What is the most valuable thing you own? For the average American, what is the largest retirement tool? Many studies show that the largest asset on most family’s balance sheets is their home.
With one quick google search, it is clear that there is an ongoing debate on whether your home is a true investment or not. Wherever we stand on that topic, no one can deny the fact that for the average American, their home plays a huge role in their financial and personal lives. Because our home can affect us in so many ways, maintaining your home properly becomes paramount.
Only a few decades ago, maintenance was more the norm. Back then, when someone put a hole in their jeans, they patched them. Now we simply buy a new pair. When our gadgets get old, we just replace it. While this strategy works great for lower end items, this approach can have detrimental consequences on your home value and wallet. For homes, consistent maintenance can make all the difference and save you from large costly repairs.
Here are three things to help your home stay in great shape (with help from three great local businesses):
Keep Your Plumbing Flowing — Contributed by Bobby Balsiger, owner of Eagle Plumbing
Water damage is one of the most common and costly things that can happen in a home. You can dramatically reduce the chance of water damage and plumbing issues through regular maintenance. Here are two tips.
Your water heater is a big part of your plumbing system and can be costly to repair. To make your water heater last and be as efficient as possible, you should flush your water heater once a year. Whether it’s tankless, electric, or gas, removing the sediment and calcium by flushing your water heater could double its life and lower your utility bill.
Are you starting to see hard water spots or calcium build up on your faucets and shower valves? When water flows through the pipes of your home, the dissolved minerals combine with heat, leaving scale and buildup that damages your pipes, appliances, and fixtures. Water softeners can help alleviate this problem. And for those that don’t want to haul big bulky bags of salt or potassium, there are new saltless versions. A model that we use and recommend is the Nuevo H20 water conditioning system.
Maintaining Your Carpets — Contributed by Shane Stilwell, owner of Old West Cleaning
New carpets can range from $3,000-$6,000 to replace an average 1,600-square-foot, three-bedroom home, and much more for larger homes. Quality hard flooring such as luxury vinyl or tile is more expensive. So how do you make those carpets last as long as possible?
There are a few things you can easily do to maintain flooring and avoid expensive replacement. First, vacuum ... all the time! The rule of thumb is once per week, per household member (yes, pets count as household members). But if that is too daunting, start with one day a week and focus on major traffic areas. Second, absorb spills and stains immediately with hot water and a rag (vinegar and soda water are safe spotters, never use kitchen or laundry cleaning products on carpets, too strong!). Dry quickly by blotting with a towel. The third option is to have a professional steam clean each year. Besides extracting soils, a deep clean pulls up and re-twists the fibers of the carpet, keeping wear and tear at bay. Finally, place a mats inside and out of all exterior doors, plus change your AC/Heat air filters to keep soils and contaminants at bay.
Protecting Your Home From Critters — Contributed by Ernie Garcia, owner of Mule Mountain Pest Control.
There are not many things that are more uncomfortable than knowing that you are sharing your house with critters, especially bigger critters. Not even considering the health concerns, home values will suffer from the damage that termites, bugs, mice, and birds can do. Some don’t even know about their problem until they try to sell their home and have things come up on the termite inspection.
An animal will only become a pest if the home has openings or conditions that allow the animal to invade the home, thereby becoming a pest. Here are a few tips to avoid this:
Use door sweeps on exterior doors and repair damaged screens.
Screen vents and openings to chimneys.
Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home, where utilities and pipes enter the home, using caulk or steel wool.
Store food in air-tight containers and dispose of garbage regularly.
Keep attics, basements, and small spaces well ventilated and dry.
Some have a yearly home health inspection done by a pest control professional to make sure there is nothing that will cause bigger problems down the road. This not only saves them money in the long run but it also helps them sleep better at night.
While these are some great home-maintenance tips, don’t get overwhelmed if it feels like I just added three more daunting tasks to your to-do list. Start with one small improvement that you can implement today and let the momentum carry you through the rest of the year. While maintenance does require effort, over the years, it will continue to pay you back many times over.