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Your home is more than your castle.
If you’re like most people, it’s also your biggest investment.
Keeping up the value of that investment is one of the reasons why home maintenance in one’s castle is so important. Of course, it’ll also improve your quality of life in your home.
How well your air conditioning cools on a hot summer day or your ability to use your fireplace when it’s cold outside are impacted by how often you change the filters or have your chimney swept.
Good home maintenance can act to reduce allergens, prevent illness and reduce injury from accidents, according to the technical advisers for the National Center for Healthy Housing.
From the floor to ceiling, home improvement costs can add up — but they can grow much more expensive if projects aren’t taken care of regularly.
“A good HVAC, if you’re maintaining that system, can last for a couple of decades,” said Lee’o Whisenant of Old Ironsides Construction.
He suggested replacing the filter as often as once a month for optimal performance. Filters can cost less than $10.
That’s because if it breaks down, the cost of a new HVAC system is estimated to be $5,000 to $6,000 for a 1,200-square-foot space, according to an estimator at Forbes.com. That cost rises to an estimated $7,000 to $8,000 for about 2,000 square feet.
Doing it yourself
The good news is most home maintenance can be done by the homeowner, especially with all the resources available online.
“There’s very few things that people can’t do on their own, because all the information is there online,” said Husein Shakir, owner of the DIY Depot in Bakersfield.
Shakir said he knows this is possible because the business owner taught himself a good deal using instructional videos on YouTube.
“I don’t want to say that everything can be done by yourself, but most things can,” Shakir said, noting that anything that involves wiring or significant plumbing work should be done by a professional.
Stores like DIY Depot or Home Depot often have most of the materials one would need for most home maintenance, as well as people who can offer advice on how to get started.
And even some renovation jobs can be done on a do-it-yourself basis. James McKay offers advice on such projects in a blog on the website for his business, Modern Valley Construction, which offers tips on the best ways to do easier, more aesthetic maintenance projects such as painting, wallpapering and replacing light fixtures.
As far as how often certain maintenance should be undertaken, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development has a seasonal checklist at bit.ly/DIYmaintenancechecklist.
The list includes advice on how often to perform maintenance such as checking dishwasher hoses for leaks or cleaning and checking the refrigerator’s drip pan-icemaker connections (annually) and when to check the batteries on the smoke and carbon dioxide alarms (in the spring and fall).
Making things easier
Tim Hardt of Hardt Construction Services offered a bit of advice to make the long list of required annual maintenance a little less daunting: “Keep a running to-do list of your property that needs attention,” he said. “Based on cost and the severity of the problem, pick one or two items to address each month.”
No matter how handy you might be though, some people just don’t have the time to perform all the maintenance that’s required to keep the value of a home.
But there are services that can help.
Hardt’s company offers a monthly and an annual maintenance service, which can be started with a consultation that involves a handyman walking through the home and identifying what needs to be done and how often. The cost of the service depends on the age of the home, as well as its size, and other potential concerns.
“We often see residential and commercial properties where clients have not kept up on the normal maintenance,” Hardt said, “and consequently have ended up causing more damage and it ended up costing more.”