A home is almost like a living thing. It has a number of interacting systems that work together to keep the home pleasant, safe, and comfortable for your family. If any of these systems develop problems, the results can be costly and even dangerous to you.
For that reason, it’s important to keep up with routine maintenance. A vigilant homeowner can do a lot to keep minor problems from turning into major ones. While it doesn’t take any special training to do a good job with this, there are a few basic things you should know about each area of the home, so that you can recognize when a professional is needed.
A good first example is the heating and cooling system. These systems are incredibly complex, but there is more that you can be mindful of than simply an outright breakdown. Listen for strange noises from both the inside air handling unit and the heat pump or furnace. Make sure the system isn’t running longer than normal or not providing the temperature change in a timely fashion.
Replace filters as specified by the manufacturer, and if you detect any problems at any point in the process, get an expert to come and check things out. Companies like Hiller have the tools and experience for an appropriate diagnosis and repair, and the sooner you take action after finding a problem, the less it will cost you.
Another big area of concern should be your roof. Like your HVAC, you assume it’s fine as long as it’s doing what it’s supposed to. However, a little time spent monitoring your roof for problems can end up saving you a fortune in repairs to both the inside and the outside of your home.
Start with a calendar. If you know the life rating of your shingles (typically anywhere from 25 to 40 years), you should calculate its age and determine if enough time has passed to make it worthwhile to get it checked by a professional. It’s cost-effective to use as much of that life as possible, but as soon as you see problems, it is time to discuss a replacement.
If your roof’s age is within reason, watch for other problems. Severe weather can dislodge shingles, leading to leaks. There could also be problems with installation that allow shingles to simply come loose and create an opening. Get vantage points by leaning out of windows, climbing ladders, or standing on nearby higher ground, as long as you can safely do so. If you see problems, get a contractor.
Another good area to check out is appliances. Refrigerators, freezers, clothes dryers, and others use a lot of energy even when they are running normally, so malfunctions can really run up your utility bills. In addition, a problem can turn quickly into a breakdown that leaves you without these essential items, and suddenly you have a dead fridge on a Sunday night with no stores open to buy a new one and nowhere to keep the food.
Preventive maintenance is huge here. Keep your appliances positioned where they receive enough air circulation to meet the manufacturer’s standards. Clean or replace filters to remove excess strain or, in the case of dryers, fire hazards. Note the sounds, smells, and sights that are present when the unit is in operation, and if you see any deviation from normal, have an expert check it out.
A healthy home makes a happy homeowner. The time and money you spend on basic preventive maintenance or on simply watching for problems will easily pay you back in the long run. Imagine the relief of noticing a problem with your air conditioner and having repairs made that prevent a breakdown during 100-degree weather. That’s the situation you should always imagine as you spend time and money on preventive maintenance.