Everyone is excited when s/he gets new flooring, kitchen and bath remodels, adds a room or spruces up a room with new decorating. A large part of that excitement comes from the visibility of the change. We are proud to show off our improvements and to luxuriate in them! If we own investment property, moreover, improvements can realize greater profits over the long-term, because we can increase the rent! What we can never forget, however, is that, while regular home maintenance is boring, it is necessary.
No one will ever notice and provide compliments for the routine home maintenance tasks that must be performed, and yet, these tasks are critical if the value of the property is to be maintained and if more expensive repairs can be avoided later on. Yes, home maintenance is boring but necessary in the following ways:
Home Maintenance Items not to be Avoided
1. Gutters: Never, never, never ignore the requirement that gutters must be cleaned out every year, especially if there are trees around the home. Winds will carry leaves and deposit them into your gutters every year. Failure to get gutters cleaned can result in major water damage and destruction of the gutters themselves. When water has no where to go, because gutters and downspouts are clogged, the consequences can be horribly expensive.
2. HVAC: Before a furnace is turned on for the winter or an air conditioner turned on for the summer, a routine maintenance check must be completed. Cleaning, a check for Freon level, and, of course, a safety check for a gas furnace cannot be overstated in terms of importance, both for safety and for efficiency. Failure to obtain such routine maintenance can mean complete replacement of a unit before its “time.” And if you are a landlord, the smart move is to purchase a year’s supply of furnace filters and show your tenant how to replace them!
3. Vegetation Growth: If you have trees, bushes, etc. that grow in close proximity to the home, inspect their growth throughout the spring, summer and fall. Vines growing up brick, wood or vinyl siding can damage those materials significantly; tree branches rubbing against the sides of a house or lingering over gutters are a big “no-no;” large trees close to a structure can send out roots that will endanger underground water and other pipes. Regular trimming and perhaps even extraction can be necessary to protect a dwelling.
4. Fireplace Flue and Duct Cleaning: Yes, this aspect of home maintenance is boring, but critical, if only for safety reasons. Not only do clogged flues and ducts reduce overall heating efficiency, but they post major fire hazards!
5. Routine Inspections: A homeowner or landlord should conduct an annual inspection of the entire home, inside and out. Dripping faucets, loose banisters, outdated or lacking insulation, torn screens – all of these things detract from appearance and utility cost efficiency. Keeping up on these issues on a regular basis prevents costs down the road, and the financial outlay on a regular basis is better than a huge cost all at once later on.
6. Painting: Whether your entire exterior or just trim is painted, any peeling or bubbling paint must be repaired, if you want to preserve the wood and prevent ultimate replacement of that wood at a far greater cost. Exposed wood rots!
No one disputes the fact that routine home maintenance is boring, but it is certainly necessary. It is boring because there is ultimately nothing to “show” for the cost and the effort; it is necessary because ignoring these tasks will end up costing far more in the long-term!