Seasonal Home Guide at Angie's List dot com in the Solution Center.
Basic maintenance does take time but Angie says it pays off because emergency repair fees can add hundreds to your replacement costs.
Also, appliances and your water heater account for nearly one-third of your energy bill. Still need a reason to do your chores?
System failures rarely happen at a convenient time.
Doing these and other chores will help you avoid that stress.