One of the most rewarding parts of my job is seeing the joy on people’s faces at closing for the purchase of their new home. It’s a great feeling knowing that I help folks realize their dream of becoming homeowners. That feeling of excitement often fades, however, when the homeowner realizes that it’s now their job to maintain the home. Sadly, many homeowners do little-to-ZERO home maintenance on their houses. And then when things start breaking down and the repair bills start adding up, they lament that their former “dream home” has become a “money pit.”
The truth is, for most homeowners, the house is the biggest asset and investment in their lives. But unlike their bank account or 401K, many homeowners make that investment and then pay absolutely no attention to it.
What does home maintenance look like?
Maintaining your home investment requires a little bit more than just cutting the grass and trimming the bushes. Too many homeowners think winter time is their annual break from home maintenance, when in fact, it’s “go time.”
Veteran home inspector and one of Indianapolis Home Team’s preferred vendors, Mike Pariso with OMT Home Services, LLC has seen just about everything in his many years of evaluating and inspecting homes. Here’s a simple list of winter home maintenance items he put together that every homeowner should be following:
Inspect and re-caulk your window frames if needed.
Winter will bring temperature ranges that sometimes vary up to 80 degrees or more. Combine that with the variance between the outside temps and what the temperature is inside your house, and that’s a lot of expanding and contracting of any cracks in your window frames. Failing to address this can turn a crack in the frame into a gaping problem that will elevate your energy costs and require you to replace your whole window.
Inspect your roofing.
You can do this from the ground or a ladder. If there appears to be a problem, call a professional for an “on-roof” inspection. If you wait until the snow starts melting to discover the problem, you’re going to be paying a roofer and contractors to fix the inside of your house.
Inspect and clean your chimney if you have a fireplace or wood burning stove.
Nothing beats sitting beside the fire on a chilly Fall or Winter evening…unless you haven’t had yours inspected and your house fills with smoke. Or worse, catches fire! You should also have a carbon monoxide detector installed in your home if your fireplace (or furnace or appliance) are gas-powered.
Winterize your lawn and garden equipment.
Even if your idea of home maintenance is just lawn care, that can get expensive if you don’t take care of your equipment and have to replace lawnmowers and such in the Spring.
Care for your garden hoses.
Remove and drain your garden hoses. Place an insulating cover on your hose bibs and faucets. If these freeze the result can be burst pipes and expensive interior water damage.
Have your furnace inspected and tested.
Your unit is about to get a big workout. Make sure there aren’t any little problems that could become big problems. You don’t want to discover this when it’s below zero. Also check and change out your filters if necessary.
Flush your hot water tank to remove scale deposits.
You live in Indiana. You know about the water. Nuff said.
Inspect and clean out your gutters.
To prevent ice buildup or backup, make sure your gutters are free from leaves and debris. Failure to do this can also create a messy and expensive water damage problem for the rest of your house.
Test your smoke alarms; change the batteries.
See above about heating. Winter is the riskiest time for house fires.
Reverse your ceiling fans.
Instead of pushing cool air down, you want to push it up so the warm air can better circulate. Lower the speed, too.
Care for your crawlspace.
These areas are subject to extreme temperatures and contain vital equipment for your house. Winterize or insulate your water pipes. Do not completely close you the vents; positive air flow should be maintained all year round.
These simple tasks don’t require a heavy investment of your money or your time. They could, however, prevent Old Man Winter from bringing a disaster to your home. Protect your investment and do the preventive home maintenance tasks your home needs to survive winter.
Looking for more home maintenance suggestions or how you can help prepare your home to sell next spring? Get a head start on the spring competition & by learning all the tips and tricks in the Indianapolis Home Team’s Ultimate Seller’s Guide, available to you immediately for FREE!