Your home is likely your biggest investment. Whether your home was recently built or has stood the test of time, a little preventative home maintenance can save you money in the long run. Not sure where to start in your home inspection? We’ve drafted a list of the eight problems every homeowner should look for (and how to fix them).
Ignoring These Problems Can Cost You:
If you have composition or asphalt shingles loose or missing shingles or damage to the materials will often lead to moisture seeping into your attic or ceiling crawlspace. If left untreated, these could lead to wood rot and mold, and require expensive repairs. Roofing professionals often suggest you inspect your roof a couple times each year as part of your routine home maintenance. If you are confident in your home repair DIY abilities, you should be able to visually inspect your roof and replace aging shingles.
If your basement walls or floor has cracks that allows water to seep in every time it rains, you may have a problem with your foundation. When water pools around your foundation, the soil can shift around your house and cause your foundation to move and crack. This weakens your structure and allows water into your home. If you notice vertical cracks or your walls “weeping” after it rains, contact a contractor that focuses in foundation repair. The fix may run a couple of thousand dollars, but leaving the problem untreated can cost ten times that amount for structural home repairs later on.
If you notice that your water pressure is weaker than normal, or you see pools of water under the sink, you may be dealing with a leaky pipe. Over time, older pipes can corrode and crack. Leaky pipes could lead to flooding and issues with drywall, flooring, insulation and more if the problem isn’t taken care of quickly. If you are confident in your home repair abilities you could replace a worn pipe yourself, but a safer bet is to contact a plumber for assistance.
Do your lights often flicker? Do you have a hard time running appliances in the kitchen if someone is using a hair dryer in another room? Do you often blow fuses in your house? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you may be drawing too much power through an outdated wiring system. Faulty or overworked electrical systems cause 45,000 fires each year. Contact an electrician who will be able to run a series of tests, and (if necessary) help you upgrade and add power to your electrical panel.
Do you have stately old trees on your property? Though beautiful, they can cause major problems if you hear their branches brushing against your walls or roof during a storm. Why? At worst, the tree is diseased and won’t keep its branches during high wind and cause severe property damage. Many homeowners are able to trim excess weight off trees if they have the proper tools. If branches are located near power lines, contact the electric company to see if they would dispatch a tree-trimming service, or contact professional tree-trimmers yourself.
If you sit next to a window and can feel a draft coming through, they may be costing you money. Replacing with newer, energy efficient windows will save on electrical costs and improve your curb appeal, too!
If your sump pump is worn or outdated, it may not be able to keep up when you receive a heavy rain and could allow water to seep into your basement. It’s a good idea to check the batteries on your pump, especially before the rainy season or if you experience a heavy, soaking rain. If your sump pump is over seven or eight years old, have a plumber inspect it on an annual basis. Replacing worn pumps can cost a few hundred dollars (installed) but save thousands by preventing flooding (and the costs associated with clean up).
Do you have water sitting near your foundation after a heavy rain? The problem may be your gutters. Gutters and downspouts are designed to guide water away from your home, ideally preventing water from running down your foundation. The easiest thing a homeowner can do is inspect and clean gutters twice a year, removing dead leaves and any obstructions, allowing water to flow freely.
If you know what to look for, you can save yourself thousands of dollars in home repairs by doing maintenance. Invest in basic tools and learn to look for ways to maintain your home. Another crucial tool that will save you money is the right homeowners insurance. Contact your Farm Bureau agent to ensure your home is protected – rain or shine.