Jennifer Galluzzo remembers the day the shower floor shifted under her feet.
She says, "It had completely molded out underneath. The shower needed to be completely gutted and redone."
The culprit? A backed up bathroom vent. She learned it should be cleaned every two to four months.
Polyana da Costa with Bankrate.Com says Jennifer's story is all too common.
While there are no statistics, Bankrate says anecdotal evidence shows a growing number of homeowners simply aren't aware of, or find it tough to pony up money for, basic home maintenance, cleaning, and repair.
But by coughing up to a few hundred dollars early on, you can save thousands, even tens of thousands, down the road.
da Costa says, "When you're on a tight budget, the mentality tends to be 'why fix it if its not broken,' but instead it should be 'let's take care of it now before it becomes an issue.'"
Starting with the H-vac units, or heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. A yearly tune-up by a professional can help prevent a furnace blower breakdown.
You should also schedule an annual termite inspection.
She says, "I've seen people who have to replace an entire wall because of termites. They can do substantial damage."
So can a chimney fire, so have it sweeped and inspected for cracks each year.
Environmental inspector Robert Weitz says dryer fires are also common.
Clean out your gutters four to six times a year to prevent significant flooding and water damage. And have your roof inspected once a year.
"Over a period of time, the shingles will start to curl. They'll become deteriorated. If you put it off too long then water will enter the house."
Finally, check for mold on a regular basis. It has the potential to destroy walls, cabinets, flooring, and more.
He says, "The best places to check for mold are in the basement where water can seep in through the foundation or where water leaks end up, up in the attic for a lack of ventilation, in bathrooms."
Jennifer now has a home maintenance checklist, and the bathroom vent is at the top!