Timely Home Maintenance

Time to think about home maintenance that could save a lot of money down the road

With the possibility of welcome rains, it is always a good time to think about home maintenance issues and potential actions that could save a lot of money down the road. Some are common sense and obvious, while others may be completely unanticipated.

Mold, for example, grows out of moisture accumulation in wall spaces and attic areas, and it can spread widely without detection. Therefore it is advisable to check for any water intrusion at least once a year. We have had clients experience costs from $5,000 to more than $50,000 to remediate and repair mold issues. Likewise, dry-rot in unsealed wood beams can lead to thousands of dollars in wood repairs.

If your home is pre-1970, you may also have leaking pipe problems that you know nothing about yet! The majority of Palisades homes from that period were built with galvanized iron pipes and sewer lines, and these generally have a useful life of 50-60 years before beginning to rust through. It may minimize major inconveniences and possibly save costs to identify such issues sooner than later.

This is a good time to inspect your roof, vent caulking, exposed flashings, and clean out all gutters and downspouts. It’s also a good idea to check to be sure that the downspouts don’t dump water at the base of the foundation and that drainage around the home directs the water away from the house.

Other water-related issues can arise from small drips under sinks, loose toilets, gaps in weather-stripping, missing caulking around faucets and where tile meets a tub.

Have you had a pest control/termite inspection in the last 5 years? The cost is nominal and it could save major expenses if termites are dealt with quickly. The inspectors check for termites, dry-rot, or other wood-destroying organisms in the attic and under-house areas.

If you have a central heat or heat and air conditioning system when was the last time you had it inspected for safety and serviced? And, of course, do change the filters!

Other actions that might be timely now include changing smoke detector batteries, installing carbon monoxide detectors, and checking the hot water heater for leaks and corrosion.

This might be a good opportunity to remove dead plants and weeds, trim back overgrown shrubs, inspect and clean outdoor light fixtures, and repair any major trip hazards in walkways.

Assuming you have at least one fire extinguisher in the house, it might be a good time to have it checked to be sure it’s fully operational. Consider having each family member learn how to use it in case of emergency.

With the family at home so much now, it could also be a period in which other outdoor maintenance actions are done. Outdoor furniture, umbrellas and awnings may be cleaned. Porch ceilings and walls probably have an accumulation of cobwebs or dust. Metal door and window hardware might need to be polished. Windows and screens could use cleaning now.

This could also be a good opportunity for the family to put together an annual “Spring Cleaning” checklist and include as many of the above action items as might be useful to be done at least once a year.