Six Expensive Home Renovations That Can Be Avoided With a Little Maintenance

The cost of owning a home is much higher than the price you paid for the home itself . When something breaks, you have to fix it, and the repair can be costly. You can’t anticipate or avoid every home renovation, but regular maintenance can save hundreds, maybe thousands, on some of these major ones .

Inspect your roof every six months to avoid costly roof replacements

If you have loose shingles or a leak in your roof, you will usually need a few hundred dollars to fix the problem. It’s not exactly a superfluous change, but if the problem is not fixed, the damage will end up costing a lot more.

If leaks are neglected, water can seep into insulation and other parts of the attic, which can lead to mold growth and structural damage to attic flooring, beams and joints. At this point, you may have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to fix the problem, according to HomeAdvisor . You might think that this is what homeowner insurance is for . But the bad news. Typically, homeowner insurance only covers sudden and non-preventable damage . Most policies do not cover any costs that you could avoid with proper maintenance.

Check your roof at least twice a year. A few things to watch out for:

  • Loose or absent shingles and tears in the shingles.
  • Cracks in the flashing (metal or plastic seal around the chimney and roof)
  • Moisture, mold, or leaks in the wood paneling of the attic.
  • Bubble paint on walls or stains on the ceiling (which may be signs of water damage)

You can watch the video above for a visual guide. The point is, a thorough roof inspection every few months can help you nip any problems in the bud before they get insanely expensive.

Avoid costly foundation repairs by checking for proper drainage

It is natural for your home to settle a little, but when the soil it sits on begins to expand and contract too much, it can cause foundation problems in the very structure of your home. According to HomeAdvisor, on average homeowners pay $ 7,641 for foundation repairs, with most of the costs ranging from $ 4,209 to $ 11,576. With little maintenance, you can spot foundation problems early or avoid them altogether.

According to HouseLogic , the most common cause of foundation problems is water. Changes in soil moisture usually lead to foundation cracking and splitting , so try to keep water out of your home whenever possible. When building a house, the ground near the foundation usually has a slight slope from the house. This prevents rainwater from accumulating around the foundation and weakening the structure. However, this does not mean that it is reliable.

To prevent water from accumulating near the foundation, you first need to regularly clean the gutters. Clogged gutters will drain water throughout the house. Second, according to Houselogic , the downpipe should direct water 5 to 10 feet from your home. If they don’t, you may need to install a new one or, for a larger project, This old house shows you how to level the foundation in the video above. Basically, they dig up a pipe and connect it to a downpipe away from the foundation of the house.

If your home has weeping tiles – an underground pipe that drains water out of your home – you also need to take care of it. If this pipe becomes clogged over time, water can rise back up and cause the foundation to move. You can only notice this when you start to see cracks in the walls of the basement. Aquamaster Plumbing offers several signs that your weeping tile may be clogged:

  • Horizontal, vertical or diagonal cracks in the walls of a basement or underground.
  • Wet spots or puddles under windows or basement floors.
  • Strong musty odor is a sign of mold or mildew.
  • Stain or peeling drywall; mold or mildew on walls and floors.

You should actively look for these signs and maintenance can help as well. Remove leaves and debris from gutters, make sure the downpipe points away from your home, and if you have sinks or slow drain toilets, have a plumber check your system for blockages. You can also run the hose near the outside foundation wall to make sure your soaking tile is doing the job. If so, your house’ssump should be filled with this water. The sump pump and sump in your home collects water and then drains it. This also requires regular maintenance. Roto-Rooter offers to test it by pouring a bucket of water into the pit. Then the pump should turn on, drain the water and turn off. You can also remove the pit itself and clean up sludge and debris. If it doesn’t work as it should, it’s time to call a professional to replace it.

Too much water can definitely cause foundation problems, but at the same time, you also don’t want your soil to dry out :

Long periods of dryness allow the soil around your home to dry out and shrivel. Heavy rain can cause expansion of the soil and pressure on the foundation walls. During dry times, run the soak hose at least 6 inches from the foundation and 3 inches below the soil to prevent the soil from shrinking or expanding.

You should also look into the warning signs of foundation problems : cracks, water damage, warped ceilings, sagging floors, and doors and windows that don’t close properly. Check your home, especially a basement or basement, for any of these signs. As with most home renovation jobs, the sooner you fix the problem, the less you will spend in the long run.

Check your HVAC system every six months to avoid costly failures

Your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system can cost anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to well over a thousand dollars , depending on the problem. For example, replacing a fuse or circuit breaker can only cost you a couple hundred dollars. Replacing a PCB is a bit more expensive – a few hundred, while other replacements like a compressor can cost you over $ 1,000. To completely replace the entire system, you will spend between $ 4,000 and $ 8,000 .

The simplest thing you can do to maintain your HVAC system is to replace your air filter regularly, ideally every 90 days. In addition, you can inspect the device itself every six months. There are several maintenance items you can do yourself, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends hiring a contractor to test the air conditioning system in the spring and the heating system in the fall. An inspector will lubricate the moving parts of your system, tighten all electrical connections, clean the system coils and replace any necessary coolant, check for leaks, and check all of your gas connections. To test the system yourself, here are some tips that SFGate recommends:

  • Start with the thermostat and check that all functions are working correctly. Make sure that both heating and cooling systems are turned off at the set temperature.
  • Turn off the circuit breakers supplying the oven and air conditioner. The circuit breakers are located in the service electrical panel. Leave both units off until the HVAC test is complete.
  • Check the tightness of the electrical connections.
  • When checking moving parts by hand, listen for any creaking or noise.
  • Locate the condensate drain and check for blockages. Condensation that builds up during HVAC use must be properly drained to prevent rust formation on internal parts. Clogged condensate drains also contribute to the growth of bacteria and mold in your home.
  • Sniff gas leaks near all gas fittings if gas is used in your home. Inspect heat exchangers or burners for cracks, abnormal discoloration, or wear.
  • Check the system for dirt and debris. The accumulation of debris and dirt affects the efficiency of the system. Use a small portable vacuum cleaner to remove any accumulated dust.
  • Look at the air conditioner coils for dirt or dust accumulation. Vacuum the coils to improve cooling performance.

Typically, a full professional inspection costs between $ 50 and $ 100 , and the Indoor Environment and Energy Efficiency Association has a useful search tool to find an inspector in your area.

Check old pipes annually to prevent waste water build-up

Sewer pipes can be clogged or suffocated by tree roots, and if the main water supply breaks, this can cause flooding or a sewer back-up. You will have a big and expensive mess on your hands. Sewer backups can cost over $ 10,000 , depending on the extent of the damage.

If you have an older home, it might be worth checking your sewer pipes annually. Find a plumber in your area to check your lines. They will fire the camera into the pipes and tell you if there are any blockages or obstructions. This usually costs around $ 150. According to Roto Rooter :

The inspection tube of the video camera detects all types of problems such as root penetration and a tube that is misaligned, broken, punctured, uneven or corroded. The camera also detects grease accumulations, leaks and obstructions. The inspection can be repeated after performing any service to ensure that the line has been properly cleaned or repaired.

However, these are not only old houses. If you have certain types of trees in your yard, you can also do an annual inspection. For example, bougainvillea, bamboo and fig trees can cause serious damage to sewer pipes. We found this out first hand when our sewer line got clogged and a plumber told us that the bamboo roots in our yard were growing into a line. According to him, bamboo can severely damage the line. Here are more plants to look out for. Watch the video above to see what it looks like when the roots go down the drain.

You may also want to consider insurance for your plumbing and sewerage . Sure, it could cost you $ 150 a year (plus deductible), but you’re insured in the worst case scenario. For example, American Water Resources charges a deductible of $ 50 , but you cover damages up to $ 8,000. Again, if you have an older home, this might be a smart option.

Check for termites to avoid structural damage

The longer termites are allowed to chew on your home, the more expensive they are. If termites live in a small area, then getting rid of them using spot treatment can cost as little as a couple of hundred dollars. However, once they spread, you’ll pay between $ 1,000 and $ 4,000 to pitch a tent in your home and get rid of them. Plus, termites can cause serious structural damage to your home, which is even more expensive to fix.

Begin by looking for signs of termite infestation. The video above shows you how to test yourself, and according to Orkin , some common signs are:

  • Wood warping
  • Bloated floors and ceilings
  • Termite poop that looks like coffee grounds
  • Visible labyrinths in the walls
  • A smell similar to that of mildew or mildew.

To keep termites under control, hire an inspector once a year. The inspection will cost you anywhere from $ 75 to $ 150 , but that’s less than the thousands of dollars you’ll pay to get rid of them later, not to mention the huge expense of repairing or replacing structural damage.

Check your water heater annually to prevent flooding

It is easy to forget about water heaters, but if they fail, they can cause a lot of damage. If pipes burst or start leaking, they can cause mold growth or, worse, flood floors or ceilings. If the leak has caused sufficient damage to the walls, floors, and ceiling, they may need to be replaced. Water heater breakdowns cost an average of $ 4,444 after the deductible, according to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety .

It is useful to know the signs of a problem water heater :

  • The water doesn’t get so hot anymore
  • There is rust in the water from your taps
  • Your water heater makes a popping sound when it heats up
  • Puddles and rust forms near the water heater.

However, it may happen that your water heater just needs to be repaired. If he’s less than ten years old, you can simply call a plumber to diagnose and fix the problem. HouseLogic explains:

Since water heaters contain few moving parts, only a few things can fail. The control lamp on the gas water heater flashes. The circuit breaker of the electric water heater is tripped. Burner or heating element defective. Damage to the thermostat. The valve is stuck. Repairing or replacing any of these parts is relatively inexpensive: a plumber can do the job for $ 150–300.

However, water heaters don’t last forever. The International Association of Household Inspectors states that the average life of a water heater is ten years . If your water heater is over ten years old and starts to fail, it is probably time for a replacement (which will cost you about $ 900 with installation , more for a water heater without a tank). In the IBHS study, water heaters over 20 years old accounted for 95% of water heater claims. You should check your water heater annually to make sure it is working properly. This Old House has a helpful step-by-step guide for doing this . The video above shows how this is done.

Home ownership can be costly, even with the regular maintenance associated with it. However, it is much more expensive if this service is completely ignored. By taking preventive measures, you will get rid of the headaches associated with this usual expensive repair.


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