“Deferred maintenance.” It’s a term that real estate professionals hear frequently. It describes a home that has been neglected because the owners haven’t carried necessary home maintenance and raises red flags concerning its condition. Putting off routine home maintenance can not only lead to big, ugly, expensive problems down the line, it causes a significant loss of your home’s value when it comes time to sell. Let’s take a look at five of the most common problems and all of them can be prevented by carrying out routine home maintenance.
1. Kitchen drain abuse
Although it’s easy to assume that the waste disposer can grind up just about anything you throw at it, use caution. Everything that you put down there will end up in the drain pipes. Some of it will exit with ease while other substances can sit, accumulate with others and cause a great-big headache of a clog. Grease and oil are the most common culprits when it comes to clogged kitchen drains. Plumbers recommend pouring the grease into an old coffee can or something similar. Let it sit until it cools and congeals and then throw the container in the trash. Waste disposers don’t properly grind up certain fruit and vegetable peels, such as apples and potatoes. Peel them over a trash container instead. Starchy foods, such as rice and pasta will swell with the addition of water and coffee grinds should never be poured down the drain. In fact, according to the pros “Nothing causes more blockages and clogged pipes than coffee grounds and grease. Even if you don’t put them down the drain at the same time, they’ll meet up and form a sludgy impenetrable nightmare.” Be vigilant with you waste disposer to avoid unnecessary home maintenance.
2. Neglecting the gutters
Whether it’s your fear of heights or because they’re easy to forget, the gutters around your home need your attention. When debris, such as leaves and twigs, builds up, it blocks the free flow of water. The water will back up and can damage both the exterior of your home and the roof’s eaves. Be aware that concealed guttering requires frequent maintenance as far as removing twigs and leaves as these systems can block the water flow and it’s possible that when blocked, water will find it’s way into your home. Avoid the need to replace wet walls and/or ceilings caused by the blockage of the twigs and leaves in the concealed gutters by planning regular home maintenance. While you’re at it, don’t forget to clean out the downpipes as well. Gutters should be cleaned out every three months, according to the experts which is great advice to avoid further unnecessary home maintenance.
3. Not replacing the AC filter
Allowing your HVAC filters to become clogged with fuzz can end up costing you a fortune. A system that has a dirty filter can suffer from pressure drop, which can lead to reduced air flow, or ‘blow-out,’ resulting in no air infiltration at all. This causes the system to have to work harder and any mechanical component that has to work harder to run efficiently puts undue stress on the whole system, which can lead to premature failure, resulting in repair or replacement. ( Lack of maintenance of heat pumps/air conditioners by home owners is a very common oversight – lack of home maintenance planning !! )
Tips on how to clean your air conditioner filter
4. Taking the hot water cylinder for granted
We don’t know why, but one of the complaints of new homeowners is that the hot water cylinder broke down shortly after they moved into their home. Do periodic checks to ensure thermostat and Ajax valve are still operating ok and your cylinder is insulated and earthquake straps are still intact. Check out how to save money on hot water
5. Ignoring plumbing leaks
Homeowners can save 10 percent on their water bills just by fixing leaks. But, that’s just the beginning of how much you’ll save. Leaky plumbing allows moisture to seep into floors and walls and, if ignored long enough, can cause damage that may cost thousands of dollars to repair. Some leaks are easy to diagnose (a dripping bathtub tap for instance). Others may take a bit of sleuthing. Add plumbing to your home maintenance plan and perform routine inspections and maintenance where necessary, of the home’s plumbing system at least once a year. Check the toilets for worn flappers and check all under-the-sink valves for signs of moisture leakage. To determine if your home has hidden leaks, it’s recommended that you check your water usage when you’ve received your account from your local town/city council and check with your previous account on your water useage and compare them to see if there’s been a dramatic increase that you can’t explain. Another way of detecting hidden leaks is to jot down the reading on your water meter and then don’t use the water for two hours. Check the reading again. If there’s a change, you may have a leak. Oh no! Unnecessary home maintenance!