It’s easy to fall into the thinking of “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” but when you own a home, that rule doesn’t always apply. Protecting your biggest investment means that maintenance has to be a priority. Heading off problems before they happen puts you in better control of the three C’s – comfort, convenience and cost.
Your home is the one place where you should feel most comfortable, but if it isn’t properly maintained the comfort level can quickly drop. From cluttered spaces, to air quality, to cold showers, how well you maintain your home will have a direct effect on your comfort.
HVAC repair is the perfect example of this. During the late spring and summer, if the AC goes out it can get extremely hot in a home and even dangerous for the elderly and children young in age. Many of the problems that cause an HVAC to fail could have been avoided with annual or bi-annual servicing. Issues can also be caught before they lead to a complete failure.
The same holds true for many other repairs that can be avoided with regular maintenance. Replacing the insulation in the attic makes a home more comfortable year-round. Servicing and cleaning out the water heater once or twice a year helps prevent failures that leaves you without hot water.
There’s never a convenient time to have a system fail, flooring that needs to be fixed or a leaky faucet that’s creating a constant mess. Having to deal with a repair can leave you without the modern-day conveniences we’ve come to rely on. Depending on the time of year, your location and the nature of the problem you could have to put up with the inconvenience for days or weeks.
Then there’s the inconvenience of having to find a repairman, schedule the appointment and rearrange your schedule so you can be there for the appointment. All that takes time out of your day and forces you to work your life around the repair. Your time is valuable, and it’s just one more reason why maintenance makes homeownership easier and less expensive.
If you own a vacation home or rental property in another location convenience becomes an even bigger factor. You’ll want to invest in low-maintenance décor and find a local property manager you can trust with handling the upkeep of the home.
University of Illinois Extension has estimated that the cost of annual home maintenance and repair is approximately 1-4% of the home’s value. By investing in maintenance, you can avoid the more costly repairs and save thousands in the long run.
First there’s the upfront cost of the repair, which it will cost more if it happens during a peak season or the holidays. When there hasn’t been regular maintenance, repairs are often more complex – i.e. more expensive to fix. For example, a leaky roof that isn’t repaired can lead to mold and insulation damage that adds to the overall expense.
But the actual cost of the repair is just one factor. Not maintaining your home can cause a costly chain reaction that eats into your household budget in ways that aren’t as obvious.
Again, your HVAC system is an excellent example of how maintenance, efficiency and cost are connected. When an HVAC system is serviced regularly the components work more efficiently. Cleaning and sealing the ductwork alone can improve HVAC efficiency by as much as 20%. Improved efficiency means you are saving more money every month on utilities.
If you’re in the market to buy a home and have been touring properties, then you’ve seen firsthand how important maintenance is in regard to value. Professional home appraisers note that a home that isn’t maintained can depreciate in value by as much as 10% compared to similar properties. Buyers are also turned off by homes that aren’t maintained since it’s an indicator that bigger problems could be right around the corner.
Extends the Lifespan of Systems and Appliances
Regular maintenance to keep systems and appliances in perfect working condition and will extend their lifespan. Each additional year that you can get out of these home components decreases the overall cost of homeownership.