Determining Future Costs: Maintenance and Upkeep

Right At Home Daily: Finding It: Deciding What You Want
by Barbara B. Buchholz for Right At Home Daily

Houses are akin to living, breathing objects that need to be regularly maintained. Everything from typical wear-and-tear to weather to natural disasters can cause roofs to leak, basements to flood, and dollars to drain from your bank account.

Even if you're handy or have a relative who is a contractor, house maintenance and upkeep can be costly. How costly depends on whether you maintain your home along the way or wait until a small problem becomes a big problem.

You should know your home inside and out. Start by learning the major systems. Set up a maintenance schedule based on warranties and the life of the systems or appliances. For example, a toilet mechanism lasts about 5 to 10 years, a refrigerator 10 to 18 years, a central air condenser 10 to 15 years.

Maintenance entails regular effort, but it will prove easier than having to deal with emergencies. Plus, knowing what to do and what it entails will help you plan a more accurate budget. Here are a half a dozen things to do regularly to keep your home in tip-top shape:

  • Change your air filters at the beginning of every season.
  • Clean your furnace at the end of the season or during the summer.
  • Clean your gutters after the last leaves have fallen. If you have tall trees on your property, consider cleaning gutters again in the spring, if these trees flower. Leaves and debris can pile up, clog the drainpipe, and cause leaks.
  • Ovens should be cleaned very regularly for maximum efficiency and to prevent a grease fire.
  • Cracks or stains on the ceiling may indicate a leak.
  • Droppings near the refrigerator or in the basement could indicate mice or rats.

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jennye's picture

Just wondering. Does anyone else NOT have gutters on their house? I never thought about it before until after DH and I bought our first house (doublewide trailer) and after the first rain, we have no gutters. After that, I noticed that very few houses in this part of the world have gutters. Just a regional thing? Curious to know.

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