We enjoy having assets like homes and cars, but these items require maintenance in order to function for as long as possible. Just like a car needs oil changes and lubrication, your home needs to be assessed on a regular basis. A leaky faucet or a crack in the wall may not seem like a big deal, but if you let it go for too long, it can turn into a major repair – not a cheap fix.
Want to save money and avoid expensive home repairs? It starts with regular maintenance. It’ll take some time and money up front, but with some preventative maintenance, you can stay on top of the small problems before that leaks starts draining your wallet. Read on to discover which major home repairs you can avoid with proper maintenance.
Inspect your roof at least once a year and look for any signs of damage. If you have a leak or a loose shingle, it may cost a few hundreds of dollars to fix it. That’s chump change compared to the $10,000 you may need to replace the roof. But that’s not all. A leak can seep into the attic and cause damage to the joints and beams. Water can also contribute to mold growth. When it’s all said and done, you’re looking at thousands of dollars in damage – and your homeowner’s insurance won’t cover it because it could have been prevented with proper maintenance. Take the time to look for loose or broken shingles as well as moisture, mold and leaks. Look around the chimney for any cracks in the flashing.
If your home is equipped with central heating and air conditioning, you’ll need to check your system for proper functioning twice a year. A fuse or circuit replacement may cost a few hundred dollars, while a compressor may cost $1,000 or more. However, that’s still cheaper than paying $8,000 to replace the entire unit. A professional can clean and lubricate the parts, check the connections, replace coolant, and tighten loose coils. This inspection is relatively affordable at $100 or so, and it’s well worth the cost. You can, however, do your part by replacing your air filter every three months or so. You can make sure the thermostat is working properly. You can open up the HVAC system and use a vacuum to remove dirt. Check for clogs in the drain and tighten any loose connections. Finally, check for any squeaks or weird noises that require attention.
A clogged sewer pipe is no laughing matter. If you have trees on your property, it’s not uncommon for tree roots to become clogged in the pipes, causing breakage. A broken sewer pipe can cause a flood or backup that can cost $10,000 or more to clean up. An annual sewer line inspection is a great investment in the health of your home, especially if you have an older home or a home surrounded by trees. Bamboo and fig trees are especially known to cause sewer line damage. An inspection costs about $150 – just 1/100th of what you could end up paying for a major repair. A plumber can run a camera into the pipe and let you know if there are any obstructions so you can prevent major issues before they occur.
Termites love to inhabit houses because they’re made of their favorite food: wood. Termites may be little, but they can cause a ton of damage. That’s why it’s in your best interest to get an annual inspection. For under $150, you can get peace of mind. If you do have termites, you can get rid of them before they spread. It may cost a few hundred dollars to get rid of them if they are confined to one spot, but once they spread, expect to pay up to $4,000 to get them removed. On top of that, you’ll have to pay for the tens of thousands of dollars in structural damage to your home. Signs of termites include termite feces - which look like coffee grounds – as well as swollen ceilings and floors, mazes within walls, buckling wood and a moldy smell.
Water heaters are typically placed in the garage and are often left neglected until there’s major trouble. A leak or broken pipe can cause flood damage, with the average cost of repair more than $4,000. However, most repairs are easier and much less expensive if caught ahead of time. Look for signs such as rust in the water, popping sounds, rust and puddles around the water heater and water that doesn’t get hot anymore. The average lifespan of a water heater is 10 years, so if you’ve had it for longer than that, it may be time for a replacement.
You definitely don’t want to mess with the electrical components of your house unless you enjoy partaking in risky behavior. Electrocution can be deadly. If you see any faulty wiring or discover any electrical outlets that are loose, have a professional take a look as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the higher your risk of starting a fire.
A weak foundation can affect your entire home. Keep your home’s foundation nice and strong with proper maintenance. Water is the most common cause of structural problems. Water causes the foundation to split and crack. Cleaning the gutters regularly can help, as a clog can send water down the side of the house. In addition, the downspouts should be directing water at least five feet away from the house. If you see water piling under the floor, cracks in the basement or crawl space, stained drywall or smell mold, you may have water issues in your foundation. Make sure to address these problems quickly. A major repair can be costly – upwards of $7,000.
Who has an extra $10,000 or more on hand to spend on home repairs? Not many of us. Spend the money on maintenance now so you won’t have to max out your credit card down the road. It may be inconvenient, but well worth it.