How to avoid these 7 most expensive home repairs
First off, home maintenance
In a prior post on home maintenance I mentioned the importance of preventative maintenance in a checklist format, to easily digest and action. The listed items covered there, will set you onto a path of success in terms of home upkeep. There are however 7 expensive home repairs I thought would be worthy of mention in a separate post, and of course how to avoid them.
1. Fire damage
Not only is fire damage the costliest. It goes without saying that fire is potentially the most dangerous for the occupants of the property. According to the US Fire Administration There were an estimated 380,000 residential fires in the US in 2015, with damage to property estimated at $7Billion. The leading cause as seen from the chart below is cooking, followed by heating and electrical.
Many of these causes are preventable. The recommendation from the NFPA is to have smoke alarms in every bedroom and outside each separate sleeping area. Have the alarms connected if possible so that if one rings, they all ring. Test your fire alarms once a month and replace them every 10 years.
Outdated or damaged wiring is also a common problem, especially in older homes. Older homes will likely have older wiring not safely capable of the increased demands of our increasing number of electrical devices. If you’re not sure about the condition of your wiring, hire a licensed electrician to inspect your electrical systems.
2. Water damage
Plumbing supply system failures are the leading source of residential water losses as per IBHS (Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety). With 48% greater losses (in terms of total payouts) than the second leading source. The main things to watch out for are:
- High water bill – if you notice a sudden surge in your water bill, it could be a sign of an undetected water leak. An inspection of your system is best to minimize potential damage
- Noisy pipes – a creek every now and then is usually normal, but a consistent banging is something you ought to get checked out by a professional.
- Rusty water – this is a sign of a larger problem. It could be a main feed issue (local municipality should be informed). Or your piping has aged beyond useful life and will need replacement.
- Water heater – Water heaters last between 10-15 years. First thing is to check the age. Once a year have the anode rod inspected and replaced as appropriate, this device is there to reduce corrosion of the tank. Which is ultimately the mean reason water heaters fail. Also, flush the tank and get it inspected by a plumbing professional. If your water heater has reached its life expectancy. Replace it. It’s less costly than cleaning up after a burst heater and replacing that.
3. Electrical damage
Electrical damage, as see above, plays a large role in fire damage. This has also been confirmed by the ESFI (Electrical Safety Foundation International). For Electrical damage prevention, start with your outlets. Depending on the age of the property you might not have AFCI outlets installed. And these are proven to be a first line of defense in stopping arc faults – a main cause for damage and fires.
The wiring of your home also has a life expectancy and if you’ve never had it inspected, you should hire a licensed electrician to have its inspected along with you circuit boards. If there’s one thing you should not attempt to DIY, Its electrical and wiring. Always hire a pro to work on electrical components.
Incorporating latest technology into your home can help reduce the risk of fires and electrocutions. If you are considering a remodel or upgrade, always ask about the latest technology and consider whether it’s worth the investment.
4. Foundation damage
Homes built on areas where soil swells with rain and contracts with drought are more susceptible to foundation damage. The top signs to look out for are:
- Sloping floors
- Doors and windows not fitting in their frames or hard to shut/open
- Cracks around the house
- Pooling water in your basement or around the edges of the house
- Warped ceiling
As the main cause happens to be change in soil water levels. To avoid foundation damage, you’ll want to narrow the band between very wet soil and very dry soil around your home. This means ensuring that when it rains, your drainage system is clear and working as expected to avoid water pooling around the home and soaking the soil.
5. Roof replacement
A house is only as good as its roof – or so goes the saying. A good roof is expected to last 20—25 years. The main reasons a roof would fail earlier than that is due to:
- Blisters – This is caused by gas, such as water vapor, becomes trapped in the roofing system. Caused by the sun to expand and then contract. Cracking the roof. This is really something that can only be avoided during installation. Always work with a quality roofer to avoid poor workmanship.
- Punctures – From anyone (or anything) walking on the roof or a puncture caused by debris. Avoid this by ensuring limited access and correct equipment is used when accessing the roof. And if debris cause a puncture, get the puncture repaired as soon as possible by a quality roofer. This will avoid weather penetration to your roof and further damage.
- Neglect – Whether it’s a newly installed roof or a 20-year-old roof. If you want to get the maximum lifetime out of your roof. Have a seasonal inspection regime and removes any debris. As well as inspecting the roof exterior, its good practice to inspect the attic or interior of the roof.
6. Asbestos removal
Asbestos is a hazardous material that causes cancer and other serious lung diseases as communicated by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). It was widely used in various components for its heat, fire and electrical insulation capabilities, from the 1930’s until its complete ban in 1989 by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).
Depending on where the Asbestos is installed in your property. Complete removal is quite expensive and complete removal might not always have to be the case. In some instances, it is better to seal the Asbestos in its place rather than disturb it. Either way, this is to be done by an Asbestos specialist. But you know that you have options when it comes to Asbestos. And if your home was built prior to 1989, look out or consider if Asbestos could have potentially been installed before beginning a renovation project. Not disrupting Asbestos is much safer and cheaper than removing it.
7. HVAC damage
Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning – the system that’s keeping your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Air conditioners cost the US homeowners more than $29Billion each year. And the best way to mitigate an expensive repair to this system is proper maintenance. This includes seasonal change of air filters which you can do yourself. And an annual inspection by a professional HVAC technician.
It’s really all about preventative maintenance
Preventative maintenance and upkeep is always your first line of defense against issues in the house. Home insurance is a must have and as mentioned in the post (10 things a new homeowner must know), make sure it has adequate coverage – always read the fine print.
If you need help around the home whether its plumbing, electrical, handyman services or other. You can always procure these services directly from our site at a time that suits your schedule, at a price that’s competitive and from professionals who are the very best at what they do.
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