You’re probably aware by now that you need to maintain your home. Your builder told you, your Homeowner Maintenance Guide lays it out for you, you receive this email each month reminding you. But in the busyness of life, most of us probably still revert to corrective maintenance instead of preventive maintenance. Corrective = wait and fix it once it breaks. Preventive = maintain it so it lasts as long as it’s intended to.
But there are good reasons to take a preventive maintenance approach to caring for your home. You’ll save time and money in the long run. (Just like a car, which is more affordable and schedule-friendly — regular oil changes or a new engine?) Along that same logic, it makes more sense to replace deteriorating caulking ($10) rather than deal with water damage (thousands of dollars). Following is a quick list of the areas you want to make sure to care for on a preventive basis (see your Homeowner Maintenance Guide for other maintenance tasks that shouldn’t be neglected):
1. Everything water related. This doesn’t just apply to your plumbing fixtures and piping, although that’s a big part of it. It also includes maintaining what is called the “envelope” of your home – the components that keep the elements out. Your roof, siding, windows, doors, vents, and sealants are all susceptible to damage or deterioration that can result in serious water damage should they fail and water is able to enter your home from the outside.
2. Mechanical components. All those electricity and gas consuming appliances not only have motors and other parts that need periodic attention, but greatly affect the efficiency of your home and the cost of your utility bills. We’ve said it before, but your air conditioning and heating system DO require regular maintenance – an annual service call and monthly to quarterly filter changes. Without maintenance it will not only work less efficiently but may actually fail long before it should. Your refrigerator may cease to work if the coils become too clogged with dust. A stopped up dryer vent can not only cause your dryer to stop working altogether or work inefficiently (it happened to me!), but can also pose a fire danger.
3. Landscaping. Maintaining your landscaping is more than just keeping things looking pretty. It’s keeping your house and property protected. Your irrigation system should be set to only water what is needed – anything more will result in runoff and unnecessarily high water bills. Sprinklers should always point away from your home and hardscape. Water should always drain away from your home to the designed drainage path and not stand along your foundation. Bare slopes or dirt areas can be eroded away and affect the slope of your property. Trees should be trimmed so as not to impact your house or nearby power lines in windy conditions.
* For roof inspections, electrical concerns, possible plumbing issues, or any other potentially dangerous inspections, please consult a licensed, bonded and insured professional.