Your HVAC system breaks down in the middle of summer. You need to get it fixed immediately but you don't have the money. Repairs are often unexpected, but if you want to be able to afford them, you need to be able to anticipate them in your monthly budget. How? Here are three tips:
1. RULES OF THUMB
While you can't know exactly what's going to break down or when, you can at least get a basic idea of how much to save. Experts recommend putting aside between one and two percent of your home's purchase price for maintenance and repairs each year. So if you paid $400,000 for your home, you should save between $4,000 and $8,000 annually. In round figures, that means figuring between $350 and $650 into your monthly budget.
2. CREATE AN EMERGENCY FUND
It's doubtful that you'll actually end up spending $650 in home repairs every month. However, setting aside that much will allow you to create an emergency fund for when things go wrong. Put it into a separate account and don't use that money for anything other than home repairs. The more money you can put away, the more of a cushion you'll have when disaster strikes.
And eventually, no matter how careful you are, disaster may strike. You may go a whole year with hardly any repairs to make at all. But then the next year, you might need a whole new roof, or an overhaul of your ductwork. With an emergency fund, you're prepared for anything.
3. INVEST IN HOME MAINTENANCE
While you can't prevent disaster, you can certainly mitigate it. Another thing to include in your monthly budget is basic home maintenance. For example, an HVAC inspection every spring and fall will help keep your system running smoothly, reducing the likelihood that it will break down. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and investing a little bit in maintenance now could mean saving a lot in repairs later.
Visit our website to schedule an HVAC inspection for this spring, or just give us a call at (408) 868-5500.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the South Bay Peninsula and Santa Cruz areas of California about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).