Keep break-downs at bay with these
fall home maintenance tips.
Home maintenance may be the last thing on your mind
this fall. But it’s the perfect time of year to give your home a quick check-up before winter hits.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Benjamin Franklin’s wise words are especially true for homeowners. That’s because doing a little preventative home maintenance now can help you spot problems before they become expensive repairs later.
To help you get started, here’s a list of the top preventative maintenance items most likely to cause big problems later if not addressed.
By far, water damage can be one of the most expensive problems plaguing homeowners. Whether it’s small leak in the roof, a broken window seal, or faulty pipe—water damage can be silent and devastating. Do a quick audit on your home to check for possible water issues.
Windows and Doors– Check for any broken seals or gaps in caulking and weather-stripping. Water can seep in undetected and leak into walls and floors causing rot and mold. This preventative maintenance costs about $4 for a tube of caulk but could cost thousands of dollars for repair and mold removal.
Refrigerator and Dishwasher– The top two culprits for water damage in the kitchen involve the water lines for the refrigerator ice-maker and dishwasher. Leaks can be slow and accumulate over time or sudden ruptures that lead to major flooding in minutes. This can be especially hazardous if a water line breaks when you are out of town visiting loved ones for the Holidays, yikes!
Be sure to check the lines for any leaks and make sure the ice-maker is running smoothly. For extra protection, you might consider installing water alarms where needed. These are battery powered devices that set off an alarm if touched by water.
Water Pressure– Often, low or irregular water pressure can signify damage to underlying pipes or clogs. Whether caused by a problem with the line or just sediment buildup, it’s best to nip this one in the bud before it leads to disastrous structural or foundation repairs.
Furnace, AC and Water Heater Mishaps
Regular maintenance on these major home units can prevent costly repairs and help extend the life of the units. Additionally, a well-maintained unit can help save hundreds of dollars each year in electricity costs.
This is an area that is usually well worth the expense of quarterly or annual maintenance by a trained professional.
For the DIY stuff, make sure to check and replace AC filters each month. Check your AC unit’s drip pan for excessive water. If your drip pan has standing water, it could be a clue to possible problems with the AC unit. When left unchecked, water could overflow and turn into expensive structural damage. This is also a good time to flush your hot water heater and check for sediment and build-up.
In Frisco and North Texas area, surprise weather events like hail or high wind are just a part of life. Even with no immediate visible signs of damage, this kind of wear and tear could cause structural integrity issues which lead to major expenses later.
Check your roof for cracks, missing shingles or crumbling pieces. Also, check for dry or blistering asphalt, wood rot, or broken tiles. Check and trim away any tree branches that are touching the roof and look for ailing trees that could break during a storm.
Examine flashing and vent/chimney caps for missing or damaged parts and clear away any debris if necessary. And, be sure to clear gutters and downspouts to prevent water damage to the foundation and roof.
Fences, Decks & Shutters
The fall is also a great time to do some maintenance on your exterior wood such as fences, decks and shutters. Those wild wind storms can cause loose or weak fences to collapse and can damage near-by structures, or even result in the need for a complete fence replacement.
Check shutters, fences and decks for rotten wood as this is a favorite habitat for termites. These pesky little bugs are famous for invading homes and running up hefty removal and repair bills. And, to deter termites, don’t forget to trim bushes and trees so they don’t touch the house or roof.
Owning a home doesn’t have to break the bank – or your back.
Setting up and sticking to an annual home maintenance routine helps preserve the value of your home. Set up a schedule for monthly, quarterly and annual items to help you tackle these a little at a time.
Then, set up a budget to help you set aside the funds. Not sure what to budget? As a general rule, you should budget about 1% of the value of your home for yearly maintenance. For example, if your home is worth $300,000, you should set aside approximately $3,000 a year for maintenance items.
Another option is to multiply the square footage of your home by $1 and use that as your annual maintenance budget. Both guidelines are just that – guidelines. The age and condition of your home are also factors, but these are good starting points for getting that budget going.
An extended home warranty could be worth considering, especially if your home is slightly older. Home warranties can be a good investment to help with many of the unexpected big-ticket items, but not a replacement for good old-fashioned year-round maintenance. Ask your realtor to help you decide if a home warranty could be right for you.
If you are considering buying a home, keep maintenance costs in mind when planning your overall home budget. Your realtor can help you estimate repair and maintenance costs so you have a complete picture before you make a purchase decision. For more information on home maintenance, buying or selling a home, contact the Judi Wright Team at 214-597-2985.
About The Judi Wright Team
Judi Wright/The Judi Wright Team is a real estate group specializing in the suburbs of Frisco, Plano and surrounding areas. Named the “Best Realtor in Dallas,” by D Magazine ten times and a Five Star Realtor with Texas Monthly, Judi is also Company-Wide Top performer with Ebby Halliday and the #1 Individual Agent for Ebby Halliday Frisco.