You may be well aware of the costs of homeownership, including the many possible repair issues that can pop up. Home repairs can often be unpredictable and expensive, causing unnecessary stress.
While you can’t avoid or predict every home repair, regular home maintenance can make a big difference. If you are proactive in the upkeep of your home, it can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
Here are a few preventative tasks that can rescue you from major damage and costly repairs down the line.
It may seem obvious, but your roof is one of the most important structural components of your home. It’s safe to say that nobody would describe their roof as “inessential.”
Despite this, many people put off hiring a roofer to fix small leaks or loose shingles. Over time, that can lead to mold growth or massive structural damage. By the time this happens, fixing the problem can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
At this point, even those with homeowners’ insurance may find themselves out of luck. Most policies only cover sudden damage that couldn’t have been prevented with proper maintenance.
To avoid this, inspect your roof (or have a licensed roofer do it) at least twice a year. Look out for things like cracks, missing shingles, bubbled paint, and water stains.
Few things are more devastating than a house fire. Sadly, they’re more common than you might imagine. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there were 379,500 residential building fires in 2014 which resulted in over $6.9 billion in damages.
Many common causes of these fires are preventable, and 3 out of 5 home fire deaths happen in homes with no working smoke alarms. Smoke alarms should be installed in each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the house, including the basement and attic. Make sure to test your smoke detectors monthly by pressing the “test” button and replace batteries regularly.
If you have a fireplace, make sure to have your chimney cleaned and inspected regularly.
Hopefully, you’re already in the habit of cleaning the lint from inside your dryer after each load of laundry. Don’t forget to also have a handyman remove the lint from inside the exhaust vent from time to time. Dryer lint is highly flammable and regular dryer lint removal is vital, but often overlooked.
Outdated or damaged wiring is another common problem, especially in older homes. If your house is over 20 years old, it may not have the wiring capacity to handle modern electrical appliances, such as computers and widescreen TVs.
Older appliances may have faulty cords, receptacles or switches, making them dangerous to use. Always make sure to have outdated and defective appliances replaced or professionally repaired.
It’s also important to plug appliances directly into an outlet. Extension cords are not designed for long term use, and this misuse is another cause of fires.
If you’re not sure about the condition of your wiring, don’t hesitate to hire a licensed electrician to inspect your electrical system. And if you don’t have outlets for your appliances in all needed locations, have new ones installed.
Most people don’t think about their home’s foundation until it cracks, leaks, or bulges. This is a costly mistake that can be avoided if you act to prevent foundation damage before it happens.
The most common cause of foundation problems is water. Look out for water puddling near your foundation after a rainstorm. If you see puddles, you need to find a way to direct the water away from your house. Potential solutions include installing a French drain and making sure your yard is properly graded. Keeping your gutters clean and free of debris is the simplest way to keep water a safe distance away.
And if you do notice any hairline cracks, make sure to have them cleaned and filled before they become major.
Another issue with leaving cracks and gaps unsealed is that they can become entry points for termites. The longer a termite infestation goes unnoticed, the more expensive it will be to address. If you spot the termites early, you can get rid of them with a spot treatment that costs a few hundred dollars. If you allow them to spread out, you’ll have to have your home tented and fumigated. This will cost thousands of dollars and 3-4 days.
To avoid this, make sure to have cracks sealed and dead trees removed from your property. You may also want to consider an annual termite inspection.
Sewer System Backup
When most people think of home plumbing problems, they might imagine a clogged sink or toilet. Unfortunately, plumbing issues can become much more urgent and expensive than a simple clog, especially in older homes.
Without regular maintenance, your home’s entire sewer system can become backed up. This messy problem costs around $10,000 to remedy.
Luckily, there are simple and inexpensive ways to maintain your home’s plumbing and keep your sewer system from clogging. The easiest way to keep your drains free and clear is to use an enzyme cleaner once a month.
Tree roots are the leading cause of clogged sewers, so it’s best to keep trees and bushes away from your sewer line. Tree roots cause clogs by growing into the pipes. They can also strangle and destroy your pipes if the problem is unaddressed.
An annual rooter cleaning is the most reliable way to keep your sewer line free of serious clogs. A yearly rooter cleaning is fine for most newer homes. If your pipes are older or have been clogged often in the past, your house may need two or more rooter cleanings a year.
While home maintenance may seem like another unwanted expense, avoiding it can be much more expensive in the long run. Once these preventative tasks become routine, you won’t have to worry about larger, unexpected repairs and unnecessary damage to your home.
Still not sure what you need to do to maintain your home, or when to do it? Homeowners Hub will be rolling out a maintenance calendar with auto-scheduling and email reminders for subscribers soon!